By Percy Crawford (@MrLouis1ana)
(AllHipHop Features) The world has been shaken to the core, by the murder of international rap star Nipsey Hussle and Layzie Bone of the legendary group Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony is no different. The rappers joined forces on the set of a movie in 2007, which sported both of their youthful faces. The pair share a lot of commonalities like Steve "We Working" Lobel, who once managed them both, as well as a link to South Central through the late Eazy-E. Layzie Bone speak to us about his admiration for Neighborhood Nip and the jealously and hatred rappers have to face on a day-to-day basis. Despite his love for the slain Los Angeles street icon, Layzie has a very different view of Nip's contemporaries The Migos.
Over the last several months, members of the BTNH family have found themselves locked into beefs with, Migos and 21 Savage. That beef was reignited when, Migos member, “Offset” stated that, older MC’s need to kiss, Migos’ feet and thank them. Obviously, Layzie Bone was not amused and launched his assault towards the group with some heat titled, “Annihilation.” “Annihilation” not only shows that, Layzie still has it lyrically, but also serves as a warning to any emcee out there that he is not to be disrespected. As a part of the legendary group, Bone, Layzie, captured a Grammy for their hit, “Tha Crossroads,” in 1997. Also, in terms of album sales they are the most successful rap group of all-time. As a solo artist, Layzie has continued to lace the streets with heat with 15 solo or joint projects, over a career that has spanned over two and a half decades.
I had a chance to catch up with, Layzie Bone to talk about his new single, “Annihilation,” the disrespect in the game and he recalls both he and, Nipsey Hussle making their acting debuts in the movie, “I Tried.”
AllHipHop: You worked with, Nipsey Hussle on the movie, “I Tried.” I have to open up the floor and let you speak on that fallen soldier.
Layzie Bone: Man, first of all, man, the intelligence that that young man exhibited, I always admired. I look at him like a lil brother. We both made our acting debut together in the, “I Tried” movie, so I go to know him over the years through, Steve Lobel and Big U. I just… man, it’s just so tragic to see what happen to my brother like that. I’m really at a loss of words. I love him, my condolences go to, Lauren London. I really don’t know what to say, man. I know we got a funeral coming up and it’s going to be way beyond our imagination. I love, Nipsey, man. I love him like a lil brother, and we took more than a loss in hip-hop. We took a loss as human beings. I heard, Big Boy from 92.3 out here say that and that resonated with me. I will miss him so much, bro. They killed a king. And for it to be somebody so close to him kind of made me want to not come with this, ‘Annihilation,” at this time. But then again, it’s perfect because there are so many people out of bounds and so much disrespect is going on in the game that I feel like, I gotta move forward with it and do some checking. Because it could have very well been any one of us standing outside in, Hollywood and somebody close to us be jealous. So, I just want to send my condolences to his family and let the world know that his brilliance and what he did for his neighborhood is going to last and it’s going to stand, and he left his mark, you feel me. It might not have been everything that he was going to leave us, but it was enough to set an example for what young black men should be doing for their community.
AllHipHop: True words spoken. You contemplated not dropping, “Annihilation,” but honestly, I think we are getting so far away from cats respecting the guys before them that in a sense, this is the perfect time for it.
Layzie Bone: Right! I totally agree, bro. I never in a million years would have said, because, Bone sold more records than, NWA, The Ghetto Boys or EPMD or whatever the case may be, whichever great group, I would be like, because we did this, they should kiss our feet. That’s another thing. Sometimes I go soft and cold because I wanted to leave it alone, but once I heard that it’s like, dude is really just letting this money go to his head. This generation… I ain’t going to say the whole generation, but it’s too many folks disrespecting the ones that paved the way, bro and I’ll never ever let anyone disrespect my legacy. I been rapping since I was, 9-years old, bro; 1984. You feel me. I been rapping since 1984 and for somebody to say, Bone- Thugs- N- Harmony didn’t pave the way, and that the hip-hop genre ain’t what it was like they kicked the door in. Nah, we kicked the door in. Eminem kicked the door in to make the genre #1. Dr.Dre, Ice Cube, Scarface, all of these guys. All of my favorite rappers. L.L. Cool J, Biz Markie, Eric B and Rakim. Man, I go back. I been through every fad of hip-hop in the world, so to let disrespect ride on the forefather’s is a no-no, man. We gotta draw a line in the sand somewhere.
AllHipHop: Obviously, we know the definition of annihilation; did you name the record, “Annihilation,” because you feel like this album will set the record straight?
Layzie Bone: Nah, basically because they can’t fuck with us. They tried to put it on some, “Ah, put your money up,” and all that. Man, I been famous for 25-years, bro. my money good, where yo skills at? To me, this is an art and the word play, the way you do your delivery and all of these things count. If you gon speak on being the best, then you gotta prove it.
AllHipHop: I always refer back to an interview I did with, Spice 1 and he said… and I’m paraphrasing, no one who has been famous for 2-years should ever go at someone who has had a fan base for nearly 30-years. And furthermore, Bone did a song with both Tupac and Biggie. I’m sure you echo that sentiment 100%.
Layzie Bone: Man, I echo that sentiment 1,000%, brother. I love, Spice 1 with all my heart. Not only is he a good friend of mine, but when I was in high school, he was dropping “187 He Wrote.” All of these albums, “Amerikkka’s Nightmare” and all these things, I was still in school. I had no idea that I would become famous, but I wanted to be that, so I look up to him like my, OG. So, for him to ride and say the things that he said only just furthers my sentiments of, we can’t let this game be disrespected. We can’t let hip-hop be disrespected because this ain’t a sport. Hip-hop not a sport to where our bones get weak and old and you gotta retire at 40. At 40, you coming into your wisdom. You done experienced so much of life. I feel like I’m smarter than I ever been and I’m better than I ever been, and my word play is better with the more books and the more life experience that I go through. And these niggas gotta make it to this age. Look at, Nip. Nip didn’t make it to 44. God forbid anything happen to these guys. I don’t wish no harm on them, but in a skills competition, if I give anybody credit over me it will be, Krayzie Bone, Bizzy Bone, Flesh N Bone and Wish Bone. You feel me?
AllHipHop: No doubt! I understand, Lay the whole, kiss our feet stuff is foolishness, but do you feel you kind of needed a fire lit under you?
Layzie Bone: Absolutely not. My flame been lit since 1984. But what it did was… well, yes and no. My flame been lit. I’ve been going hard the whole time. I ain’t been signed to a major record label since 2006, so I been independent, so I have left eyeballs, but I got millions and millions of fans that support everything I do all around the world. So, in that sense, no it didn’t light my fire, but it did when you disrespecting, The Sugar Hill Gang and Afrika Bambaataa’s. You disrespecting the ones that, without them I wouldn’t have a career. I thought I was, L.L. Cool J at one point. I was, Eazy-E at one point. And I know for a fact when their C.E.O. was talking about, “Yeah I signed them because it reminded me of, Bone.” My nigga don’t do that. You cannot pull the rug from up under your forefathers. I read this analogy as well, Ben Simmons is a great young player, but he can’t feel like he’s more legendary than, Michael Jordan or LeBron James. If that’s the case, nigga grab the ball and let’s see what it is. But that ain’t what happened, as soon as I said something, somebody told them to be quiet. That’s coward shit.
AllHipHop: You plan on dropping any videos for this album?
Layzie Bone: I plan on doing at least 3-videos for his EP which I think turned into an album. The first video is the title track, “Annihilation.” That’s just me going back to my hood and that’s just letting everybody know that, I can still go back to my hood. I got mad respect. All the dudes that I went to school with still there and they embrace me with open arms because I been good to niggas and niggas been good to me. I been a humble dude the whole time. I never got arrogant and that’s what wrong with the game. The arrogant people taking over because the money is so lucrative now. It’s so abundant now and the endorsements are so big because we open the gates for that and for them and that’s why. So, “Annihilation” is the title video and I’m just coming to show that my roots are set in stone regardless.
AllHipHop: Can we expect a lot of features on this album or is this just you going in?
Layzie Bone: I’m coming to do my own thing, man, but I do got a song with, Bizzy and Flesh. I also got a song with my baby brother, Stew Deez on there. Everything that I’m touching now… my children are… I got a son their age, bro. That’s real talk. My son is in the video. He got music coming out, my daughter got music coming out and my youngest sons who are 15-16, they have albums coming out. My wife is, Felicia, she’s in “It’s All Good.” I got a family affair going on. I got young, Rocky Rock, Big Sloan and Stew Deez. Everybody that I’m representing is family, but 95% of this album is all me.
AllHipHop: Have you picked your favorite track off the album yet?
Layzie Bone: In my opinion it’s one of them ones from start to back. I’m probably leaning towards, “Annihilation” because I spit that flame on there, “If, If Was a Fifth,” with Krayzie and Bizzy and another one of my favorites is, “Buried Alive.” I feel like, why you wanna bury me alive? How you gon put an age limit on me getting my bread, you feel me? Because you came, now I can’t get no money? We can’t co-exist? You wanna bury me before I’m gone. My saying has always been, “It don’t stop till the casket drop.” And that’s real.
AllHipHop: We have grown accustomed to a certain sound from you. What can fans expect from you moving forward?
Layzie Bone: It’s just fresh new ideas. It’s relevant because it’s what’s going on these days. Let me back track, “Mad World” is another favorite. I’m addressing what’s going on these days, but it’s that, “L-Burner #1 Assassin” from the top to the bottom. That’s what you can expect. The hype, Layzie Bone. The one that don’t take no shit; “L-Burner #1 Assassin.”
AllHipHop: Is your approach different in the world of social media and single driven sales?
Layzie Bone: You know, change is inevitable, man so you have to adjust with the times. These days the internet just made it easier for me to be independent. We said this in 1994 that we were going to shut this motherfucker down. Little did I know 20-years later I would have the tool called the internet where it’s really just Bone against the machine. They hadn’t took a chance on us since we had the Interscope deal. Since our Warner Brothers deal really, but that really didn’t do too well because they didn’t know… I don’t think they knew exactly how to market us. Which we had a great situation, but I think it’s all about adjusting to the times and using the tools that come along with it. But this internet is a double- edged sword. It’s the ying and the yang. You got your good and bad, but I’m going to use it on a more positive level. And even with this situation… my plan is to… when I finish this album, by the end of the album and I’m finished checking it out, it’s like, yeah, I’m coming to annihilate but also, I want to teach a lesson. You can’t be the judge that’s God’s job. You can’t put a time limit on a man. You never know what a man destiny is. That’s where I’m at with it.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony and Layzie Bone for the rest of the year?
Layzie Bone: Absolutely my brothers are on the same tear I’m on. You see, Bizzy Bone is doing his thing. He acting a fool on the internet which is a great thing because that boy is so talented. Flesh-N-Bone doing his thing, Krayzie doing his thing and Wish doing his thing. And also, we got about 5 or 6-singles on Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony that we going to drop this year as well. They doing their thing, but on top of, Bones-Thugs-N-Harmony and all of us doing solo stuff, I also got, “Harmony House,” I’m releasing, “Welcome to the House,” which is a compilation of my family. In tradition of my “Mo Thugs” family. So that’s coming this year and then my real solo album is, “Perfect Timing.” ‘Perfect Timing” consists of all grown man music. Music that really speak to the heart because that’s really what I’m about, man. If you go back and listen to my music, I always wrote the shit that touched somebody heart, “Change the World,” and “If I Could Teach.” Those type of songs is what you can expect. So, all this fire I’m coming with, I’m going to simmer down into more of a melodic groove with, “Perfect Timing.” I plan on dropping that by my birthday which is, September 23rd. So, from now, April 19th is, “Annihilation,” somewhere in the middle of there is, “Welcome to the House,” and September 23rd is, “Perfect Timing.” I plan on dropping all that this year independently. Hopefully I can get some partners that want to really back me up, but if not, I got the internet and I got fans. So, I’m good no matter how it goes. I don’t have to sale 6,7 or 8 million records no more. I own everything now. I got my masters. We in the process now of collecting all our masters from, Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony and I own everything that I’m putting out. So, if I sale 100,000, I already made a million dollars. I’m good either way it go. Then I can tour. I also have, “Layzie Gear.” I plan to make a ton of money on that, but you know how people want to stay in your pockets and shit. I got a plan. I got a book of poetry called, “The Ancient Vehicle.” I also have my lyric book which I’m putting out. We have Bone Thugs autobiography book and movie that we working on. It won’t be this year because it’s a big ass production. I’m shouting out King James and Ice Cube. Somebody come tell this fantastic ass story with me. I would prefer one of them guys. It’s unlimited what we can do. We just really getting started.
AllHipHop: The possibilities are unlimited because you guys paved an unlimited road and now there are just different branches springing off of the tree. I love the single, and it’s been a pleasure and an honor speaking to you.
Layzie Bone: Ah man, I just want to say again, man, this thing with, Nipsey Hussle got me, man. That shit hit everybody so hard. I really hope as a people, as a community and for hop-hop, we can pull together and have respect for one another and really control our arena as black men and hip-hop artists for the culture. I’m all with the culture. Those are my hopes and aspirations, but I tolerate no disrespect on no level period. I’m 145 pounds of fury my nigga.