Krayzie Bone: We’re all on the road right now. We’re on a little tour right now. I think most of us are just getting up to start the day. We’re good. It’s crazy out here. But on an off day if we can get a little rest, that’s dope.
You guys just shot a movie titled I Tried. What was that like for you guys?
Layzie Bone: Oh, man, it was a great experience. It was something that we never did and always wanted to do. It was a great, great experience.
The plot of I Tried centers on what would have become of you guys if you had gone out to California and had never linked up with Eazy E and had a successful career in hip-hop. Why did you want to tell that story?
Wish Bone: We always wanted to get into the movies just to expand our careers. The theme of the story is: What if we did everything we did up until the point where we met Eazy E and we never met him? What would have happened if we had started our lives over in L.A?
Krazyie Bone: And then there was always the question; people always asked what would have happened if we had never made it in the game. That’s a real question that has come up. We basically wanted to tell the Bone Thugs N Harmony story but the timing isn’t right for that. We wanted to do a film about “what if we didn’t meet Eazy E?” That’s how I Tried came about because we’re really climbing up for the real Bone Thugs story.
A lot of famous rappers say that if they didn’t make it in music, they would either be dead or in jail. Do you guys feel that same way?
Layzie Bone: Me, personally, I don’t think the nine-to-five would have worked out because the way our lives were going, we were living in the streets and selling drugs. There was the possibility that we could be dead or in jail. We were trying to do different things but our options were grim like that. We didn’t have too many options. We had already dropped out of school. We were really trying to live and eat and selling drugs was fast money. Plus it was crazy because we were living in Cleveland. Cleveland is the poorest city in the nation. There aren’t too many opportunities out there. We had to leave Cleveland or else.
This is the first Bone Thugs movie that you guys have done. How was it acting in I Tried?
Layzie Bone: Oh, man, basically it came naturally. From doing our videos and other sutff that we have done, we didn’t go to school for things like that. It was really like a natural thing because we’ve been doing videos for so long. It was just inevitable that we were finally doing movies.
How far do you guys want to take acting?
Wish Bone: I plan on really dedicating myself for the next couple of years just to acting. I’m looking forward to my acting career.
What are your goals for the I Tried film?
Layzie Bone: We want it to do well and expand our acting. We’re just happy to do the movie and we’re happy to get it out there and we hope that everybody enjoys it. And hopefully we get a lot more offers from that movie. This was really our first time acting on our own. The goal is to get a whole bunch more gigs.
When you guys wrote the song “I Tried,” did you have the idea for the movie in mind?
Krayzie Bone: As soon as we got the track…I wasn’t even in the studio when Layzie and Wish first recorded the song. But I heard the track over the phone and when I heard the beat, I automatically knew what the beat was telling us to do. That was the one. The concept just came from the way that we felt about the beat. The track gave us a serious vibe. The song just kind of came about as we went along.
Just how powerful is the song “I Tried”?
Wish Bone: The song is real powerful because people try every day to make their lives better. It’s very believable.
What kind of feedback have you gotten from fans for “I Tried”?
Krayzie Bone: All the time, fans tell us how much that song means to them. We’re on tour now and fans approach us every night. One thing our fans always say is that our music helped them through a lot of hard times. If you listen to the verses, you can tell that it’s not fiction and that we’re really telling it how it is. We’re telling about our lives and the obstacles that we had to overcome. “I Tried” relates to the world. It’s so real. Anybody that’s trying to do something positive with their life can really feel it.
Do the props that people give you for songs like “I Tried” mean more to you than album sales?
Layzie Bone: Yeah, man. That means way more to me, personally, than the record sales because that lets us know that we can touch somebody’s life and change somebody’s life in a positive way. That’s a beautiful thing. Record sales are good, don’t get me wrong. We need to make money so that we can live, but if you can help somebody with your words, that’s a beautiful thing. That’s the ultimate rush that you can get. We chose rapping in our lives and if you can touch somebody, that’s the icing on the cake.
Did “I Tried” go as far as you wanted it to?
Krayzie Bone: I feel like it could have went further, but, man, it did what it was going to do. We were coming from the heart so whatever it does, it’s going to do. When we made “Crossroads,” we weren’t trying to make a No. 1 hit. We just did what we did. That’s how we go into the studio to make our music. We like to have hits, but we’re not concentrating on making a hit. We’re concentrating on getting a message out and getting stuff off our chest and just expressing ourselves.
Are you happy with how your newest album Strength and Loyalty has done so far?
Wish Bone: The way the music game is right now with record sales and things like that, it ain’t like it used to be five or ten years ago. Whatever we’re doing is definitely a blessing and we’re happy to still be relevant at this time. So we think it’s very good.
Krayzie Bone: I think that it could have done better than it did. If we had been able to put certain songs on there…There were certain issues we had with the representation that we had. There were a couple of songs that didn’t go on the album that we wanted to go on the album that I think would have made a real big difference. But we put what we did on there and it did what it did. And really, it’s still doing the thing. It’s really too early in the game right now to judge how that album did. It’s still a new album. It’s still got potential. We’ll see what the next video does for us.
Where does Strength and Loyalty stand in the collection of Bone Thugs albums?
Krayzie Bone: I think it’s a great album and I think the title of it is really what the focus is on. We’ve been doing this for 20-plus years now and the title ‘Strength and Loyalty’ means a lot because we’ve been through a lot. The title says it all. We’ve remained in the game this long. Most people don’t have a 13 or 14 year career. We’re really showing our strength and staying loyal to each other and to what we love, which is music. That title right there says a lot about our career.
You guys have already mentioned this, but the game is changing with how fans listen and purchase music today. How is Bone Thugs adapting to the changing game?
Wish Bone: We’re building up our websites and just adapting to the computer age. We’ll be releasing music online. That’s really the best avenue. We’re really trying to get into the position where Bone Thugs N Harmony is like Interscope. That’s what we’re trying to do online. We have different websites. We’re really just looking and adjusting with the game, man.
What’s the next move for Bone Thugs N Harmony?
Krayzie Bone: Our next move is to do what we’ve been blessed to do – keep reaching people, our fans and new fans with good music and meaningful music.
Layzie Bone: You’re going to see a lot of business coming from Bone Thugs. We have a lot of projects and a lot of things that we’re working on. We’re trying to launch Bone Thugs Records and Thugline Records. We’re trying to do the clothing thing and the acting thing. We’re trying to make Bone Thugs a full-fledged business. We’re just getting more into the business and working on building an empire.
How are your solo projects coming?
Krayzie Bone: We’re always in the studio working. We’re also getting ready to start working on the next Bone album as well. Layzie’s working on an album and Wish Bone is working on his first solo album. Plus we’re working on artists that are under our label. That’s going to be coming real soon, man.
Wish Bone: That’s really the main focus right now. Bone Thugs N Harmony is good. We’ve established ourselves. Now what we’re trying to do is establish other acts in the business so that we can grow our companies.
How closely are you guys working with Swizz Beatz on the new album?
Krayzie Bone: Oh, man, we plan on working with Swizz for the rest of our careers. The business that we do with Swizz is very good and very prosperous. We really want to continue that for life if we can.
What advice would you offer to up-and-coming artists?
Krayzie Bone: Always watch your paperwork and keep your options open because the music business isn’t for everybody. That’s real talk.
What do you want to say to everybody?
Layzie Bone: We would like to thank everybody for supporting Bone Thugs N Harmony. We’re going to continue to bring new music to the table and we’re not going to ever stop doing what we’re doing. It’s a lifelong grind, man.
Bone Thugs N Harmony’s first-ever film I Tried is in stores on September 25.