Thug On Da Line: Krazyie Bone talks new album, Eazy-E & more
Right as I stepped up to get a little grub for the wait the phone started ringing. I was looking for anything to calm my nerves as I wasn’t expecting the last minute opportunity to come around.
As a member of the rap group largely responsible for my early love for hip-hop, I was beyond stoked for the opportunity to speak with Krayzie Bone of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
Born Anthony Henderson, the 6 Foot tall Gemini, Krayzie Bone is most well known for being a member of the Cleveland based rap which won a Grammy in 1997 for their Eazy-E tribute, “Tha Crossroads.”
He got into hip-hop early; staring in sixth grade by spitting rhymes back and forth with his friends at school. He described his block as a rough neighbourhood with countless struggles.
“The only thing that’s changed from now since I was young is the faces,” stated Mr. Leatherface (one of Krayzie’s many aliases). “The young kids grew up and took over the streets. I look out for the kids as much as possible.”
Each member of Bone grew up with a struggle of their own. They grew up poor, some homeless and surrounded by the violence which flooded the streets. Musical success was the goal at hand.
In the early 90s, Krayzie stepped up and purchased a one way ticket to Los Angeles for each member of the group. Their objective was to locate gangsta rap pioneer Eazy-E and to finally get the record deal they felt they deserved.
Eric “Eazy-E” Wright liked what he heard and signed the group to his own label, Ruthless Records, shortly thereafter. A standard was set for them to follow in which it was imperative for each emcee to insure the security and structuring of the Ruthless musical family. At the same time, the pressure was on to release a product that would adhere to the Ruthless standard and push the group’s name forward.
Although Eazy-E passed away a year and a half after the group was signed, he had developed a relationship with the group that Krayzie says he appreciated.
“It was a good relationship, even though he died a year and a half after we met. He was a cool person. He made sure the studios and stuff were taken care of to help the group reach ahead.”
Krayzie now resides in California, but he still makes frequent visits back to his hometown. Family, friends and roots don’t just get up with you and move to L.A.. After releasing a few albums, Bone had been established. The next movement would be to take on solo roles and care of the Ruthless family.
Therefore, Cleveland based Mo Thug Family was the next major move. With album sales reaching well over a million, not to mention the millions of Bone Thugs sales, Cleveland, Ohio was officially on the hip-hop map.
In 1999, Krayzie Bone released the double album, Thug Mentality. The majority of people I’ve spoken to stated that Thug Mentality to date is Krayzie at his best. It was a compilation of Krayzie’s favourite tracks and this reflected on the album. Two years later comes the release of Thug On Da Line which is being released on Krayzie’s own Thug Line Records.
“I always wanted to start a label. I have some emcees signed which I just met over the years.”
When I asked him to compare the two solo releases he seemed to be equally pleased with both but stated, “I have to say I like my second one (Thug On Da Line) better.”
Not only does Thug On The Line feature Krayzie’s label’s family of emcees but it also features stellar production from Krayzie himself. I questioned him on whether this would be a new trend with him and he seemed 100% sure of the direction he would be heading with his music.
“For the next album I will produce most of it.”
For the last few months, there’s been much speculation throughout the Bone family on the personal beefs having a large impact on the state of the group. Although I wasn’t to quick to jump out and ask the man on Bone’s status, Krayzie seemed to know already where I was heading:
“You know, It’s all love right now. We were just released from Ruthless (Records) so there was a little tension and everyone was doing their own thing. Were now getting it back to the way it was.”
Although countless solo albums will be released, the Bone and Mo Thug families are also concentrating on recalling the success of their previous releases.
“We are working on a new Bone album and we hope to have it released at the end of this year.”
The Bone Thugs image is that of body, mind and spirituality. It is that of a rugged lifestyle portrayed through a style unique to hip-hop. The harmony between the group is irreplaceable and is brought out through variations of topics concerning god, death and weed. Any Bone fan knows this of the group but would most likely have a harder time breaking down each individual emcee within the group. Krayzie’s first single off the new album, “Y’all Don’t Know Me” gives the listener a chance to get to know Krayzie Bone as an individual.
“The fans know Bone not me, that’s why I did the track.”
Like the group, Krayzie is a very spiritual person himself who has always had a strong sense for religious values.
“My family were Jehovah’s Witness, so I was always around that kind of stuff. Judgement Day is now. We are being judged right now. Everyone is sitting back waiting to be judged but its happening right now.”
According to Krayzie, a tour heavily planned for the Thug On The Line release will be reaching to Canada.
“We had a great time last time we were in Canada. The clubs and casinos were great. The only problem we had was on the way driving back through customs they caught Layzie with a sack of weed.”
Krayzie assured me this is no reason not to come back so no worries to the Bone fans way north of Cleveland.
Krayzie has come along way since his Cleveland struggle but he is still not completely satisfied.
“I’d like to see some success come out of my label and stability.”
When I asked about any possibility of starting a family sometime soon, he didn’t seem to sure but still acknowledged a more laid back future.
“I just want to kick back, relax in my house in Cali and be comfortable.”
Krayzie’s sense of hard work is very evident in everything with his name on it. This should be reason enough to cop Thug On Da Line.
Written by Jesse Plunkett for HipHopCanada