Exclusive Interview w/ Bone Thugs-n-Harmony: From Current Climate of Hip-Hop to Achieving Longevity
The long, intricate story of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony is older than more of the attendants at the 90s Fest. Amidst the throwback cartoons, candy, and fashion of my childhood, one of the legends of hip-hop came to grace the stage. While only three of the original member collective were at 90s fest, I was able to snag a few gems and talk about what they are doing now before their final drops.
I.S. Jones: The current climate of hip-hop has changed since you all started. You all came up in an era in which you had to form a bond with a producer in order to create an album. I am curious to hear, in your opinion what has changed for better or worse. Do you think that rappers should go back to fostering relationships with DJ and producers more instead of just buying tracks off producers and making an album…?
Flesh-n-Bone: I think that’s an essential part of the whole hip-hop nucleus, it evolved from the DJ, but I think that hip-hop will always evolve and adapt with the time. Hip-hop was always meant to move with the people who create it. No matter what, however, the DJ / rapper relationship will always be critical to a successful career, in my opinion. I am grateful though to see the vast influence Bone Thugs has had over the generations which have come after us. Whether it is rap, R&B, or any related genre, Bone Thugs has a nice little anchor in the game.
Wish Bone: It was a great loss to everyone in hip-hop period because he was an icon, a trendsetter, and a thug like us. Losing him was like losing a brother.
Krazie Bone: It really lit a fire under us and it made us reevaluate what we were doing out here. Not to say [Tupac] got caught up in anything because they were handling their business like men, it’s just that we have to be careful out here.
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Jones: In your sophomore album, on the hook of “E 1999”, during the hook all of you say: “Cleveland is the city where we come from so run, run”. You all have a lot of pride of Cleveland so how does your love and pride for the city influence the way you have approached your work? How have you seen your work affect your city?
Krazie Bone: Well, when we working with [Eazy-E], the first thing he asked us is: “What are y’all trying to represent?”. We said “Where we come from.”. He said “Y’all should do the same thing [NWA] did when we came out with Straight Outta Compton. We drilled it into people’s minds”. You saw when the movie came out, everyone was saying “Straight Outta Compton” “Straight Outta New York” “Straight Outta Cleveland”. That is what we have established, so when we come out with our movie, which is currently in production by the way, what we will say is “Cleveland is the city…New York is the city…Boston is the city” wherever you’re from you’re gonna be able to relate to it. Easy-E told us it is important to represent where you’re from.
Jones: We have a lot of emerging rappers that are coming out, so in your opinion who do you think are the rappers that are paving the way for hip-hop to keep thriving?
Flesh-n-Bone: That’s difficult to say because you have rappers such as Drake, I really love what he’s doing, and while I cannot think of other artists at the moment, you have to leave that up to the artist that are getting it in. Longevity will only come to those who grind and continuously put the work in.