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Krayzie Bone of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

27 Sep

If you don’t remember “Tha Crossroads” or “First of the Month” from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, then you must not have had MTV and been oblivious to the radio in 1995. Those two tracks, off the record E. 1999 Eternal brought the Cleveland quintet’s staccato flow and aggressive harmonizing to the world of gangsta rap, paving the the way for more melodic acts to follow. Although the band has seen its share of controversy with jail stints, public feuds and a notorious incident in which Krayzie Bone accidentally shot Wish Bone with a shotgun, in the years following, the various members have found their own successes and in one formation or another, stayed on the road. Shake your head all you want, but that’s an impressive feat. before their show at First Avenue on Wednesday, CakeIn15 caught up with Krayzie Bone (who also runs The Life Entertainment) to talk about E. 1999 Eternal, the future of hip-hop and life changes.

Cake In 15: You’ve already done one heavy tour this year, why do another round and why do it behind the classic E. 1999 Eternal?

Kayzie Bone: Well, man, basically it’s like, as you know and as you just said, we stay on the road, we’re meant to be like the Rolling Stones of hip-hop. We tour half the year and since we’ve been on the road for so long we were just looking to do something different. This time, we’re coming out with a live band, it’s something that we’ve never done before, done an actual whole tour with a live band. We’ve done a couple shows here and there with a live band, but we’ve never took a live band on the road with us. So we were just looking to do something different and to put something else in the mix, we were just like, “Why don’t we perform everybody’s favorite album?” Which is East 1999 Eternal, you know?

C15: A lot of hip-hop and rap acts are taking live bands out on the road with them instead of just the DJ. Is that the future direction for hip-hop?

KB: Yeah, man, I think that’s the future direction, because everyone is looking to do something different. In the past, lately, hip-hop tours have really been hurting, so they really need, and everyone realized that they need to make a couple adjustments, not just in the music that they make but also in their stage presence, you know? So I think everybody is on that level right now.

C15: How is the dynamic in the band itself, with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony? Bizzy Bone recorded the last album, Uni-5: The World’s Enemy, with you but he isn’t on the tour here.

KB: Yes, yes, you know man, everyone knows that it has been an ongoing problem with Bizzy, so when it comes to the way that we want to do business and he wants to do business, it just hasn’t been clicking, you know, as it should be and it’s all because as a group, we’re all on the same page. And whether it’s something to do with the people that represent him, or something that he don’t want to do, we choose just not to be, just not to go through the hassle. Either you’re gonna do it, you want to do it or you’re not going to do it, bottom line. We have rules and regulations that everybody needs to follow and if he can’t follow them, then he can’t be a part of what we want to do, because the way we operate and run on the road, it’s very smooth, we don’t need anything like, throwing monkey wrenches in what we do. We’re still cool with him but as far as touring and things like that, we just choose to move ahead.

C15: This talk of keeping things together and business-like begs the question, are you all staying away from guns on the road?

KB: Oh yeah, man that’s not even an option. [Laughs] We can’t even afford to have that kind of drama following us. And police are really cracking down, not just on hip-hop artists, but every tour bus they can, it’s not just hip-hop artists, it’s rock artists, it’s everyone.

C15: That also leads to weed- your songs obviously have talked about and your press releases talk about your work for the legalization of marijuana. What’s the best argument for legalizing weed?

KB: Well, then, you know, I recently stopped smoking marijuana, so I don’t like getting involved with the whole marijuana thing and all that stuff like that, I don’t like getting involved with the legalization of marijuana, that’s more like Layzie Bone. Ever since I stopped smoking, I don’t condone it or do nothing like that. I’m definitely making a lot of big changes in my life and that was one of the changes I made.

C15: Since you’re from Cleveland, I have to ask, how did you take LeBron’s “decision”?

KB: It was a big disappointment, you know, to Cleveland fans because a lot of our teams haven’t really been that close as the Cavaliers were. As a man he had to stand up and do what he did, what he needed to do for his career. Everybody has a right to decide on their own lives. So I think it was taken a bit too far, with the people burning his jersey, you know, this is a man’s life, if he made a bad decision, it’s going to show, if he made a good decision it’s going to show too. Ain’t nobody who is going to tell what a man to do, he’s a grown man, he’s got the right to decide what he needs to do.

C15: I know touring with your songs it can often get tiring, doing them over and over again, but do you have a song you always look forward to doing?

KB: Man, one of my all-time favorite songs is “First of the Month”. At the time when we came out with that song it was something that was never done and we had people who was appalled, speaking about the first of the month and then we had other people who were like, “Yo, they’re keeping it really, really real.” We even had, we made flyers that was the replica of a food stamp promoting the single and we got visited by the government and they told us that we had to stop making flyers! I was like, “Man, it’s not even a real food stamp. You can go into a store and see what happens, but…” But they came in, not smiling at all, they visited Ruthless Records and were like, “Y’all have to stop making these.” There was a lot of controversy around that song because it was so real, as the time, nobody had even dared say anything like that, that’s why it’s one of my favorite songs.

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