Krayzie Bone Interview
|Label:||Thug Line/RBC Records|
|Next Project:||Just One Mo Hit (Solo Album) / Uni-5 (BTNH Album)|
|Website:||Krayzie Bone's Website|
Among industry veterans, there are always a lucky few who have achieved such success that they could simply choose to hang up the mic and live out the rest of their days in comfort, secure that their contributions to their genre will never be forgotten. Though many in hip-hop have chosen to take this path, one of the hallmarks of a truly driven artist is the unquenchable need for Just One Mo Hit; preparing to unleash his fifth solo LP on his legions of devoted fans, and working on a forthcoming eighth album with the group that made him a legend, Krayzie Bone‘s clearly not about to call it quits—in fact, he’s looking to parlay his status as a hip-hop icon into something even bigger in the years to come.
As demonstrated on lead single “Life! A Lesson to Learn,” the Grammy award-winning emcee’s extensive experience in the industry has left him with plenty to say, and with the March 24th release of Just One Mo Hit, music-lovers everywhere will get an inside look at the wisdom he’s gained over more than 15 years in the game. As if that wasn’t enough, this summer he will join forces with Layzie, Bizzy, Wish, and Flesh to drop Uni-5, the first release since 2000’s BTNHResurrection to feature the entire Bone Thugs lineup.
In an exclusive interview with our own DJ “Z,” Krayzie Bone steps into the Booth to discuss the most important lesson he’s learned in the course of his career, the events that brought all five Bone Thugs back into Harmony after years apart, and how he and his group blazed a trail that big names and up-and-comers alike are still following to this day.
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Krayzie Bone Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on, everybody? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a Cleveland native who is preparing to take Just One Mo Hit later this month, and of course, this summer, become Uni-5 once again. Please welcome, for the second time, a Grammy award-winning emcee, my man Krayzie Bone—how you doin’?
Krayzie: Just chilling, man, everything is cool. Taking it slow, you know?
DJ Booth: Absolutely. Well, you’re takin’ it slow now, but you’ve been very busy. Next week, you’re gonna unleash your fifth solo project. Congratulations, that’s great!
Krayzie: Thanks a lot, man, I really appreciate it. I’ve just been in the studio, gettin’ it in, just tryin’ to keep this music comin’, you know?
DJ Booth: Let’s go back for a second. The title of your solo debut was Thug Mentality 1999, so what would you say is your “thug mentality” here in 2009?
Krayzie: Well, that was 10 years ago. I was still young. I’d say now I’ve matured a whole lot, in those 10 years—musically, personally, mentally—so you’re getting a different Krayzie Bone: a more grown-up, mature Krayzie Bone.
DJ Booth: The lead single off the new album, which we featured here at DJBooth.net, is entitled “Life! A Lesson to Learn.” So, Krayzie, what is the hardest lesson that you’ve had to learn?
Krayzie: The hardest lesson I guess would be friendship and business—I really understand now why they tell you not to mix the two. Business and money, it does destroy some of the closest relationships. When it comes to this business, it is what it is: it’s business.
DJ Booth: How do you think you could separate business and friendship, make the two of them work, not necessarily interconnected but by themselves?
Krayzie: It’s really up to the persons involved. If both people are on the level with each other, and they understand that the money isn’t [more] important than a person’s friendship—if both people can understand that, it’s a wonderful thing. But you find time and time again that money is the root of all evil, and it makes people do some unusual things.
DJ Booth: You think you’re friends with someone, and then money gets involved, and you realize you weren’t that good of friends in the first place.
Krayzie: Exactly, and that’s happened time and time again.
DJ Booth: What better way to find out who your true friends are than by those who do not let money get in the way?
Krayzie: Man, that’s exactly true. That is exactly true. Everybody that comes around me is in it for the money. You see it a lot, and it’s hard to know who’s really there for you as a friend. But now, since I’ve been in the business for as long as I have, I can see ‘em coming.
DJ Booth: In the record we just talked about, you spit the line, “I have a whole lot of player haters hatin’ my shine/ I don’t know why suckas keep hatin’ on my grind.” Krayzie, out of the hundreds of artists that have joined me inside the Booth for an interview, I can’t think of an artist who, as part of a group, has been more loved and embraced. What specifically transpired that made you write a rhyme like that?
Krayzie: Like I said, just goin’ through everything for my career, just lookin’ back on everything. I’ve been through a lot in this business—a lot of good times, and a lot of bad times. That’s basically what the song is reflecting: everything I’ve been through and the people I came into contact with, and the stuff I was chasing, the money and the fame and all that stuff—it just took a toll.
DJ Booth: Considering all that you’ve been through, even though there have been some hardships, some trials, some tribulations, would you change anything, or are you confident that everything you went through has made you the man and the emcee you are today?
Krayzie: If I could change anything, all I would do is, I would go back and ask for the knowledge I didn’t have when I first started. Other than that, all the experiences and stuff like that, I’m still here, so it didn’t kill me, know what I’m saying?
DJ Booth: A lot of people say knowledge is power, and I don’t wanna harp on this too much—do you feel like during your years at Ruthless, the group was taken advantage of?
Krayzie: Definitely. I can honestly say that everyone who was in contact with Bone or did business with Bone up until right now—we own all our stuff now—everyone has taken advantage of Bone. Every company we’ve been in business with, from Ruthless to Interscope, it has not been honest business on their parts.
DJ Booth: Do you point the finger at Jerry Heller or a label executive at any of the places you’ve been at, or do you say to yourself, “Maybe we should have just put some better people around our group so they could’ve informed us and helped us make the right decisions, so that these things didn’t happen?”
Krayzie: I really can’t put all the blame on them. They were in the record business when they met us; they were shootin’ their usual. I’m pretty sure we’re not the first act they [put one] over on. If I had to be mad at anybody, it would be ourselves. That actually came from us not knowin’ the business. Everything came so fast for us, [the money and the success were] comin’ so fast, that we didn’t really take time to understand the business and follow up on certain things that had to do with our business.
DJ Booth: Well, it’s all for the better, ‘cause you guys are in a great position now. For several years, longtime fans were quite understandably upset, thinking that the possibility of the group recording again as a quintet wouldn’t happen. As I’m sure most people know by now, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony is completely reunited, and you guys are gonna be dropping the appropriately-titled Uni-5 this summer. What did it take in order to make this new album, this new situation a reality?
Krayzie: Well, Flesh just came home… there were just so many people between us. See, that’s the whole thing with Bone: there were just too many people that came in between the main members, so that kinda split everybody up. But once we started talking, everybody pretty much knew what it was. Bizzy was on the level; he was brave to come back in and be a part of Bone. Flesh had just been released, so he was automatically down, then with him comin’ home, it made everything all the better; it made us all come back together. Him comin’ home played a big part in everybody getting back together, just really realizing, “Man, we’ve still got a chance to do this and do it big, so let’s get back at it.”
DJ Booth: Krayzie, do you feel like Bone Thugs-n-Harmony picks right back up where it left off, or is it gonna take some time for you guys to readapt and have fans readapt to your new collective sound?
Krayzie: I think once we get out there, the music is gonna speak for itself like it always has. That’s where our fans come from, cause we’ve got undeniable real-life music. That’s what we call it, that’s our own genre, is “real-life music,” and everybody loves to hear real-life issues, ‘cause, especially in these times, everybody is goin’ through ‘em.
DJ Booth: It was “reality rap” before that term was coined, if you will.
DJ Booth: What do you think Bone Thugs-n-Harmony means to hip-hop?
Krayzie: Before we came along, everybody was basically doing the same thing, simple style, then we came along and took the game up two or three notches, and it’s been there ever since. If you listen to R&B artists and other rap artists, everybody has borrowed a little bit of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. Every song on the radio from a rapper today, every hit song, they have borrowed from Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. Whether they’re doin’ harmony, they’re singing their hooks, they’re rapping fast like Bone, everybody is doin’ it. So even though we’ve been gone from the scene for a while, other artists have kept us alive, and I think that’s why we’re still able to come out and do what we do: because people are still doin’ what we did 15 years ago.
DJ Booth: When you come in contact with these artists, do they acknowledge what you guys have done?
Krayzie: Some of them do, a certain few that I really have true respect for because they acknowledge it like Chamillionaire, Mariah Carey, and artists like that—they really give it up. And Busta.
DJ Booth: Well, I would be surprised if Cham and Mariah didn’t give you credit, because you guys gave them some of the biggest hits of their respective careers, so credit is due, definitely. Krayzie, let’s get into some reader questions. Let’s hop across the pond for number one from Dannie of London, England; he wrote, “Being from the UK, where there’s little promotion and minimal airplay, it’s taken a lot of dedication and loyalty over the past 15 years to keep up with you guys. Since the new label is called Bone Thugs-n-Harmony Worldwide how do you plan to expose your new music on an international level?”
Krayzie: Once we get this album in the can and start promotin’ it, we’re definitely going to do a world tour, and I think we’re actually starting in the UK. Like I said, with this new team we have, we have a staff of media people that’s gearing up to start reaching our fans and then some—everywhere. It’s definitely in our plans to let our fans overseas, in other countries know what we’re doing, when we’re doing it and everything, so they feel that they’re in the loop just like the people here in America.
DJ Booth: Absolutely—you just made Dannie really happy. Next question comes from Shortdog984 of Sacktown, California, and he said, “Krayzie, last time you were in the Booth, you discussed a collaborative project with fellow Midwesterner Twista. What’s the latest on this potential hip-hop masterpiece?”
Krayzie: It’s definitely still in motion. There were a couple of holdups ‘cause Twista, he’s obviously busy, he’s working on several projects and his label, we’ve been busy, I’ve been working on several projects—Bone albums, my solo albums. We’ve got a couple of songs recorded. We’re actually workin’ on a Midwest compilation. It’s just gonna have all the artists in the Midwest featured. It’s called Coming from the Midwest. Me and Twista are definitely gonna be on that. As far as the [us] and Twista album, it’s definitely coming; maybe in 2010 people will see that.
DJ Booth: So what you’re saying is, you can’t put a date on it, but the public will be able to enjoy a Bone Thugs/Twista album.
DJ Booth: Okay, good. The last reader question comes from Teresa of Atlanta, Georgia, and she wrote, “Krayzie, how much money did it take to get Bone Thugs in the studio with Kevin Federline?”
Krayzie: [laughs] Man, it’s all good… first of all, I heard his music, and I really think he can be worked with, I really think he has something to say to the people, obviously, with all the stuff he’s been through. It ain’t even all about the money; I’m gonna do what I do. I ain’t no greedy person—I do music because I love it.
DJ Booth: But you’re saying that you guys felt that there was some talent level that he possessed, in order to at least discuss the possibility of collaboration?
DJ Booth: Okay, glad we could clear that up. Krayzie, everybody’s really excited about what you have going on. I want them to find out more—give ‘em a website, MySpace page, so they can find out about, of course, your solo project, dropping next week, and the new Bone Thugs-n-Harmony project, dropping this summer.
DJ Booth: That’s what it is. Krayzie, as always, I appreciate you takin’ the time to join me inside the DJBooth, and I wish you nothing but the continued best of luck, my friend.
Krayzie: Thanks a lot; I appreciate it.