Bone Thugs-n-Harmony can be a very difficult group to keep up with as members are constantly quitting and coming back, or in the case of Flesh-n-Bone, face trouble with the law. Flesh, whose run-ins with the law have been quite public, seems to have finally gotten a grip on his troubled ways and even recently released his first solo album in 11 years titled Blaze of Glory.
The new album released in September, reunites Flesh with longtime Bone Thugs producer DJ Uneek and even contains two songs with all of the members of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony – and who knows when we’ll see that again? AllHipHop.com caught up with Flesh-n-Bone for a post-release interview to talk about the new album and some interesting details about his incarceration. We also try to find out the current status of the group but it seems that even Flesh doesn’t know!
AllHipHop.com: You released your first solo album in 11 years this past September.
Flesh-n-Bone: Blaze of Glory is my first solo effort in over 11 years. My last one was 5th Dog Let Loose in 2000 right before I had to go and do a little time. I’ve been home for a few years, and I’ve spent it working on this new project. It’s one of those all well-rounded projects. I haven’t seen one negative review, and you know that critics can be hard. Critics are mean! They are no-holds barred and they will not bite their tongues [laughter].
AllHipHop.com: Well, that’s true. On top of the critics, you also have the fans throwing their two cents in on comments sections and message boards.
Flesh-n-Bone: Yes, you’ve got the fans telling you how they feel, too. The response to the album has been positive. I’m really happy and thankful for that.
AllHipHop.com: Did it take a while to shake the dust off and get back in to the groove of being a recording artist after being in jail for so long?
Flesh-n-Bone: You’re right. I had to get back in to the swing of things after being away for so long. I’m grateful that I had opportunities waiting for me as soon as I got out – that’s not always promised. I was concerned about making that transition in terms of handling business and re-establishing my career.
AllHipHop.com: Were you rusty on the mic at first?
Flesh-n-Bone: No. I was never rusty. There was no outdatedness or problems with coming up with lyrics that were intelligent and savvy. That’s never been an issue with me. I don’t get writer’s block. Even when I was in prison, I stayed writing. I’m an artist, and I know that I was put on this Earth to be one. After I hit the prison yard mainline, there were musical programs available. I took some music theory classes and learned how to play musical instruments like the piano and keyboard. I converted my jail cell in to a studio [laughter].
AllHipHop.com: No way! You were able to do that?
Flesh-n-Bone: Literally! For four years, my cell was a studio. I was in there studying, writing, producing, and making beats.
AllHipHop.com: They allowed that? I sometimes hear about inmates getting in trouble for just having an iPod.
Flesh-n-Bone: It wasn’t legal because a lot of electronics are considered contraband. That’s a no-no. Some of the CO’s knew what was going on and let me do my thing. Others would come in and smash the radio, smash the tapes, and smash the microphone [laughter]. It went both ways.
AllHipHop.com: Were the other inmates cool to kick it with?
Flesh-n-Bone: Being a member of Bone Thugs had its pros and cons. I had to have my fights and scuffles. I had my allies in there who were fans of the group. I was able to be good friends with a lot of great individuals. There were haters that didn’t like that. I had supporters and I had several squabs because of that.
AllHipHop.com: How quickly were you tested by other inmates?
Flesh-n-Bone: My first battle was at the reception yard. That’s like when you first get in there. My first scuffle was right there – at the place before you even get shipped off to the penitentiary. People try to do some hoe sh*t, trying to treat you like a sucker. I don’t know you! What did I do to make you want to test my manhood – I don’t know you. You don’t know what you’re getting in to when you do stuff like that. I done beat the sh*t out of dudes much larger than me and dudes my size. I’m a skinny dude that’s blessed to know how to protect myself.
Yeah, I had to walk that motherf*cker with a shank when I felt that I needed to strap the f*ck up. I armed myself with something that was sharp enough to poke a motherf*cker or slice them up – thank God I never had to do that. My two fists were all that I had to use. I’m just saying, if you feel lucky, then you better knock me out. I’ve got a hard head. When I was young, I got jumped by a gang of dudes and some of them had to use two-by-fours just to stop me. I’m serious!
But yeah, I was tested quickly. It’s gladiator stuff for real. You’re going to get caught up in some type of sh*t in there, but you can also go to school, learn a trade, and all types of other stuff in there. Those are places of rehabilitation, but the rehabilitation has to come from within the individual. It’s not going to happen because that’s the kind of place that they call it. You have to be willing to do the things that are necessary to do more than rehabilitate.
AllHipHop.com: It’s hard to keep up with the status of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. One day this person is not in, next you are all back together, and then someone leaves again. Where are you guys at right now?
Flesh-n-Bone: I understand where you’re coming from. To an extent, I feel exactly the same way. I can’t keep up with it [laughter]. There’s a lot going on in the group, but then you’ve got to understand that there are subsidiaries to the group. We’ve all each become brands ourselves, too – and we have to take care of that as businessmen. Since I’ve been home, we’ve been able to put out one record together as one whole group. We’ve had a few bad decisions here and there but there’s always something that’s potentially in the mix for Bone Thugs-n-Harmony as a whole.
AllHipHop.com: Why is it that the group has had such a hard time trying to stay together?
Flesh-n-Bone: There’s always conflicts and differences of opinions on how business should be conducted. There has to be a certain level of compromise. The business should be no-nonsense, period. It’s got to make sense for everybody at the table.
AllHipHop.com: Is Krayzie Bone in the group or out?
Flesh-n-Bone: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony is always Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. I talk to these brothers on a daily basis – all of them. They talk to each other on the regular, too.
AllHipHop.com: I’ve always loved the group’s signature fast flowing harmony style. Who introduced that to the group?
Flesh-n-Bone: I would have to say that Krayzie Bone was the first one that took it to that wicked lightning-speed level. You have to keep in mind that Krayzie spent two years in the penitentiary when he was a youngster. When he got out he was spitting some sh*t that was like a Mac-11 or a Tech-N9ne. There were artists who were doing that dizzy fast flow like Das EFX, and I tip my hat off to them, but it wasn’t like how I heard Krayzie doing when he came home from the pen. A lot of artists were doing the tongue-twisting style, but we added the harmony to it. I can sing and blow you a melody that’s doper and sweeter than a 16-rhyme bar. I can sing, homie.