It’s a resume' that trumps most of Hip-Hop’s heaviest hitters: two Grammy Awards, multiple American Music Awards, over 40 million records sold worldwide, and a loyal fanbase only the game’s elite can dream of. By now, Anthony “Krayzie Bone” Henderson should be sitting back and enjoying the fruits of his labor, but instead, the Bone Thugs N Harmony frontman is still fighting for a way to write the perfect final chapter to his storied career.
With a spot on the coveted "Rock the Bells" lineup card secured, and a much anticipated solo album on the way, the ball is firmly in his court.
In this AllHipHop.com exclusive, the silent assassin of Bone Thugs made it clear he’s doing things his way, and making sure he bows out of the rap game on his own terms:
AllHipHop.com: First order of business for anyone outside of your immediate fanbase, you had a big announcement recently regarding your solo project. For anyone who missed it, what was that announcement?
Krayzie Bone: Well, man, it was basically the announcement of this album that I’ve been working on, Chasing The Devil, is going to be a double CD, and I’m going to release the first one for free digital download. Just to give something back to the fans. I actually forgot to mention that it is going to be a double CD when I made the announcement, so I’m clearing that up now so everybody knows it’s going to be a double CD, and the first CD is going to be released for free digitally. However, I am going to have the whole double CD album available for physical purchase if people would like to do so. The full-set hard copy of the album is going to include a massive package with a DVD, t-shirt, hat, you know, all kinds of stuff I’m giving. So it’s going to be a nice collector’s item.
AllHipHop.com: Why did you decide to go with a double album and go this route with releasing it?
Krayzie Bone: Well, for one, I wanted to give something back to the fans, just all the hardcore fans that have really been following us the whole time we’ve been out. We have a very strong core fanbase who have been following us, and have dealt with us through all the thick and thin, breakups and makeups, and they’ve been around the whole time. So just to show my appreciation for all the love that they’ve shown us. I had to give back to them.
AllHipHop.com: Now you’re doing this completely independent now?
Krayzie Bone: Well, the most I want to say on the business end is I’m going non-traditional. It’s not going to be like the regular, you know, Sony Records, or a record label like that. I have many different brands, huge brands, who are interested in partnering up with me for the release of this album. Nowadays, you can go do a music deal with Nike or Yahoo, you know what I’m sayin, because everybody is getting into music now. So it’s like, those are all non-traditional ways or routes that a person can go, and something that I’ve been introduced to by some of my business associates. We have several partners of that stature interested in partnering up, so that may be the route I go, something non-traditional.
AllHipHop.com: You’ve talked about it before, and you’ve always had that Catch-22, you have a certain part of your fanbase who like “Mo’ Murda” stuff and this and that. How would you describe this upcoming album in terms of content, if you had to compare it to something you’ve done?
Krayzie Bone: Man, I would say it’s like a [Thug Mentality 1999] on steroids. I’ve mixed it up, dealing with stuff that I deal with in the industry, yeah, of course I wake up sometimes and I feel like going to get the SK and just sprayin’ everybody. You know what I’m sayin’? And I talk about that on the album. Then there are those laid-back songs, like the original Bone sound. Then I’m doing the quick flow on a lot of songs on this album. And then, there are the songs where I have the real serious messages, spiritual songs, and just everything. I’m giving everybody a piece of my last 20 years in the business.
AllHipHop.com: Like you’ve said, you’re doing this non-traditional, you don’t have the record label, there’s not all the BS. In terms of standing behind this project, do you think this is your best solo project? And if so, why?
Krayzie Bone: I feel like it’s some of my best work. Because every day I go in the studio I get better and better. So this is some of my best work, and I stand behind it 100 percent and saying that I think it’s going to be a very good album, and I really think the fans are going to appreciate it and love the music selections and the content. I think they’re going to really get into it.
AllHipHop.com: Your entire story and the reason you have your fanbase is tied to four other guys, which makes up Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. The last time we spoke, I can’t remember a time when things were in a worse situation with the group. Where are you guys at now in terms of Bone?
Krayzie Bone: Well, man, personally, we’re all cool. Everything is calm right now as far as personally. Everybody’s been speaking to each other. We’re gearin’ up to do Rock The Bells; it’s coming up soon, so we’ve been talking more and more these past few months. I was actually in the studio with Flesh last night. I think everybody has come to a point where they understand that we’re all grown now, and it’s not going to be the same that it was back in ’94 or ’95 when we came out. We’re all grown men, and things never stay the same. I mean, it’s a reality, and people hate to face it. I hate to face it sometimes, too, but Bone Thugs-N-Harmony will never be the same Bone Thugs-N-Harmony we was at that time. Personally.
Now as far as doing business, we have been talking. We’re all aware that next year marks the official 20th year anniversary of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony being in the business. That’s one of the reasons Rock The Bells wanted to have us as special guests, because they’re like, 'Twenty years in the business, and it’s like y’all music is just starting to get notarized now.' So hopefully we can come together, do a lot of things in regards to our 20 years in the game.
Now don’t quote me on this, but we’re looking to maybe put out an album, a 20th year anniversary album. And, hopefully, if all goes well, we’re looking to do a world tour, which is something that Bone Thugs-N-Harmony has never done as all five members. We’re looking to really solidify our brand, the Bone Thugs-N-Harmony brand, in the music business for what it is. We’re living legends.
And I think right now we’re living in the era of music where these up-and-coming artists are just now starting to realize and give us our just dues. All these young cats coming up saying they grew up on Bone. I think now we’re in that generation where we’re going to start hearing that more and more. Because, I mean, we raised a lot of these dudes in the game, and it is what it is. We can feel that their music had a heavy Bone influence, and we just appreciate to be alive and well, healthy, and still be around to enjoy that.
AllHipHop.com: So what’s the main thing you think needs to happen for you guys to come together and make all that happen?
Krayzie Bone: Well, for one, I think we need to come together and structure an all-star team. Going back to preparing to be an artist, you can be a business man and be an artist, but when you’re in artist mode you really can’t do everything. So we all have to come to an agreement as to who we’re going to have represent Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. We’ve been through many managers and many people who have represented Bone, and for some reason or another, it didn’t work out.
So we all have to come together and agree on business. Creativity and the music, that has never been a problem amongst our group. Everybody pretty much knows their positions when it comes to making the music. We have to come together on the business aspect of everything, and put somebody in place that we trust. Not saying that we have to put everything is this person’s hands, because we’re all grown men, and we can all definitely be checkin’ on our business on the regular, but we have to have that neutral person.
We have to have somebody that’s going to bat for us and speaking for us, and it has to be a team structure because it takes a lot to deal with five different personalities in a group. So it has to be somebody who is able to maintain under pressure and deal with it all, because it can get hectic just dealing with the different personalities. So I think that’s the major problem, is structuring a business team.
AllHipHop.com: Is there a common belief now, as you get into Rock The Bells and this 20th year anniversary, that this is your last chance as a group to carve out that final chapter in the legacy as a group?
Krayzie Bone: You could say so. This is definitely an honor and a blessing for people to even still be checking for us after 20 years. That goes to say that our music and the foundations that we’ve laid down are so strong that people still believe in Bone. Even the people that’s running this Rock The Bells show, they’re all huge Bone fans. And we’ve talked to them all, and they’ve let us know how much of an honor it is for us to even be on the show. So we have an opportunity to let everybody know why they chose us to be the special guests, and just bring back in everybody’s memory who we are, what we stand for, and why we’re considered legends. So I think it’s very important that we come out on the winning end of this situation in order for us to further our brand and solidify who we are in this business.
AllHipHop.com: There has been a lot of turmoil, and in terms of your fanbase, it seems that people are doubting you guys a little more. Why should people not doubt Krayzie Bone right now?
Krayzie Bone: Man, because the music speaks for itself. With the whole UNI5 thing, like I told people, we wanted way more songs on the album that would have balanced it out. To me, it’s hard to get behind a concept and really express the concept when you’re limited to putting certain amount of songs on there. We’ve always came out with albums that had like 17 to 20-something songs on the album.
There were songs that should have been on the album that wasn’t on the album, but like I said, being signed to a major label we were restricted, and at the end of the day the label had the last say-so. So it’s like, that’s why I’m not so much in a hurry to rush and sign with a major label, or sign with anybody really. I’ve been really enjoying my freedom. I’m doing what I want to do, when I want to do it, and how I want to do it. So that plays a major part in a person’s creativity. And I think just from the music that I’ve been putting out after that, people understand what it is with my music. When I have the time and the freedom to do what I want to do, it’s going to be a great project.