Written by: Melody Charles
Two American Music Awards, One Grammy Award, millions in CD sales and nearly 20 years in the hip-hop industry: for the men of Bone Thugz N Harmony, their success as taste-makers and performers has surpassed their wildest dreams, but as far as Wish Bone is concerned, he and Krayzie, Layzie, Flesh and Bizzy have miles to go before they sleep.
Huge demand from their 2013 performances has the quintet criss-crossing from city-to-city in a nearly non-stop blitz from one end to the other in the Lone Star State (kicking off at Dallas’ Trees on Feb 13), but that didn’t keep him from updating fans on what’s new with Bone Thugz N Harmony, the eternal relevance of the late Eazy-E what he wants aspiring rappers to know and how he really felt about the dubious Macklemore sweep at last month’s Grammy Awards.
KNOWSHI: It was great to see you guys all united and performing in sync a few weeks ago on the Arsenio Hall show. What made everyone get past the dysfunction that once fractured the group?
WISH BONE (WB) – “At this point, to keep it 100, this is what we know and we love to do it. We’re grown men with families, this is how we eat and how we survive, so we take it real serious. All that beefin’ stuff is for kids and we understand that now.”
KNOWSHI: Was it the fans who helped to get to that point or….?
WB – “It was a combination of everything. Like I always said, for us to still be here is by the grace of God and proof that we still have a mission that we have not completed yet. Hopefully we won’t be done for no time soon (laughs), we were young when we got in the game and we still look young, it’s not like we’re out here looking like Redd Foxx and hanging on to hair lines that should’ve been gone already, know what I mean?”
KNOWSHI: I enjoyed the “Keep It 100” song you all performed, when is the new CD coming out?
WB – “Until we find the right [distribution] situation for it, there isn’t a date yet. We’re just concentrating on songs. The Art of War: WWIII CD out now is a collection of songs that didn’t make the other albums we had out. We can’t sit on it forever in the studio you know, we gotta do something with it and let the music get some shine.”
KNOWSHI: Okay, I feel you on that. I wanted to ask you about that Rock The Bells 2013 performance that you all did with the hologram of your late mentor and NWA co-founder, Eazy-E. Is that concept something you’ll be revisiting while on the road? What was that like?
WB – “Eazy-E was our mentor, so we feel it was him that helped us to be have our success in the first place. Being on-stage with E in any form or fashion is all good with me, so it could happen again.”
KNOWSHI: Why do you think NWA hasn’t been nominated for a Hall of Fame slot by now, considering their influence as individuals and as a whole on the entire genre of hip-hop?
WB – “Eventually it’s gotta happen, or it wouldn’t be right. I think a lot of people shy away from the NWA / Eazy-E legacy because they’re still looking at how he died in a bad way [of AIDS complications in 1995], as if that really matters. He’s still a legend, bottom line, and everything will start falling into place once people start recognizing that fact.”
KNOWSHI: What are some of the lessons that Eazy taught that still stick with you all today?
WB – “(chuckles) I’ve only been married once so I’m good on the women part, but Eazy always warned us about the baby mama drama and always said ‘watch your money.’ He had to clean up his own image after NWA broke up seeing that they made him out to be the one doing wrong as far as the money goes, so he always kept us up on that. We all made some mistakes with the money, being young and all…it is what it is. He definitely steered us in the right direction, but as a person, it’s up to you what you carry out from day to day.”
KNOWSHI: How does it feel to be legends in the game and back in the day, when you first started, was it hard to stand out with the half-rhyming and half harmony blend of rap you all do?
WB – “It was hard because it was different, anything that people aren’t used to will make it more difficult until you understand it, that’s just the way life is. But we knew we had something special and didn’t give up because we didn’t want to be like what was already out there. It was time for a change, we just came in at the right time with the right momentum and everything fell into place perfectly for us. Now you can’t turn on the radio without hearing something that was influenced by us, in McDonald’s commercials, everywhere.”
KNOWSHI: How did you feel about the Macklemore sweep at the Grammys for wins in the hip-hop category?
WB – “It’s letting you know that in the end, it isn’t our world, you know? We can be as creative as we want to, but eventually [the establishment] is going to take it over and make it their own. I’m glad to be a part of the music business still, don’t get me wrong, but everybody’s got different goals and it is what it is, we’ve just got to take the awards for what they are and keep it moving.”
KNOWSHI: Any advice for hip-hoppers that want to follow in your footsteps?
WB – “I would first and foremost tell them that I love music and that the industry has been good to me, don’t get me wrong, but we need more doctors and lawyers and people in power that can benefit us as a whole than we do more rappers. Keep hip-hop as a hobby and a plan b, a lot of people end up wasting a lot of time and years doing what should’ve been just a hobby instead of other things that could’ve already been helping us in a whole different way.”
KNOWSHI: I heard that Wish. Well, thanks for the chat and for always being so down-to-earth with us fans, we love you guys for that.
WB – “(laughs) Good looking out, we appreciate it—it’s just real common sense, if it weren’t for your fans, where would you be? You’d be just be out there wishing someone wanted your picture or your autograph.”