It’s one of the most intriguing and fascinating sagas in Hip-Hop history.
The story of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony has been told, and re-told, for the better part of two decades. Their journey from homeless thugs on the streets of Cleveland, to international superstars is well documented. But despite their groundbreaking style, multiple awards and millions of records sold, the Bone Thugs story has been overshadowed by inner turmoil for the better part of the new millennium. Whether it was jail time, bad record deals, or feuding members, Bone Thugs seemed to always be making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
In Part 1 of AllHipHop.com's exclusive interview with Layzie Bone, we found the rapper in turmoil over shady business dealings and the split up of the group in recent months. In Part 2, he expounds upon his own responsibility in the breakup and what he hopes to accomplish by being so candid now - read on:
AllHipHop.com: A lot of people because of those messages that went out on Facebook and Twitter hold out hope, and that’s a good thing. They got excited, and they might hear this and be a little bit disappointed, but obviously when you’re speaking, it isn’t just throwing out harmful sh*t for the sake of throwing it out. There are obviously emotions and family ties to this, it’s very real and goes beyond music. What would you tell those fans in order to keep optimistic, to know that this might not be the final chapter?
Layzie Bone: The only reason I’m doing this interview is in hopes that we can get our sh*t together and like we said on the intro of "Creepin’ On Ah Come Up" – shut this muthaf*cka down, ‘cause we do have the Internet. And we are a company. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is a brand. Once you take ten years to become a brand, and once you are a brand, your brand can stay. You have staying power. Now if my n*ggas can hear this, and be like, yeah you right, Steve, you are our spokesman, you have been our leader.
Now I hadn’t been the leader all the time, because a muthaf*cka get tired. I need everybody else to pick up the slack sometimes. But when it comes to puttin’ this group together, man, that’s me, dawg. Pat me on my back and say the lil’ man hold us down. I know everything I’m saying is accurate, but I’m not saying that I’m perfect either. I had my faults. I have faults. I’m not perfect.
But I know one thing deep in my heart, to the fans that’s listening, you can tell when something is genuine. You can tell when something is sincere. Look at that AllHipHop video-recorded interview, and tell me when they talking ‘bout family, is that sincere or not? Like, body language is a muthaf*cka, man! Actions speak louder than words, man! Who really kept everybody together?
All I’m saying is, I don’t have the energy to do it no more, I got my own f*ckin’ family problems and things like that and ambitions. Now look in the mirror and ask yourself where do you belong? Do you belong a solo artist, or is it what God pre-ordained for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to change the world, for folks to see us at the crossroads, and all them inspiring a** songs we did? How many records do we do solo? We don’t do a muthaf*ckin’ thing, compared to what Bone Thugs-N-Harmony do.
AllHipHop.com: When you look at turmoil and discontent, if you had to look within at yourself, what do you regret in terms of the way you did certain things? If you put yourself in their shoes in terms of what you did wrong …
Layzie Bone: Okay, well, really, no regrets, because I learn from my mistakes, so there are no regrets. But at the same time, some of the things that I did wrong … First of all, I didn’t educate myself as a leader should. I wish I would have got a lot more educated, you know, it took me a long time to get to where I am now. I was stuck in a bottle. I was drinking too goddamn much. That was my downfall. I didn’t have any moderation.
There was a lot of business going on that I could have attended to better. Also, I negotiated them solo deals too quick. I did that. But we had plans. It was supposed to be Bone album, solo, solo, Bone album, solo, solo, Bone album. We planned that when we was little. But in the midst of our comin’ up, I put it on the table too fast.
But I saw that Bizzy was getting antsy, and I thought I was giving him what he wanted. I saw Krayzie Bone was in the studio making a billion songs, and I thought that’s what he wanted. But had I not been intoxicated as much, I would have made better decisions, so my downfall, to me, within our group was my alcoholism. I might drink now, but better believe I got my sh*t under control being 37.
I handle my business first. This sh*t ain’t just a party to me no more. So if I had to slap myself in the f*ckin’ face, dawg, it’d have been like damn, man, you didn’t have to live in a bottle like that, Lay. And that’s the only thing I really fault myself on because even through all that, I still tended to the business. I kept deals coming in for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, solo deals for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Mo Thug deals for artists that we wanted to put on.
So I don’t kick myself in the a** because I did a good f*ckin’ job. Now it’s time for everybody else to be honest. That’s what I did wrong, man, but at the same time I live, I learn, and hopefully that’s what we all are doing. But at this point, celebrating 20 years, like, 20 years is a long time. I would much, much rather be my brother’s keeper than to keep doing this fuckin’ music trying to be a group and sending out these mixed messages to our fans. Like, come on, dawg, we went back to back, we shot at n*ggas, we sold dope. We did what the f*ck we had to do. When we ain’t have no bread, you rarely seen Bone Thugs-N-Harmony apart. N*ggas got bread, we bought houses, bought cars and all that, and there you have it. The story is what it is.
AllHipHop.com: You talk about the twenty years and you talked previously about doing stuff with Ruthless Records. Let’s look forward now, what might we see when the 20-year anniversary stuff comes out?
Layzie Bone: Okay, well, first of all, we’re doing our VH1 Behind the Scenes, and we’re gonna tell the real story. We do have the Bone Thugs-N-Harmony book, The Book of Thugs, we do have the movies that we’re doing, just a lot of things that we’re doing. I just want to go into it right. We got a real live record of live performances comin’ out for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony which requires us to be together to do this.
And hopefully, we all read this and talk about this sh*t when we’re together. ‘Cause we seem not to talk about the things, we don’t touch on the things that we’re supposed to when we’re together. Let’s roll the blunt, let’s ignore the sh*t that’s keeping us from being as successful as we possibly could be. So it’s a lot of things, and like I said, I’ma put this sh*t in big, bold capital letters: LAYZIE BONE WILL NEVER LEAVE BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY. EVER. Because, like I said, I think about carrying the caskets, ‘cause we don’t live forever.
I think about taking care of our families. I want all five of us to come together. Like, right now, since they doin’ they thing, they don’t want me involved, it’s like they don’t want to know what my well-being is, that’s fine. Go ahead and be in your development stage as a unit. So I still got Krayzie and Wish, they can do Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, too. You better believe I did an album with them, Strength and Loyalty, and kept it movin’. So I’ma do an album with Bizzy Bone and Flesh. Majority has always ruled, always, in Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. So my hopes and ambitions is for the world to see us dominant.
AllHipHop.com: On this day, if you had to honestly predict how it’s going to go in the near future for your group in terms of its makeup, how do you think it’s going to shape up?
Layzie Bone: With me doing this interview right here, Kray gon’ want to whoop my a**. Wish gon’ want to whoop my a**. B probably gon’ say it’s ‘bout time that lil’ n*gga said something. And Flesh, that’s my big brother, he came home from the penitentiary to get Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. That’s his duty. He missed so many years, I know he wants to see it. But they gon’ want to whoop my a**, but at the same time it’s probably a breath of fresh air that I’m just keeping it one-hundred from my opinion, from my point of view.
So I think we gon’ celebrate this 20-year anniversary, I think this sh*t right here, I’m sayin’ this sh*t right here, n*gga, you know what I mean, Katt Williams type sh*t, this sh*t should bring us together. Because I ain’t speakin’ nothing but the truth. And I ain’t talkin’ down on Kray. I ain’t talkin’ down on Wish. I aint talkin’ down on Steve Lobel. I ain’t talkin’ down on Bizzy.
Even when I said my alcoholic ways, I ain’t talkin’ down on myself, because we all can overcome any obstacle. I ain’t even talkin’ down on Mr. Francis, I’m just sayin’. Just don’t pop up, don’t misappropriate things. They know my number. Call me. Tell me y’all planning on puttin’ Bone Thugs-N-Harmony together. Don’t let me find out on no muthaf*ckin’ Internet. ‘Cause this my muthaf*ckin’ group, you feel me? And I would hope that every other Bone member feels the same way.
AllHipHop.com: You got stuff from the vault that has Bone Thugs-N-Harmony songs, you have your solo albums, you have your websites, why don’t you list what people should expect and where people can find you?
Layzie Bone: First of all, you can find everything that I’m doing on www.HarmonyHowseEnt.com. I think Kray’s project is called From the Vault, mine is called The Lost Archives. I got a solo record called Perfect Timing, I got the Harmony Howse compilation which is called Welcome to the Howse, I got The Law of Attraction Special Edition CD that I’m selling with a lot of my poetry and things like that. It’s a nice package, you know, I just dropped The Law of Attraction mixtape CD so go download that, it’s free.
I got my book of poetry coming out which is called Invisible Ink. Look out for Felecia’s record called Before My Time. Flesh-N-Bone’s new record Blaze of Glory, I’m promoting that. I’m promoting me, Bizzy, and Flesh’s album. I want to call it Majority Rules, but I don’t think Bizzy gon’ let me, so that’s a debate right now. You got that record, though, which is – WHOO! – off the hook.
For everything you need to know you can go to www.HarmonyHowseEnt.com. All these things that I’m doing is hopefully to be backed up sometime by the end of this year by a five-man Bone Thugs-N-Harmony album. But be lookin’ for me, Bizzy, and Flesh to go on tour. And I hope the fans come out and support us, too, because it’s some of the same songs but I’ma switch it all the way up so they get a whole ‘nother feel and flavor for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
Follow me on Twitter (@LayzieBTNH), Layzie Bone on Facebook - I’m always on Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s Facebook.
AllHipHop.com: If you had to do it in a sentence collectively or individually talking to your group, what would be your message to your group, your brothers that you grew up with?
Layzie Bone: Okay. "T.E.A.M. Together everyone achieves more." Teamwork makes the dream work. Team. Team. Team. Team. Team. Exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point … Together everyone achieves more.