This is the second part of an exclusive interview with Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. The third part will be up tomorrow.
There are a lot of spiritual overtones in your music. Where does this come from?
Layzie Bone: It comes from being raised spiritually. My grandparents, parents, it comes from a spiritual background. Knowing that this world didn’t just show up here alone. Civilization didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. Spiritualism is giving thanks in our views. You know that to be creative you have to really be created. There’s an order of operation to be maintained. In our group we have a few different religions.
We’ve got Muslim, Jehovah’s Witnesses, but we understand there’s one Supreme Being, you know what I mean? All the rest we’ll figure it out later but we all agree God is real. There’s nothing that we don’t do that is no in his honor. We tell it from the street aspect, the club aspect but it’s all in his honor when we give that information out to the world. It’s a blessing in itself to be able to talk to a podium as big as the world.
Ta Smallz: It’s a blessing to even talk to you, to shake hands, to hug because it’s like I said before, unfortunately, my mother was murdered when I was 12 years old so I’m lucky to even be here. So I show thanks because the Lord saved my life. Through trials and tribulations I build self-esteem through self-expression. I want to show people what I’ve been through and how I made it because I didn’t make it here by myself. I’ve been through a lot, Bone Thugz been through a lot.
There’s a lot of that in your music.
Layzie Bone: Music is from the heart.
Thin C: It was in our rearing. There’s a lot of that in our music and we never forget that. I can’t speak for all the others but in music we praise God for good and bad. All his works are in perfect measure so we don’t need to argue with him. We keep moving forward to accomplish our goals, but we remain close to family, you know what I’m saying? You try to be positive.
I’ve always felt that the roots of rap come from Gospel music, from southern music. A lot of that deals with spiritualism, from the very heart of it.
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony has done everything. You’ve been everywhere, you’ve seen it all. You’ve toured the entire world and your albums have gone multi-platinum. How are you guys able to stay grounded and just focus on the music?
Layzie Bone: The key to saying focused on the music is loving the music. You gotta love music more than you do the club. You gotta love music more than you do your new Bentley. For me, coming up with a new song is like driving a new Bentley.
But you gotta be loyal to the music. It has to come from the heart. Bone Thugs have stayed grounded because we never stopped living life. A lot of things came up for us. A lot of things we didn’t expect. But things just happen. To deal with that chaos, that fluctuating schedule, you gotta love the music.
How do you think the band has stayed real, where with a lot of bands it gets to their heads and they just go away or become a one-hit wonder?
Thin C: What I’ve learned about being with them is that for them, music has always been there. It was from growing up in the home, they always had it for them. But for new artists they haven’t had time to love and appreciate the music. So it’s easier for them to become unraveled.
Ta Smallz: A lot of artists are just water and stir artists. You just add an egg and his (Layzie’s) mom was a singer, my mom would sing, so all of us had a love for the music from the beginning. Even if I wasn’t making money, I’d be writing the music. I love to educate and motivate with my music, and the best records I’ve made were the real ones. Yeah, I’ve made the party albums but the best hits were the ones where I talked about what was really important, what was really going on.
I think audiences can tell when they’re being lied to. They know what’s real.
Layzie Bone: I’m so beyond all that. I’m not going to say we haven’t made money…I’m going to make money regardless because the Bones are already a brand. I’d do it regardless but we’re an industry in itself, and to be blessed to get paid for doing something we love is wonderful. We have a catalogue of music but I’d do it whether it was for profit, for a non-profit like a good cause, music provided a lot of avenues for us, man.
I think early on in the record industry a lot of artists were exploited. But now artists are able to help other artists. People who used to just write and perform have become producers, and they have a better understanding of what makes good music. But they know what it’s like on a street level, and they can give other people a way out.
Layzie Bone: Very eloquently put.
Ta Smallz: It used to not be like that. An artist could work hard but not be able to go anywhere. Now they have a better opportunity. I think artists who are real are going to get chosen. Audiences are going to pick the artist who is speaking the truth, even if they have a wide range of other artists to choose from, they’ll pick the one who is singing from the heart.