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Interview: Krayzie Bone Says a Final bone thugs-n-harmony Album is on the Horizon, Recalls Three 6 Mafia Beef

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Words by Paul Meara (@PaulMeara)

The final hurrah. The last leg. The 70th star in Mario 64. That’s what Krayzie Bone is on right now when it comes to music. The Cleveland native and bone thugs-n-harmony member is in his last chapter as a solo artist. You see, Krayzie is over two decades deep in the rap game and has decided that his forthcoming individual effort, Chasing The Devil would be his last go around in the studio.

Slated for a March 1 release, Krazie Bone’s latest melodic look into his life is perhaps the perfect tool to bring things full circle in his career. Chasing The Devil is a project that has been in the making for years. Its reflective and self-cleansing nature is the perfect tonic for a career that began battling demons. After all, B.O.N.E. was on quite the horrocore tip early on, often alluding to the other side of reality.

“I would say it has the usual dark, eerie B.O.N.E. feel to it but it’s a lot of storytelling,” Krayzie says describing Chasing The Devil. “The majority of the album is telling the story of what I’ve seen, being a part of the business, things that I’ve experienced myself and what other people have gone through. It’s kind of like a movie. It all comes together from the beginning to the end.” This isn’t the real end for Krayzie though. It may be the 70th star but remember; you have to collect 120 in order to officially beat the mid-90s Nintendo classic. Television and music management are what’s next for Krazie Bone and he’s already a few years ahead.

Collaborating with Producer Craig Thomas, Krazie’s first T.V. creation is already being shopped to the likes of FX, Showtime, Cinemax, HBO, and Netflix and has already recorded a pilot for season 1. Backstage details the struggles, successes and realities of the music business behind closed doors from the perspective of four up-and-coming emcees. According to Thomas, the two are looking to ink a deal within the next few months.

“We decided to shoot a pilot ourselves and we casted four rappers out of St. Louis and trained them to be actors,” Thomas said when asked about the show. “[Backstage depicts] the struggle of going back to St. Louis and having that one foot out, one foot in type-situation and dealing with the things that really go on once you sign a record deal.”

Nah Right’s own Ohio native recently spoke with Krayzie Bone about his most recent endeavors, including Chasing The Devil and Backstage. During the process Krayzie unearthed the possibility of a final bone thugs-n-harmony album and recalled the group’s infamous beef with Three 6 Mafia.

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How did you two come together for Backstage and what made you want to put this show together?

Basically, I was working with [my publicist] Abesi and she put me in contact with Craig because he was already doing his thing with movies and shows and stuff and she introduced us one time in St. Louis. We were kicking back-and-fourth ideas about different projects he wanted me to be involved with and we just got to talking. I told him about some of the ideas I had. I told him about Backstage and he was like, “We should do that right now! ASAP!” We started putting everything together and we made it happen.

Are some of the differences between how hip-hop artists get recognition now as opposed to the past reflected in this new television show?

Most definitely. It definitely is a transition coming from the streets and evolving especially when all you know is the streets. Where I got the idea from was the transition into the business and once we made that transition, it was [based] on how hard it was to maintain in the business. It’s like a culture shock. I’m expressing that but at the same time educating aspiring artists and teaching them about the business and everything that goes on in the industry. There’s a lot that people don’t know what happens behind closed doors. And that’s why we call it Backstage.

What made you want to be an actor and be involved in film and television?

Acting to me is like a different kind of expression. It’s like in my music, I’m not necessarily talking about me all the time. I put myself in places and certain situations I’ve seen and I played the role of different people on the album. I feel like the acting and stuff like that is basically the same so it wasn’t really a hard transition. It’s very different but it wasn’t a hard transition to me.

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Chasing The Devil is your next musical effort and I remember you telling me about that a while back. At that time it was your main musical focus. How excited are you for fans to hear this one?

I’m very excited. I think the fans are going to be very happy with it. They’re anxiously anticipating it and I think they’re going to be pleased with it. I really didn’t want to put it out until it was the way I wanted it. Being that it’s one of my last solo projects I wanted it to be the way I want to do it because I really have never done an album the way I wanted to do it since my first solo album. I didn’t have any distractions from my record label, rushing me, trying to get me to put it out when they wanted it. I’ve had time to gather all the information I want to talk about and put on this album.

What kind of sound or direction did you take on this one? Is it kind of the more traditional Krayzie or something a little different because I know it has to do with you opening up about your life to some extent…

I would say it has the usual dark, eerie B.O.N.E. feel to it but it’s a lot of storytelling. The majority of the album is telling the story of what I’ve seen, being a part of the business, things that I’ve experienced myself and what other people have gone through. It’s kind of like a movie. It all comes together from the beginning to the end.

This is going to be your final solo studio album. What made you say, “Hey, this is enough for me?”

I’m always making music but I just feel like there’s so many other things I could be doing and getting into as far as other aspects of the business. There’s other avenues I want to travel–being a director and film writer is one. I’ve actually been doing that for years, I was just so up into the music I never really pursued it but now I’m getting older and I’ve found myself wanting to do other things.

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You mention the business aspect, Steve Lobel was someone who managed B.O.N.E. for a long time and has been involved in your career off and on over the last decade. Is he someone you’ve maybe looked up to as far as handling business is concerned and is that the sort of way you’d want to be involved in hip-hop post artistry?

Well yeah, I look up to everybody, all the business people I’ve came across over the years like Big Jon and all the executives I’ve worked with and all the great managers I’ve seen. I definitely have the knowledge to do things like that so it’s like I constantly sit back and look at the game from a different aspect as opposed to looking at it from an artist’s standpoint.

A$AP Yams, as you know, passed away over a month ago. You along with B.O.N.E. had an opportunity to work with Rocky and the rest of the Mob. You were also featured on A$AP Ferg’s track “Lord.” Tell us about him a little bit and what his passing means to you.

It was a shock to me. When I met those dudes they told us and he told us basically that they designed their whole, like how we’re Krayzie Bone, Layzie Bone, “We designed our whole [crew around yours].” A$AP Rocky put me on the phone with his mom and his mom was like a huge fan so I knew it ran deep with them. We really clicked with them and vibed with them. They’re just a bunch of young cats coming up that we inspired and they appreciate the art. What [Yams] put together was amazing and they’re definitely on the rise. His loss was a great loss to hip-hop because he had a great vision, a real great vision.

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We talked about Chasing The Devil being your last solo studio album but is there a possibly of another bone thugs-n-harmony album on the horizon? I ask not just as a journalist but also as a fan and an Ohio native/resident.

Oh yeah, we definitely going to have another, probably a closure album that we thinking about doing with this 20th year anniversary album that we working on now. That’ll probably be the last B.O.N.E. album. Like I said we’re going to still drop singles and songs here and there.

As long as our fans demand it we going to give them what they want but as far as the stress of getting in the studio and trying to get everyone to do a whole album, that’s not even what’s going on these days anyway unless you’re on a major label. Artists of our caliber that’ve been in the game 20 years+, we know the game. We better off kind of monopolizing off of our fan base. We better off doing that at the point we’re at right now.

I talked to DJ Paul a little over a year ago. It was actually the day Lord Infamous passed away. Amidst talking about Lord, we got on the topic of B.O.N.E. and he told me that that beef was “stupid” and he’s obviously way past that. Are those the same sort of feelings you have? Was it just young kids thinking the other camp stole their style or was there more to it?

Yeah that’s decades old. I remember when I was working on my second solo album over at Loud Records. We were on the same label at the time and they did a big conference call and Juicy J was on the phone and he was like, “Yo, bruh, I just want to let you know it ain’t no beef. We don’t even know what we was beefing over. We just want to let ya’ll know we cool, we fuck with B.O.N.E.” And I was like, “Bro, same here, I don’t even know what we was beefing over.”

[It was] the same thing with Twista, Do Or Die. We just did a concert a couple weeks ago with all of them–Crucial Conflict, Do Or Die, Twista–we was all on the same stage. It was a Midwest Takeover. Back in the day when we did the remix with Biggie, the “Spit Yo Game” song, that was the first time we and Twista sat down and actually talked and he was like, “What were we beefing over?” And I’m like, “Man, I don’t even know? That’s dumb as hell.” And we was like, “While we playing, we need to be taking these other niggas who be taking our style!”

We was just young. We didn’t understand flattery back then. We came up in an era with Run-DMC and LL Cool J and all those cats. And back then if you tried to sound like somebody you was labeled a “biter.” We came into the game thinking like that. There’s no way we can be sounding like anybody who be coming out so that’s how we developed our own style and we stuck to that, we honored that. We came out and everybody was trying to sound like us. We was pissed like these dudes kind of sound like us and [they’re] trying to steal our style but we didn’t understand that it was bringing innovation to the game and we were creating something new and giving rap a new format. We didn’t understand that then.

But for the record, who do you think were the first to do that “Tongue-twisting” or on-beat rapping style?

I’m going to let you know like this, we had never been outside of Cleveland. Places that we traveled were places like Columbus or maybe Pittsburgh or Detroit but we never been outside of that area. We didn’t even know who Triple 6 Mafia was. The only way we found out about them was when we first came out, we used to go to Ruthless Records and we had started getting fan mail. We was excited about that and we used to read our fan mail. So when we read it, we opened up a letter one day and somebody wrote in it and was like, “It’s this group down here called Three 6 Mafia and they got a song out dissing y’all down here on the radio.” And I was like, “What!?” They left they number and we called them and they played the song for us and we were like, “We don’t even know these dudes.”

We made a song on our album called “All Original.” We never been to your town. We never heard anyone rap like we rap. When we came out there wasn’t even a Midwest sound it was a B.O.N.E. sound and nobody else had it.

What’s next for you coming up in the immediate future?

I’ve got a few more scripts that I’m working on. I’ve got a radio talk show on TradioV.com that I do every Tuesday from 8 to 10. I’m trying to get more into that. I’m just trying to get into everything. I have a clothing store, I’m into clothing–anything that comes my way man–I’m trying to get to it. If it makes sense, I’m trying to get to it. Just going with the flow and whatever goes my way, if it sounds like something I want to do, then I jump into it.

Photos via Krayzie Bone’s Instagram

Related: Video: Hi-Tek ft. Bow Wow, Krayzie Bone & Bootsy Collins – Ohio Players | Flying Lotus ft. Krayzie Bone – Medication Meditation

Previously: Interview: John Buccigross is ESPN’s Biggest Hip-Hop Nerd | Interview: Prodigy & Boogz Boogetz’ Young Rollin’ Stoners Album showcases two Generations of Queens Hip-Hop | Interview: Theophilus London “Vibes” with Kanye West & Leon Ware for Sophomore LP | Made in Ohio: Stalley & Rashad on Ohio Culture and Music | Happy 75th Birthday Queensbridge: The 75 Greatest QB Rap Songs | Interview: Diamond D Recalls Fat Joe & Lord Finesse’s Early Days, Says He was Stunned when Big L Passed

Catch up on all NahRight interviews and features HERE.


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