Bone Thugs-n-Harmony have more than paid their dues. After signing with Ruthless Records in the early 1990s, the group catapulted to stardom with their critically acclaimed album, E. 1999 Eternal. The project introduced a new style of rap, one that incorporated harmonies into their reflective rhymes. The five members of the group—Krayzie Bone, Layzie Bone, Bizzy Bone, Wish Bone and Flesh-n-Bone—are now lauded, veteran MCs who continue to tour the world with their music.
On August 11—the official 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop—Bone Thugs will return to their hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, where the intersection of E. 99th Street and St. Clair Avenue will be renamed “Bone Thugs-n-Harmony Way.” The street-naming ceremony is expected to be followed by a performance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The following day (August 12) Bone Thugs will hit the stage during the Glenville Festival at Sam Miller Park before joining LL COOL J’s The F.O.R.C.E. Tour at the Rocket Mortgage Field House.
It’s a full circle moment for Bone Thugs, who used to find themselves in nothing but trouble on those same streets. Despite Hip-Hop’s rise to dominance over the last 50 years, Krayzie Bone still thinks there’s a ways to go when it comes to respect. Case in point. In 2016, Lil Yachty made headlines when he couldn’t name five 2Pac or Biggie’s songs, something he admittedly didn’t care to know. He later called Biggie “overrated.” Many people took his comments as a sign of disrespect and a clear indication a lot of young rappers don’t do their due diligence when it comes to studying Hip-Hop history.
“With Hip-Hop, I’ve been blessed to be here,” Krayzie tells AllHipHop. “To be here at the beginning, to watch and see every phase that it’s went through, I’m excited to see what the next 50 years is going to bring. Hip-Hop is definitely here to stay as a music genre, but it’s still so young.
“I just want to see Hip-Hop mature and be more kind and respectful to the artists that carry this genre. I want to see a balance between artists and corporations. It’s still young, but it needs to mature a lot. We need to realize and understand how to treat all legends like other genres of music.”
And Krayzie has a point. Rock legends like the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger, The Beatles’ Paul McCartney and Sting of The Police are essentially revered as gods, while the elder statesmen of Hip-Hop are often dismissed as “washed” or “old.”
“I understand Hip-Hop is like a competitive sport,” he continues. “But so is football, and I don’t know one running back who don’t pay homage to Jim Brown, the greatest of all time. Or a boxer who doesn’t pay homage to Mohammad Ali. That’s what Hip-Hop needs to be. At some point, it will get there, but it needs right leadership.”
“Right now, Hip-Hop has had 50 years to run wild. Now it’s time to start getting some structure to it. It’s time to start creating genres within genres. Why can’t we have Hip-Hop as one genre and rap music as another? Hip-Hop and rap is not the same. It needs to be broken down like that in categories just like you have R&B, you got soul/R&B. You got all these different forms of Hip-Hop. It can be the same in Hip-Hop. You don’t have to put everything in one category.”