SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET
::::: VIBE MAGAZINE :::: INTERVIEW ::::::
The Grim Reaper could stand a bit of home training. Instead of knocking on
the door like any respectable person, he commits yet another one of his crude
acts by barging into an upscale suite in New York's infamous Parker Meridian
hotel. It is here that he intrudes upon Layzie Bone - one-fifth of the mammoth
hip hop group Bone thugs-n-harmony - and one of his homeboys playing Sega
Dreamcast. Moments later, Krayzie Bone enters the room, greets everyone -
including the group of visiting journalists who have since entered the room -
and sits on the couch in the living area of the suite.
But as Krayzie and Layzie carry on as usual, one thing is as certain as the weed-scented aroma hanging over the room from an earlier smokeout session: death is in the air today as they deal with the passing of their friend, Big Punisher (who died yesterday), in their own way. Ironically enough, death seems to have a connection with both Bone and the Parker Meridian - being that it is the same hotel the late Notorious B.I.G. (who Bone Thugs worked with on "Notorious Thugs") referred to on his hit, "I'm Fuckin' You Tonight." Even more ironic is that Bone has a history of working with some of the greatest hip hop artists of our time who have since died (Eazy E and Tupac).
However, their forthcoming, highly anticipated new album, BNTH Resurrection, seems to keep them motivated. Nonetheless, a lot has been going on between the making of the new album and their last thug opus, The Art of War. Although several members of Bone have released highly successful solo projects and become CEOs of their own labels, they are still having to deal with Flesh serving time in jail and the red tape of Ruthless Records. Even more pressing are rumors that the group has broken up. While what seems like a cloud of impending doom hangs over the room like black draperies, Krayzie and Layzie address all the rumors and talk about Bone's future as the Grim Reaper sits quietly in the background.
Let's talk about the new album.
KRAYZIE BONE: The album is called Resurrection. The whole theme of the album is Bone Thugs is back. We've been gone for a while. A lot of stories and rumors done accumulated over the time we been gone and we're just here to set them straight... Bone Thugs style.
And a lot of people have been spreading rumors that Bone is breaking up. Do ya'll want to take this opportunity to straighten out the rumors? What's the deal?
KRAYZIE BONE: Bone got... Bone got... we just like any other group struggling in the game. We got problems. Ya know what I'm sayin'? We go through our problems and we get 'em together. It takes some problems more to get over, but that don't never stop nothin' that we doing. Bone [is] constantly rollin'. Ya know what I'm sayin'? Constantly rollin'. So Bone ain't never broke up... cause we constantly rollin'. Nothin' stopped.
So y'all have come a long way since the legendary story began circulating of how ya'll met Eazy and rode the bus to LA to get a record deal. How have things changed since then?
LAYZIE BONE: Everything basically changed just because we ain't just artists no more. We more than artists; we CEOs owning businesses and companies and shit. That's the only thing that really done changed about the game.
One of the songs I heard from the album is "Ecstasy"? What inspired y'all to write that?
KRAYZIE BONE: Shit, experiencin' it! Ya know what I'm sayin'?
So when did y'all first experiment with it? What happened the first time you decided to try it?
KRAYZIE BONE: Man, shit had me like... shit had me trippin'. He and Layzie chuckle. Ya know what I'm sayin'? Cause it's like some new shit. It was like some new shit... like some shit that I ain't never tried before. It was like a feeling; some shit that was different. Shit [is] off the hook!
It seems like y'all have worked with a lot of the classic hip hop artists who have passed away, Biggie, Pac, Pun and of course, Eazy E. Y'all have seen death first hand. What is that like?
LAYZIE BONE: I mean, yeah, like we have worked with big icons in the game that done perished, but it's just like a blessing. We got to make some music with them before they passed. It's a terrible thing that they had to go because it seems like every last one of them died before they time. So that's a helluva level right there.
Y'all had crazy success with your solo projects. Thug Mentality went platinum; the Mo Thugs albums went platinum and Bizzy went gold. What was it like working on those projects and what did you want people to get out of them?
KRAYZIE BONE: Man, basically it was just like, the whole album was about me, my mentality, what I think, how I view everything. That's what it was about, Krayzie Bone, basically.
LAYZIE BONE: And to let muthafuckas know all of us can individually step out there like that. Ya know what I'm sayin'? Bone is a muthafuckin' dream team! Ya know I mean? The muthafuckin' Bulls!
Back in the day, y'all had a rivalry with Three Six Mafia, which has been squashed. How did that get squashed?
KRAYZIE BONE: I mean, like, we weren't really on no beef with them really anyway, so there was really nothing to squash. Ya know what I'm saying? It was like a phone call we got sayin' that it wasn't like that, so we was like "aiight... cool."
What started the rivalry?
KRAYZIE BONE: Man I don't know. I couldn't tell you.
LAYZIE BONE: Man, bottom line, we don't know why niggas came at us sideways cause we didn't know nobody; we didn't say nothin' to nobody. But since it's all about money, when they came to Bone they was like it wasn't like how they said it was. It was like cool again cause a nigga ain't on that shit. It's all about money.
KRAYZIE BONE: Bottom line...
Y'all worked with Pac. I know you were supposed to be on the One Nation project that never got released. What happened with that?
LAYZIE BONE: Basically that was Pac talkin' about some shit he really wanted to start. The organization wasn't all the way formed though. He was just starting to form that organization. So we ain't really get to work on that shit.
As far as the Terror Squad is concerned, y'all have been down with them since your first album. That was like the time before everyone had gone through this East/West beef. How did y'all first meet?
LAYZIE BONE: We hooked up with them cause we was out here working one time and we wasn't never on that East Coast/West Coast shit anyway cause we ain't from neither one of them coasts. So we just hooked up with them, kicked it with them, conversations start happening and we just clicked up like that. And every time we came to New York that was who we dealt with. And that's who we deal with.
How are ya'll dealing with the passing of Big Pun since y'all knew him better than a lot of other people in the rap game?
LAYZIE BONE: Man, it's just like... the shit is just shocking for it to happen, but it's like we been seeing so many deaths in the last... what... five, six, seven years. We done lost so many of our homeboys, you can't do nothin' but feel sorrow and be shocked. Ain't no other way to describe that feeling.
So what do you think people should take away from this album?
LAYZIE BONE: The bottom line is that, shit... we some raw ass muthafuckin' rappers! That's what the fuck they need to get!
KRAYZIE BONE: We can't be fucked with!
LAYZIE BONE: We the rawest team of niggas out here... that's what they need to know! Lyric wise, as far as delivery, we just spittin' some shit that makes sense in the crack of your dome... not talkin' no dumb shit. Real life reality shit.
KRAYZIE BONE: For real...
People will want to know why Bizzy Bone is not here (Flesh is serving time in jail.). Y'all wanna speak on that?
LAYZIE BONE: Yeah. Well basically my niggas couldn't be here right now. Ya know what I'm sayin'? Thug love and everybody know it's still Krayzie, Layzie, Bizzy, Wish and Flesh and we doing this shit, bottom line.
A lot of people may wonder why they don't always see Flesh with the group. Sometimes they will see four members in Bone and sometimes they'll see five members. Why is that?
LAYZIE BONE: I mean basically that all came from the beginning when we signed our first contract. Flesh was locked up. So that's where people thought he wasn't in the group and all that because our record company wouldn't... just because he wasn't signed they really wouldn't promote it like we wanted them to. So that's where the misconception came from, but he always been a full-fledged member of Bone.
What about your turbulent relationship with Ruthless
LAYZIE BONE: I mean, man, we go through our thang and shit but that ain't something a nigga like me dwells on. But yeah, we had problems with them; we still have problems with them. But that's just like any relationship in the world - you ain't never gonna be cool the whole time.
Did y'all notice a big change when Eazy passed and his wife, Tomika Wright, took over Ruthless Records?
LAYZIE BONE: Oh, most definitely. Eazy was dead. Ain't nobody ever run Ruthless like Eazy E.
What do you think some of the differences are between the way Ruthless Records is being run now and the way he was running it?
LAYZIE BONE: I mean ... shit... just the whole difference man. It was Eazy E there. Ya know what I'm sayin'? We was kickin' it with him; nobody can fill that nigga's shit. We was kickin' it with Eazy, makin' music with Eazy. Ya know what I'm sayin'? So the difference was that it wasn't him. It could have been anybody in the world besides him and that would have still been the difference. It ain't Eazy, if you feel me... cause I ain't going there!
While Krayzie and Layzie converse with each other and the visiting journalists, Wish Bone walks in the room approximately 30 minutes later. He has returned from shopping for a new coat. But as he sits down, it doesn't take long before he makes it known that there has been more going on within the group than Krayzie and Layzie have suggested.
Talk about what the group was trying to do with the album.
WISH BONE: You get out of it what we're putting into it. Ya know? The truth, the realism... We're supposed to be together on it. Really, you get from it what you take from it - that person, that situation, what they life going through right now. But it's somethin' on there for everybody.
There have been a lot of people spreadin' rumors that Bone Thugs are breaking up. Can you address that?
WISH BONE: It ain't even like that. It's just that certain shit don't go the way it's supposed to. Like we all right here doing this shit here and Bizzy supposed to have his ass here too and he ain't here. So it's like the same bullshit over and over again. So it ain't us, it's just one asshole that's it. But you know though, we got a lot of other shit going on, too. Me and Krayzie got Thug Line Records and my solo release is on Thug Line Records. And we got some hot artists on that muthafucka. There's a lot of shit going on, too.
So is everyone still cool with Bizzy?
WISH BONE: Yeah we cool, he's just an asshole! We always gonna be cool; we originated this shit. We've grown up a lot. It's not for fun no more; it's a business! We gotta get something out of it. Ya know what I'm sayin? It ain't about flossin'. We gotta build futures for our kids and families and shit. And he's an asshole, so I guess he's gonna do his thing.
His solo record seemed to be moving in a different direction than the Bone albums.
WISH BONE: Right... still showing love... like some dumb asses. But not no mo'! Cause if it's fuck you nigga... if it's fuck me nigga... then you know it's fuck you!
What do you think is responsible for all this tension?
WISH BONE: It ain't no blame cause everyone know what the fuck they gotta do. Everybody has a role to play in every situation and the muthafucka ain't been fillin' up to his obligations... so fuck him!
How long has it been like this?
WISH BONE: I mean, we've been holding it down for a long time without letting muthafuckas really know the real, but uh, that shit's been going on like that for a long time... for real...some ho shit!
So what do you think everything would be like if ya'll didn't have the success and were still chillin' in Cleveland?
WISH BONE: I don't know man... that's like reversing time and predicting the future. I don't think I could do that.
So what do you want to say to everybody about the album?
WISH BONE: It's just us. We ain't got no featured artists on it; we wanted us to be heard. We wanted us to shine.
What about the song, "Ecstasy"? It's gonna blow a lot of people out of the water with y'all talkin' about doing X. Can you speak on that?
WISH BONE: It's like a part of real life. It's a new drug but, shit... heck cocaine and heroin was new at one point in time, too. It's real life. It's an experience we went through, that's why we talk about it. We don't hide shit, camouflage shit, sugar coat it! We gonna give it to you raw and real every time. And that's some real shit out here and muthafuckas need to know about it.