Interview with Krayzie Bone
I’m great, man. I’m just chilling right now.
How was it working with Swizz Beatz on Strength and Loyalty?
It went real good. We started working with Swizz almost two years ago. It’s been a real good experience. We’ve also been able to work with other producers through Swizz so it worked out real good for us.
How did the Bone Thugs N Harmony sound change through working with Swizz?
We don’t have to change. The times change with us. Our style is out there now in almost everybody that’s out there. It wasn’t nothing for us to come out with Swizz. All we had to do was get with current producers and then we found that our style already matched most of these current producers already.
How does Strength and Loyalty stand against the other Bone records?
These are new times now. We’re basically giving the audience something new and different. It’s definitely a different Bone Thugs. Right now we have two members that aren’t with it. We had to get real creative with it. We definitely pulled it off. We got some guest appearances and all kinds of stuff like that.
When you’re making new music, are your classic songs always in the back of your mind?
I probably only think about our older albums when I’m listening to them to see how they were put together. That’s the only time I really think about the old albums. I don’t go back and try to recapture those sounds. We try to come up with everything new.
What are your goals for Strength and Loyalty?
To let everybody know that we’re still out there and that we didn’t break up. We’re going to show a lot of the critics that we’re still here. There are still going to be a lot of people talking shit, but you can’t please everybody.
After all that Bone Thugs N Harmony has accomplished in music, why would you still have doubters?
I guess they’re just not used to seeing us without all the members there. People were really attached to Bone Thugs N Harmony and I think if any one of the members wasn’t there, they would be feeling the same. It’s just a hump that we had to get over. We have to take our fans over the hump with us so they can see the same things we see.
Have you ever felt like Bone Thugs as a group or yourself as an artist was falling off?
We’ve had some setbacks. I wouldn’t say we ever “fell off,” because if we fell off, we wouldn’t have been able to come back. This game is real hard to come back in once you fall off. We’ve had some setbacks but we’ve been able to get back on the right track.
You have a verse from Flesh N Bone on “Into the Future.” What does that mean to you?
That was real cool to get that. We haven’t had anything from Flesh come out in years because he’s been locked up. We stumbled across that verse and we put it on the album. It sounds like he just wrote it. That was real good. It was a blessing to find that.
Did you structure the rest of the song around that verse?
Yep. We did the whole song and the beat around that verse. He definitely inspires us.
How’s Flesh N Bone doing?
He’s all right. Hopefully he’ll be coming home next year around this time. His attitude is real positive. We’re ready for him to come home.
How did the recording process change on Strength and Loyalty without Bizzy Bone?
It was the same. What people don’t know is that we always went in the studio and did the album before Bizzy came to the studio because Bizzy always had some kind of issue, whether it was with himself, us or the record company. He never came to the studio when it was time to start recording the album. We would always start recording the album and then he would come in and do what he did and disappear. This time we knew he wouldn’t be there so there were times when we put a guest appearance on instead. It was cool.
How important are songs like “I Tried” to you as an artist?
It’s real important to me because all of the stuff that we talk about is real. That’s stuff that we actually go through and that’s how we express it and get it off our chest. It’s not like we’re just going in and trying to make a serious-ass song. It’s always important to keep the realness when you make an album and we’ve been doing it this far.
You also got Akon on “Never Forget Me.” How important is it to still make Bone Thugs music that your longtime fans can enjoy while still introducing your music to the next generation?
It’s very important to catch that new audience. That’s why we chose to have guest appearances on this album. We’ve never really done that. The only person who’s actually ever been on a Bone album was 2Pac. We were on Biggie’s album. The only other artists we ever really had featured were Eazy-E and 2Pac. It was something different doing it like this. We knew it would attract an audience because it was something that we had never done before. We knew that we had to have guest appearances on this album because it’s something that we had never done. We have five albums with no guest appearances at all.
When we were first coming out, our audience was young and we were talking about the same subjects and making the same type of music on another level. We know the young kids are still going to like it because it’s melodic and it’s something they can sing along to. The bottom line is that it’s still good music.
I know you and Bow Wow are from the same state, but why is he on the album?
We actually had Mariah on the album and Mariah brought in Bow Wow. For whatever reason, she brought Bow Wow in. The song sounded cool and he was happy to get on the song. That’s how it went down. I know people are going to be like, ‘Bone and Bow Wow?’ It’s definitely something I never would have thought of, but I heard the song and it’s cool. My kids like it. And it’s like you said, getting the younger audience.
Are there any better technical rappers in the game right now than you guys?
I know I can say that there are no other rappers in the game that can do it like we do it. Everybody has their own style and they’re good at what they do. I know for a fact that can’t nobody do it like we do it.
You’ve been able to see the independent and major label scene. What do you like better?
It’s kind of hard to say. Both of them have been cool experiences, but what I would like better is to be running my own label, bottom line. I’m not going to be happy in the game until I’m signed to my own label and making money off myself.
How’s that coming?
I’m working on Thugline Records. That’s to go along with the Bone Thugs album.
You’ve also been able to drop three solo albums. How important have they been?
It’s always important to do those because sometimes you have ideas that not everybody is feeling. Also sometimes it takes too long to put together a group album. When you do a solo album you can basically do whatever you want to do and any type of song. You don’t have to worry about it.
Does Bone Thugs N Harmony get the respect it deserves?
We know for a fact that the game doesn’t respect everything we’ve done. But I’ve been asked that so many times that I’m at the point where I’m not even stressing it. I know what we’ve done in the game and when people go back in the game and see who made it popular to flow like we do, you’re going to be hearing about Bone Thugs N Harmony. That’s why I’m not running around mad like I should have won an award. As long as people hear my music and as long as people come up to me and tell me that they were thinking about committing suicide and one of our songs saved their life, then that’s better than anybody telling me, “Y’all did this in hip-hop and you’re legends.” That really doesn’t mean anything to me.
Is the type of fan that’s going through issues and in the struggle your target fan?
Yeah. Just because people are our fans, it doesn’t mean they don’t have problems like we do. That’s why they relate to us. They have been through problems and they can relate to us and see where we’re coming from. We make music for the poor, struggling people. We don’t make it for the industry. We make struggle music. We’re not on that bling-bling and having 27 cars and rims and all that shit. We’re older now. That shit is for young kids.
How involved are you in the Cleveland scene today?
I have a lot of things going on in Cleveland right now. I’m working on my label and I’m working with artists out of Cleveland, trying to get the whole Midwest scene bumping. You have the East, the West and the South, but it’s time for that Midwest invasion. We’re trying to pull together all the Midwest artists like Twista, Nelly and Kanye. We’re going to start the movement and we’re going to get it bumping how it’s supposed to be bumping.
Have you started working on your next solo record?
Right now I’ve been concentrating on my record label. I’ve been in the studio with my artists and getting their projects together. I have four artists right now and I’m working with them and making sure they’re coming with some hot material. I’m concentrating on putting two artists out at a time. I’ve also been working on my fourth solo album in the making of all this. I dib and dab here and there with my solo and working with my artists, but I’m constantly working. I’ve been working on these projects before we finished the Bone Thugs album. I’ve been staying on the grind. My goal for the next couple of years is to have my label, Thugline, everywhere and have successful artists coming from my town.
What do you have to do to make sure Strength and Loyalty is successful?
We have to just get behind it and get that buzz up. We have to promote that product and hit the block, hit the road and do everything that we have to do. That’s something that we’ve always been good at. We’ve always been good at doing the legwork when the company didn’t want to get behind us. This should be a real good thing.
What advice do you have for up-and-coming artists?
The best thing I can tell you is to know your business. I know everybody says the same thing now, but it’s kind of hard to tell people who don’t have any money not to sign anything. But know your business. Experience is the best teacher. If you don’t know your business before you get into this game, then after your first record contract, you will know it very much.
What do you want to say to everybody?
I just want to tell everybody to make sure you understand and get that new Bone album Strength and Loyalty. We thank y’all for staying with us through our ups and downs and for understanding what we’ve been going through. You’re definitely going to be satisfied with what we release. We have a movie coming out titled I Tried and we have Bone Thugs watches coming out. They’re not going to be $15,000. We’re making these for the people in the struggle. It’s all love and we’ll always give you good music from the heart.