The Harmony of Bone Thugs [Interview]
Calgary, AB – Spending the last two decades in the hip-hop game, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony have earned every bit of their legendary status. But don’t expect that to keep them from staying hungry. The group still tours the world year round and are working on new projects – from new albums and mixtapes to a record label and a clothing line. That didn’t stop both Krayzie Bone and Wish Bone from sitting down with HipHopCanada and follow up to a conversation we started with them just a few months back. Check their thoughts as we catch up with all their projects and their thoughts on the scene that’s building in Canada, and their own legacy.
“If I was to die tomorrow, I would be satisfied. You gotta be blessed and take what you get.”
HipHopCanada: The last time we caught up with you guys was in Vancouver in November, and now you’re back in Canada for a couple of more dates a few months later. When you visit the same place for shows within a short period, how do you keep your shows exciting for your fans?
Krayzie: We just go out and give it the same or even more energy. Sometime we might switch up the stage set and maybe throw in a couple more songs that we didn’t do the last time – just add a little bit more flavor to it. Most of our fans they just lov45e hearing our music: no matter how many times we go back we can do the same songs and they’ll be just a hype as the first time that we came.
HipHopCanada: What do you guys love about performing or touring in Canada?
Wish: The scenery is off the hook for one – it’s beautiful up here! We love the love we get over here.
Krayzie: We love it. As long as we keep getting that love, we’ll always come back.
HipHopCanada: You guys tour quite a bit and get all over the place. Do you have a favorite place to perform?
Wish: That’s hard to say.
Krayzie: Australia is definitely one of them. Man, like you said, we’ve been to so many places and have gotten so much love, it’s hard to say.
HipHopCanada: Last time we caught up Krayzie you were just about to drop your mixtape The Fixtape Vol. 4 – Under the Influence. There’s been so many dope mixtapes that have dropped in the last year. Krayzie, we saw you tweet about that Rick Ross mixtape a few weeks back.
Krayzie: Yeah, I love that one.
HipHopCanada: What do you like about a mixtape format versus a full studio album?
Krayzie: A mixtape you can go in and keep it raw, say what you feel. You ain’t got to worry about publishing and getting music cleared and all that stuff. It’s just straight underground – basically where hip-hop started. Underground still has a very, very big market so we are trying to touch that AND be on top of the mainstream.
HipHopCanada: Krayzie last time you told us about your album Chasing the Devil that you were working on.
Krayzie: Yeah, working on a release for that at the end of this year.
HipHopCanada: And Wish you said you’d like to get working on a solo album once you got your label off the ground.
Wish: Yeah, yeah definitely.
HipHopCanada: Where do you guys stand on those projects? Are there any new developments you can share with us?
Wish: We are always working so everything’s in the works. It’s coming soon.
Krayzie: Yeah like he said, we are always working. He’s doing his projects, we’re working on our label and we have a lot of people we are working with. We’re always in the studio and always on the move. For us, it’s always about the music.
HipHopCanada: One of your artists, Natasha, was discovered in a talent search, which is kind of an unconventional way of being discovered. There are also a lot of artists who are using social networking like YouTube, Twitter, and what not to blow up. How do you feel about these new ways of being discovered as opposed to how it was when you were first getting started? Do you think artists nowadays have it easier or is it the same grind?
Krayzie: I think it’s a little easier.
Wish: Me too. It’s a lot easier.
Krayzie: Yeah, it’s a lot easier actually. Not to take anything from anybody, but when you do it like we did it, and so many other artists did it, and you put your blood swear and tears into it and you have to physically work hard to get it, you have a totally different respect for it. You can tell by some of the music that comes out – some of these people sound like they just started rapping yesterday. You can tell the people who really have a love for it from those who are doing it just to get a little fame.
HipHopCanada: For all the up and coming Canadian artists out there, what advice do you have for them from a record label perspective? What do you really look for when you want to sign a new artist?
Wish: Real music that’s really from the heart. No carbon copies. Originality.
Krayzie: Originality is the first thing. You gotta be seasoned, be an original, have delivery and have presence.
HipHopCanada: So the record label, The Life Entertainment – that used to be called ThugLine. Can you explain for us a bit the significance of those names, and why the change there?
Krayzie: When it was ThugLine, that was in our earlier days when we started it; we were young and we were still thriving off a thug image. The reason we decided to change it was we wanted to go on a global scale. We didn’t want to put ourselves in a box, or our artists. We wanted everything to be a household name so parents wouldn’t be scared to let it in their houses. We have younger artists and we don’t want their parents to be thinking that this is a gang-affiliated label and their child is going to be in danger. It’s all about music over here. Music, money and just the love of it.
HipHopCanada: And what more can you tell us about your clothing line – The Life Apparel?
Krayzie: We are slowly growing it and we have a lot of people that are supporting it. Australia is our strongest market for this right now. We are trying to build it up to become something real big in the future. Hopefully we can make it happen.
HipHopCanada: How are you enjoying that new outlet, is it different?
Krayzie: Yeah man, it’s very different. There’s so many ways in this business to connect with people besides music. We like searching those other avenues and figuring out how we can work with them and make it work for us.
HipHopCanada: You guys had the opportunity to work with some of the all time greats who are no longer with us – 2Pac, Biggie and of course, Eazy E. Have those experiences stayed with you as you continue in your careers?
Wish: Oh yeah, that’s going to be forever. They made in a mark in music period, and definitely in our lives. They did something that will never be done again. They were real people who made it and made a real big mark in the game. We shared the same love for all this.
HipHopCanada: There’s a t-shirt from your line that has some of their images on it. As more time passes, is it important for you to keep their memory alive?
Krayzie: Oh yeah it’s definitely important. There are a lot of artists coming into the game that haven’t even heard of these artists. I saw someone on Twitter talking about “Who is BIG?” and I’m just like “What?!” So yeah, it’s really important. Just like how it was for us to have the knowledge of who came before us, and what they did. I’m very knowledgeable about who paved the way for us. It’s important to keep that history – just like any other genre of music – you gotta keep it alive and let everyone know that they reason you’re doing this is because other people paved the way for you.
HipHopCanada: You have to know where you’re coming from to know where you’re going right?
HipHopCanada: Who are some current artists that inspire you guys and is there anyone out there that you’d love to work with?
Wish: There’s a lot!
Krayzie: Really, we’re willing to work with anyone who has talent and who is doing real music. We’re with that. We aren’t dudes that jump on anything or just try to fit in because something is hot. We choose carefully who we rock with.
HipHopCanada: The scene is Canada is still pretty young. How do you guys feel about the scene up here from what you’ve experienced?
Krayzie: I feel the scene could blow at any minute. The best time is when it’s young.
Wish: Yeah, cause that’s when people are learning and finding their way.
HipHopCanada: Lastly, you guys have been in the game for 20 years now and you’ve accomplished so much. Is there anything else that you’d like to do?
Wish: I’d like to work more on movies.
Krayzie: I’m cool. If I was to die tomorrow, you know, I would be satisfied. I may have not done everything I wanted to do, but I would still be satisfied because a lot of people don’t even get to where we are. So you gotta be blessed and take what you get.
To check with the last time we met up with Krayzie and Wish, check http://www.hiphopcanada.com/2011/11/bone-thugs-n-harmony-interview/
Interview conducted by Josephine Cruz for HipHopCanada
Photography by Sarosh Rizvi for HipHopCanada
Special thanks to @DubSacINC for helping out the HHC team.