FLESH-N-BONE: 5TH DOG LOCKED DOWN - THE SOURCE

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"I understand that the nature of these crimes makes me appear to be a violent person but I am not a violent person.I have never hurt anyone.
The only person I have harmed is myself. I am very sorry for my wrongdoings and accept responsibility for these crimes."
--Stanley Howse
(to his sentencing judge)
September 22, 2000

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Stanley Howse, better known as Flesh-N-Bone, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on September 22, 2000, on charges that included assault with a deadly weapon and a probation violation. 

The original case stems from an incident in January, in which officers from the LAPD responded to a disturbance call at the home of one of Flesh's relatives. On arriving at the scene, police said they came across Howse, a convicted felon, brandishing a loaded, sawed-off shotgun and initially refusing officers' orders to leave the scene. He would eventually plead guilty in Los Angeles Superior Court as part of a plea bargain. 

The 10-year sentence comes just prior to the release of Flesh's second solo LP, 5th Dog Let Loose, which is scheduled for an October 10 street date. The Bone Thugs rapper completed tracks for the project before he was incarcerated earlier this year, and relied on his brother, Layzie Bone, and producer Damon Elliott to wrap the album up for him while he was locked down. 

The first single from 5th Dog Let Loose, entitled "Way Back," is a tribute to four of hip-hop's fallen soldiers, Eazy-E, Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G., and the
recently departed Big Pun of the Terror Squad. On the song, Flesh also takes the opportunity to thank the man who gave Bone Thugs-N-Harmony their first
big break, Eazy E. 

5th Dog Let Loose features guest appearances from fellow Bone Thugs member, Wish Bone, Kurupt, Montell Jordan, and Flesh's real life brother and Bone Thugs
member, Layzie Bone. 

Flesh-N-Bone is a founding member of Grammy Award-winning rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. The Cleveland-based MC released his first solo LP,
T.H.U.G.S. (Trues Humbly United Gathering Souls) in 1996. 

Thesource.com spoke to Flesh, via phone, just days after his sentence came down, as he was waiting to be transferred from a county jail to the California prison that would hold him for the next several years. Flesh spoke frankly about his 10-year sentence (which he considers lenient), what he has learned from this experience, and how he plans to approach his life from now on.

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THE INTERVIEW

TheSource.com: So how are you feeling now that you know what the future holds?

Flesh-N-Bone: Man Iím doin' real good, man, being that the situation could have been a lot worse, so, you know, Iím feelin mighty blessed right now.

TheSource.com: Are you happy with the outcome of your prison sentence?

Flesh-N-Bone: Yeah, yeah, Iím real happy with that, you know what Iím sayin. The judge blessed me. I only have to do half-time of the time that she gave me. So Iíll be out of here in about, you know, less than a.. forty some months.

TheSource.com: How many years were you sentenced to, exactly? ten?

Flesh-N-Bone: Yeah, ten years, exactly. But ten years with like 13 months credit. And all I gotta do is serve mid-term of that, half-time of that. So thatís like 4 years. You know, when I was facing somethin' like 19 [years], you know what Iím sayin, [10 years] is considered a miraculous blessing in my eyes, you know.

TheSource.com: What was going through your mind when the jury first found you guilty?

Flesh-N-Bone: I mean, it was shocking, you know what Iím sayin. It was a hard position to be in at the time. And it was like, my whole time, I just stayed humble and kept my faith and prayers up to the Lord and I stayed faithful through the whole situation. But when they delievered that guilty verdict, you know, my heart dropped and I was just like, 'I just got to face what I got to face,' you know. It ainít no way out of this one. It was a hard predicament for me to go through but the Lord was with me through the whole time. I knew I was going to get punished, but you know, the judge was real lenient on me. I really thank the judge for giving me a.

TheSource.com: What were the exact charges?

Flesh-N-Bone: Assualt, violation of probation and assualt with a semi-automatic weapon.

TheSource.com: How do you see this experience affecting the way you approach your life from here on out?

Flesh-N-Bone: I look at life now as, all the fun time is over with. Itís all strictly work and all bullshit aside. No clowning around. Iím a artist and I got to focus on doing what I do best and that's writing music, writing rymes, and putting records out. No more hanging out for Flesh-N-Bone. No more kickin' it. Itís 'hi' and 'bye,' 'see you later,' 'How you doing'? Other than that Iím through with it. Iím through with all the homeboys. I ainít got no home boys no more. All I got is wife, kids, family, a mother, my father and this rap industry that I got to deal with. You know, and put out these songs that Iíma be droppin' when I get out of here in a couple of years. Some people never learn. I've learned my lesson.

TheSource.com: It's kind of ironic that you have an album coming out right now called The 5th Dog Let Loose, and youíve just been sentenced to several years in prison.

Flesh-N-Bone: The album title is kind of ironic but you can say 5th Dog Let Loose is basically, on this album, Iím just getting loose, Iím just getting raw. Straight uncut. With the material that I am presenting on this album. It can go both ways. The 5th dog lettin' it loose, the way I do, as wicked as Iím coming on this record. Or it can stand for them, the system, cuttin' me loose, bottom line. You know, I put my heart and my soul into that album. And I expect, and Iíve been praying for, the Lord to put his hands on it, bless that. Which I feel he is going to do. I want everybody to feel me on that album and then go pick it up and tell me what you think. Because Iím coming ill with it, you know.

TheSource.com: Have you already started writing for the next album?

Flesh-N-Bone: Yeah, yeah, Iíve been puttin down some new material since Iíve been in here [awaiting trial]. Iíve been using this incarceration time, my solitary mind, Iíve been taking advantage of it. 'Cause the ideas, they come, they come at the drop of a dime. And Iím on top of it. I sit down, even though itís hard to concentrate. Especially since Iím still in the county [jail]. They havenít shipped me to the prison yet. So this county is a bunch of drama anyway. So all this drama thatís going on around me, the time that I do get to concentrate, Iím focusing on new lyrics, new ideas, and new songs. Iím doing another Tupac; stack up about a 1000 songs while Iím down here doing this [time].

TheSource.com: Will there be any videos made for any of the songs on the album, since you are not available to do that?

Flesh-N-Bone: I think that we might be doing something for [the first single], "Way Back." Right now, since Iím not available, weíve gotta use video clips from other videos and portraits and stuff like that, you know what Iím sayin. Itís ways to get around it for artists thatís not available to shoot a video. Thereís a lot of new technology, thatís out there thatís able to make it work. Like Tupac, like Biggie Smalls, and Ol' Dirty Bastard when he was incarcerated [during], "Got Your Money." Itís ways to get around, you know.

TheSource.com: Do you think you will continue to write throughout the next couple of years while your locked up?

Flesh-N-Bone: Oh yeah, definitely. Iím always put my rap hand down, I ain't going never fall short of writing my material. Thatís going to be something that I always do. These next couple of years, Iíma utilize it to the best of my ability and take advantage of it to the most extent. They just gotta get ready for me when I get out, 'cause Iíma be smashin' in the studio.

TheSource.com: Do you find writing to be therapeutic?

Flesh-N-Bone: I find it very therapeutic. For me anyway, itís something for me to ge over on the time. Itís helping me.

TheSource.com: Will [producer] Damon Elliot be able to send you beat tapes so you can write to them?

Flesh-N-Bone: I will be able to get cdís and tapes with like beats on it. Thereís going to be tracks that I can already have ready. Thatís definitely going down. Damon, my producer, is definitely going to be up on sending me material so I can knock out songs while Iím here.

TheSource.com: Can we expect about 3 Flesh-N-Bone albums when you get out?

Flesh-N-Bone: Yeah, yeah... back to back. Iím just gone be dropping them down. Thatís what Iím looking forward to. So once I get to the [prison], Iíll have more of my freedom to be able to get those shipments with the CDs and tapes and everything and definitely be keeping updated on whatís going on out there in the hip-hop world. Also stacking my material up at the same time. This ain't nothing but making me a stronger person, better artist, and a better husband and father and all that. Iím not perfect, but Iím working on it.

TheSource.com: Is there any thing you want to say to your fans. They wonít be able to see you on tour for the album. Theyíll be able to pick up the album, but they wonít be able to actually see you. Any thing you want to say to them?

Flesh-N-Bone: I definitely want to let my fans know that I love every last one of them.

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