Layzie Bone Recalls Epic Session w/ Biggie & New Project ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’
Layzie Bone might be your favorite rapper out of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony — and for good reason. The Cleveland, Ohio native came up as a proud member of the legendary rap group, serving as the younger brother of Flesh-N-Bone and cousin to Wish Bone. The story goes, all the group members took one-way bus tickets from Cleveland to Los Angeles, and was homeless before getting in touch with Eazy E of N.W.A.
After finding out the West Coast rapper had a show in Cleveland, they immediately jet back to their hometown to perform. While he didn’t see their performance, they got their opportunity to rap for Eazy backstage. In June of 1994, “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” was released and the rest is history.
Real name Steven Howse is now focused on his solo career, while being his own CEO to 2 entities: Mo Thugs Records and Harmony Howse Entertainment. While he boasts legendary status in all facets of his life, his humility and authenticity remains pure as ever. He states, “I’m a very simple, easy-going man.”
Now, he releases his highly-anticipated Wanted Dead or Alive, which he deems his best project to date. AllHipHop caught up with Layzie Bone at the Kandypens house in Los Angeles to discuss the early days working with Eazy E, studio session with Big, almost getting his finger bit off, his new album, and being outsmoked by Snoop.
AllHipHop: What was Layzie like, back when you guys first met Eazy E?
Layzie Bone: I’m still the same, I haven’t really changed much. I calmed down as far as being more focused on my business, but I still have a good time. I’m the host of the show, I get it going all the time. Everybody’s going to enjoy it when I’m hosting.
AllHipHop: How hard was it to get on being from Cleveland?
Layzie Bone: Well, a one-way bus ticket. Very different from now where you could DM somebody. We had to actually get on a Greyhound. We were on in Cleveland, we had an album called Faces of Death through Stoney Burke Records. We’re pretty popular in Cleveland, but we had to leave for nationwide fame.
AllHipHop: How accurate was the portrayal of Bone Thugs in the N.W.A. movie?
Layzie Bone: It wasn’t really a portrayal of us in the N.W.A. movie, not at all. When Eazy E went to the club and met Cube that night, we were there. They made mention of that at the Tunnel. At the end of the movie, Yella had a scene with E when E’s in the hospital bed, he slid him the tape and E never got to hear it. That’s how the movie ended. On that note, what I’ma do is take it as an alley-oop and start Bone Thugs-n-Harmony movie right there.
AllHipHop: What’s the latest with that? You have to capture all those memories!
Layzie Bone: We’re working on it. It’s work developing the script. Every Bone can have a different movie. We’re really that complex. We have individual friend stories but the whole Bone Thugs story, the way that happened is amazing.
AllHipHop: You guys remember everything?
Layzie Bone: Let me tell you, Wish got shot by Krayzie Bone with a shotgun in real life. n##ga shot me in the head. My brother did 10 years. Bizzy Bone was kidnapped as a kid, all this old weird, crazy s##t that life threw upon people. But the movie? Ooh wee, when it comes together! I can’t give you all of it.
AllHipHop: What’s it like reliving those moments? I’m sure at the time it was hard to get through.
Layzie Bone: We handled it pretty well. We stayed into the music, the only thing that kept Bone Thugs-n-Harmony alive. We hit the studio and talked about it.
AllHipHop: What were those recording sessions with Eazy E and Big Pun?
Layzie Bone: Eazy E was cool, he let us do whatever we wanted to do. Big Pun, that’s my n##ga too. Big Pun and Flesh-N-Bone had a song together right when Big Pun was entering the game. Fat Joe was introducing him. We were really cool with Terror Squad, still are. Joe’s my brother. n##gas be cool. The dynamics of where I've been: 27 years famous. It doesn't look like that but going through all the different phases of everything, you spend enough time in this game. We did remarkable things, that’s why my new album’s called Wanted Dead or Alive. I sampled Bon Jovi. They allowed me to, s##t’s dope.
AllHipHop: What’s the significance in the title, Wanted Dead or Alive?
Layzie Bone: Because I've seen so many legendary rappers die. At first, it was Marvin Gaye. That’s the first singer I ever heard got murdered, I was a little kid at that time. Then Tupac, then Biggie. It’s so many others that you understand this music that we put down, the words we choose to say, is here forever. From being in Bone Thugs, I know that I’m wanted dead or alive. As long as I relay the right message, it’s going to live forever. It’s called eternal music.
AllHipHop: What are you giving us content-wise on the album?
Layzie Bone: It’s 18 songs on the album, then an intro. It’s all my family. I got my sons on the album: Jeremy, Stevie and Stevon. We Harmony Howse. My last name’s Howse, gotta get the brand right. You can’t f##k the brand up.
AllHipHop: How old are your sons?
Layzie Bone: 27, 18, and 16. I’ve got them guys, HC the Chemist, Flesh-N-Bone, Krayzie Bone, Dame Dolla from the Portland Trailblazers, my homeboy Gramm. I got my family surrounding me on this one.
AllHipHop: What’s your relationship with Dame?
Layzie Bone: We’re cool, he’s a real down-to-earth man. Dame is the realist, he can really rap. I go with the real music. If I could feel your heart, if I could feel your pain, then I’ll become your fan. If it’s all facade and about the flash, that’s not how I get down.
AllHipHop: Why is this your best body of work?
Layzie Bone: Because I really was every day putting my feelings into the album. It feels like I predicted things coming along, I got a song called “Resolution.” Different things I say on this record came to the light. My wordplay, the choice of the people I kept around me, everything was perfect. There was no stress involved in making the album.
AllHipHop: In your opinion, who had the best verses on BTNHResurrection?
Layzie Bone: It’s between Krayzie and Bizzy, just the way the beat drops baby.
AllHipHop: Lil Wayne went on record saying he has to recite his lyrics to remember them. Do you remember the lyrics to your songs?
Layzie Bone: Yup, when the song is on. but if no music is playing, I can’t think of none of that s##t. [chuckles] You gotta imagine, we have thousands of raps. Thousands, not a couple of albums.
AllHipHop: I don’t know how you guys do it.
Layzie Bone: Because the brain is that powerful. You can memorize whatever you want to. Especially if you do it in song, it’s easier.
AllHipHop: Can you rap “Shoot Em Up”?
Layzie Bone: See, how that s##t start? [begins to rap]
“So me and the rest of these thugs can marinate, marinate
We straight, get high, so high
That's how my mental, that's how my mental state as I parlay, parlay
Like everyday, don't think I don't pin playa hation
But ya better pinnin' yourself, or contend with the M-11
.357 Automatic weapons from my shelf
These n##gas wanna take my health and wealth
Check yourself, tryin' to contend, but they couldn't win
You took it to the head with a fifth of Hen
Now we in a red 500 Benz-o, we roll, roll
Drop the top, and lock the locks, cock the Glock.”
I don’t know what the f##k I said, but something like that.
AllHipHop: Do you miss performing, or are you enjoying this break?
Layzie Bone: Both. I miss performing. We actually did a show in Houston last week. Practicing safe distancing, it was different.
AllHipHop: People in the crowd were spaced out?
Layzie Bone: Yeah, until the music came on. [laughs] Motherf##kers were like “ayeee.” Forgot about all that.
AllHipHop: Why isn’t Everyday Thang on streaming?
Layzie Bone: Because it was a part of a soundtrack, it’s business involved in that. Contracts, different companies we were dealing with.
AllHipHop: Who’s the closet female rapper that could hang with Bone with the fast rapping?
Layzie Bone: Probably Da Brat. Still, right now. She be chillin’ though, I’m watching.
AllHipHop: Can you bring us back to when your finger almost got bit off in Hawaii?
Layzie Bone: Long story short, I let people in my room. We were chillin’, kicking it. This motherf##ker had to on meth or something, it was a strong ass man. I had to fight this motherf##ker and this motherf##ker bit me. He was aggressive and extra. I learned can’t everybody get close to a n##ga, it’s a process. He bit me!
AllHipHop: Hella hard?
Layzie Bone: I had to get my s##t reconstructed. My motherf##king gristle was poppin’. That n##ga bit me to the gristle bone. No pun intended to myself.
AllHipHop: What’s the premise of Harmony Howse Entertainment?
Layzie Bone: What I’m trying to do is be on my entertainment conglomerate. I got my kids, everybody plays their specific roles within everything that’s creative. Harmony Howse was created to create the dynasty so we could always give back to the arts.
AllHipHop: Any epic studio memories from working with Biggie?
Layzie Bone: That n##ga Big put my motherf##king weed in his pocket man. I swear to God. We getting high, sitting at the mixing board. We all chillin’. We took a picture right there too, that s##t’s been viral for years. After the session, Big’s like “I’ll holla at ya’ll.” Hold up, that’s my weed n##ga. About a quarter ounce.
AllHipHop: What did he say?
Layzie Bone: “My bad.” You know how people put lighters in their pocket? But you know, we balling. I was wondering if I should say something at all. “n##ga, that’s my weed!”
AllHipHop: How much are you smoking in a day?
Layzie Bone: I’d say about 2 eighths if I was by myself all day. Every time I get a chance, I smoke weed. For the past 32 years, every day.
AllHipHop: How old were you when you first smoked?
Layzie Bone: 12. One time, me and Krayzie Bone had some weed the homie gave us. We smoked it, we was young as f##k and we cracked up. I don’t know what the f##k we was laughing at but that’s we always used to do: laugh.
AllHipHop: Do you guys low key celebrate every first of the month?
Layzie Bone: Every day is the first of the month for me. I try to practice being happy, you feel me? We bubbly. We dead serious too.
AllHipHop: Do you smoke a certain type of weed?
Layzie Bone: If I’m writing, in a writing, creative mood, then I want to smoke a sativa. If I’m sipping wine and having a good time discussing life, then a good indica. A good OG.
AllHipHop: Do you care if your kids smoke?
Layzie Bone: I care if they smoke cigarettes, then I’ll be like “what the f##k are you doing?” Weed never hurt nobody. If my kids are grown and that’s what they choose to do, I’ll support that over any other thing you can put in your body that’s intoxicating.
AllHipHop: Have you ever been outsmoked by an artist?
Layzie Bone: Snoop man. That n##ga Snoop something else. Let’s say I fell asleep up under the major console there with the big board, just for a minute.