Bone Thugs N Harmony: Live in Vancouver [Interview]
Vancouver, B.C. – In hip-hop’s dichotomy of struggle and growth, Bone Thugs N Harmony have maintained a loyal fanbase by reflecting both the fears and the hopes of their audience. Brought into the game by Eazy E – who passed shortly after they started to gain momentum – Bone Thugs have spent many years finding their own balance collectively and individually, a road which has been paved with heartache and triumph alike. HipHopCanada had the chance to speak with Krayzie Bone and Wish Bone when they came through Vancity, catching a rare glimpse into both the past and the future of these legendary artists.
“We give people struggle music…that’s why we’ve been here so long, cause they can come back to Bone to get the real.”
HipHopCanada: Great to have you guys in Canada, have you been having fun?
Wish: The tour’s been going great so far. All the shows have been really great, real big turnouts, been really good, we have no complaints.
Krayzie: Everything has been running smooth, the hospitality we’ve received over here is tremendous, they showed us a lot of love, as everywhere we go. We didn’t really know the following we had here, we had to come represent for our fans here, so that’s why we back.
HipHopCanada: Any differences you guys notice North of the border?
Wish: The money. You guys are pretty much the same; the same cars, drive on the same side of the road, stop lights- pretty much the same. Just feels like the West Coast.
Krayzie: This is about as at home as I feel in any country – cause even though we in another country I’m used to everything here.
HipHopCanada: So you two are touring as Bone Thugs n Harmony, what’s the relationship with the other members of the group?
Krayzie: We all still down. Me and Wish, we have a record label together, The Life Entertainment. We’ve been concentrating on developing the artists we have cause we’re looking to launch a global label. We have artists from all over the world so that’s something we’re really concentrating on. But at the same time we’re doing songs together as Bone Thugs n Harmony, to give the fans what they want. The other members are getting together and doing the same thing.
HipHopCanada: Who are some of your artists we should be looking out for?
Wish: We got Natasha, we’re really excited about her all the way from Australia. She’s only 16 years old, really talented. She writes, plays, all her own music. That’s the one that we’re really looking forward to right now.
Krayzie: Very fast up and coming, she’s incredible. We had a talent search in Australia and she actually won the talent search. Plays the piano, guitar, writes music – she’s really an old soul in a young kid’s body.
HipHopCanada: You guys got some solo projects going on too?
Wish: For all the years I’ve been saying I’m gonna do a solo record, it’s been so hectic and busy keeping the Bone thing alive. So once me and Krayzie got our label off the ground that’s what I’m gonna start concentrating on. Gonna try and get it done by next summer, getting it kind of pasted together right now. I’ve got a few ideas but I’m gonna keep that in the bag till we get a little more closer to the end. It’s gonna be gangsta.
Krayzie: Right now I’m working on a mixtape coming out November 22 called The Fixtape Volume 4, Under the Influence. And a Cleveland compilation coming out for all the talent in Ohio. I’m also working on a solo album called Chasing the Devil, and The whole album’s gonna be like a movie: dramatic title – so many people in this world don’t realize that everything they chase, like all this material stuff – at the end of this line is the devil. They just do crazy things for money. It’s real deep.
HipHopCanada: What are some positive alternatives that you would suggest to chasing money, especially if the devil’s the only thing at the end of that line?
Krayzie: There’s a lot of positive things. People need to realize that money doesn’t always make you happy. I can confidently say that the majority of celebrities got way more problems than they had when they was broke; money doesn’t necessarily make you happy. You gotta chase the things that really matter in life, like love and family and you gotta make sure that’s all in tact. Money comes and goes but family is always there. My family life is really tight. My kids are very smart kids. My parents raised me very strict, I’m not mad at how they raised me. I turned out to be a very strong mind and independent person. I think family is what kept me grounded through this whole ride.
HipHopCanada: Has there been any defining moments that changed who you were and how you saw the world?
Wish: Definitely. For me it had to be the death of Eazy E that signed us. Right when we got in the game and got a little popularity, he died. It was a really scary moment for us cause we had to learn to figure out a lot of things at that point. His wife took over the company and all that, but it was still a different relationship that we had to get used to. At that point I thought it was over, I thought it was back to the block.
Krayzie: It’s been a lot of different things that changed me. Being robbed in the music business, being taken advantage of as an artist, family issues like losing loved ones – just surviving those things have made me who I am today, made me a better person. Like they say, experience is the best teacher, made me a strong person.
HipHopCanada: A lot of the contemporaries that you guys came up with are no longer around – who is your musical community now?
Krayzie: We pretty much always been the dudes that create our own lane and surroundings. We can fall in place anywhere. And mainly because our style and what we brought to the game is so much relevant because everybody is using it, it keeps it alive. Every time you hear somebody rapping fast, they sound like Bone. These artists today are keeping us alive and we’re still here doing our thing – it’s a wonderful thing to have this kind of longevity in the game cause not that many artists that were around when we was doing it are around today.
Wish: Wu-Tang, Snoop, Ice Cube are still around and doing their thing.
HipHopCanada: Are you guys on the social networking sites? Does that kind of communication appeal to you?
Krayzie: We on twitter – @IamKrayzieBone.
Wish: He’s been with it a long time, I’m getting into it more now. Real recently. I like to give a good message or joke to keep it refreshing.
HipHopCanada: “Tha Crossroads” is your most iconic song, what were you feeling at the time when you recorded it?
Wish: When we first did the song we didn’t set out for it to be as big as it was. We actually did the song because we lost a lot of members of our family. When we went in the studio we did that song from the heart, we had no idea it would chart like it did.
Krayzie: it’s definitely a deep song. It came at a point of time in our lives when there were so many things going on – good and bad things. First of all we make it, which was unbelievable. Then the person who put us on automatically dies. We come home, people in our families are getting killed randomly back to back. His uncle gets murdered, Layzie loses one of his unborn kids, my cousin gets murdered, kids we grew up with, my brother in law was murdered. It was a lot of emotions so when we went into the studio we needed to make something for everybody that we lost. It seemed like death was getting closer and closer to us and we went to the studio and that’s what came out.
HipHopCanada: It almost sounds like there was so much building up, the song kind of forced its way out of you…
Wish: I think it had a lot to do with loving music, and finding a way to deal with it, and showing people that we loved at home, that were feeling the same way we were, that we cared. That we didn’t forget about where we were from and our loved ones. It was a great way to express our feelings and let the world feel it.
HipHopCanada: When you look back today, does the same ring true?
Wish: Nowadays it’s the same – it’s a blessing cause we’ll always have death, we’re human. And it’s a song that touched a lot of people and still does to this day. You still get that little tingle and you think about it.
Krayzie: That’s something we all have to face, so every time you hear that song, especially the part where you hear Wish say “I don’t wanna die” – everybody feels that. Don’t nobody really wanna die. People still feel that strongly today.
HipHopCanada: What is your greatest accomplishment, other than the music?
Wish: Our children.
Krayzie: That and saving peoples’ lives through our music. Winning awards is cool but when you can get fans to come to you and tell you that they were on the verge of killing themselves or going on the wrong path and they listened to our music and we saved them from putting a gun to their head or taking those pills or slitting their wrists, that’s the ultimate feeling right there.
HipHopCanada: Do you consider yourselves healers in that way?
Krayzie: Exactly. That’s why we say we make struggle music, music to heal the soul. It’s cool to make party music cause everybody like to party, we all need to go out sometimes and release stress, but when you’re dealing with those day to day struggles you need something else to get you through that too – and that’s what we give people, struggle music. And that’s why we’ve been here so long cause they can come back to Bone to get the real.
Don’t forget to check out http://thelifeentertainment.com/
Interview conducted by Amalia Judith for HipHopCanada
Photography by Ryan West for HipHopCanada