Recycled Rock N Roll

Recycled Rock N Roll

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Part V - Music

Here it is, another 1,000+ words of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. Just the same, I still should write an intro.

Often times when I interview artists they may say things that shouldn't be repeated. They don't always tell me to not repeat what I've just heard, but like any normal person I know when to keep my mouth shut and my typing at bay.

That's why, even though I have the .wav file of this interview, I'm not just publishing it. During the interview Layzie Bone and everyone else started to talk about a lot of what went down during the west coast vs. east coast hip-hop violence of the early 90's.

I figure they may not want anyone hearing about all that, so I left it out of the write-up and keep the .wav file someplace secure, just in case anyone thinks I'm fibbing.
Layzie Bone: Just like we were with Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson and all that music our parents were into. We were bumping that. Now parents are playing our music for their kids. Its generational music.

All of the great artists have stayed relevant. Look at Miles Davis. People still listen to him. We were talking about how the real music lasts. Bands that are one hit wonders like some rap bands or metal bands are one hit wonders for a reason. 

Ta Smallz: Well, Bone Thugs has one of the biggest selling catalogues. Even without making a new record, they’ve stayed big. Somebody’s buying it.

I noticed that after 9/11 the political climate really affected the release of Thug World Order. It was a very different political climate than now. Do you think the current political climate is going to affect the release of your latest album? 

Layzie Bone: I think our album is very political according to what’s going on. It is very relevant. It is the news. The album that we recorded is today. You can turn on CNN and hear about it. It’s perfect for the political landscape right now.

But there’s less censorship. That was a big part of 9/11, but now we have a different political climate. 

Layzie Bone: We had the same message back then that we do today. But that kind of thing happens. Uni5 is just an enhanced message of Thug World Order. It’s more detailed, it’s more graphic but it’s exactly what’s going on.

You’ve got hungry little kids, you’ve got wars, you’ve got an economy in crisis, you’ve got a struggle and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony is brothers for the struggle. That’s who we are, talking about what’s really going on in life.

You’ve been around for a long time, and I remember in the early 90’s there was a lot of east coast vs. west coast going around in the rap scene. What’s cool is that when you talk about unity, and where Cleveland is, that’s where east and west comes together. My question is, do you think that’s changed? The east coast versus west coast mentality?

Ta Smallz: Last night Jay-Z did “New York” at the L.A. Nokia. That was beautiful. But back in the day there would have been someone outside telling Jay-Z, “You ain’t gonna sing ‘New York’ in L.A.” We’re not about that now.

Everyone knows that we have to come together and get out of the crisis that we are in. We need L.A., we need New York, we need Cleveland, we need Huston, we need everyone and find out ways to get up because we are about to sink. What with the economy and what we are all going through.

All that east coast, west  coast…it’s totally gone. It’s about making good music. You see that everyone is doing collaborations with everyone else right now. It’s not like, “I’m not going to get on his record, he’s from the west.” No. We need to do more of it. Please. It’s a way of showing gratitude and making a song together and just kicking it.

Layzie Bone: To be perfectly honest it wasn’t fun going to award shows and shit back then.

(Everyone laughs.)

Layzie Bone: You never knew what the fuck was going to go down back then. Back then when Tupac and Biggie and those niggaz was livin’, and they was playing…

You worked with both of them, too.

Layzie Bone: Yes, we managed to stay true through that whole ordeal. But it was not fun going to the awards shows during that east coast/west coast thing, and the media had a lot to do with that shit.


Layzie Bone: You know what I’m saying? They fueled that shit up when they could have put a different spin on it and brought unity and harmony back then. That was a whole other day and age. That was the real shit. Right now it’s quite cool. Young niggaz wearing tight jeans and partying and dancing with the tight shit on, my nigga’s glasses (referring to the eyeglasses worn by Ta Smallz) he’s wearing them and they're back…

Ta Smallz: I call them my thinkers, because we need to think and get our mind back. When you look a certain way, you feel a certain way, and then you act a certain way. I got a mind, I got a brain, and what I can do is not only help myself but help others by my actions. I have an idea that admiration beats intimidation. If you tell people that you admire how you do things, they will listen to you instead of trying to bully you.

That’s a very good point. I think that you are absolutely right about the media promoting the east coast versus west coast rivalry. The media responds to violence. That’s what sells. But now I’m glad that your music reaches both the east coast and the west coast. 

Thin C: I feel no dissension between the coastal regions due to music or hip hop or any of it right now. The thing is, what’s hot is hot. People are going to listen to the music they enjoy, regardless of where they come from. I don’t see any problems right now. What I’ve seen in the past few years is that the music has gone into a mature place where hip hop acts as a society. Oh, you still have your underworld, you know what I mean…

Ta Smallz: People are starting to feel a lot more comfortable in their own skin. One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of hip hop artists are singing more. We were the first to say, “We’re thugs but we can sing and we can harmonize. We’re cool.” Some guys are like, “I can’t sing, I’m too hard to sing.” I think you have to be comfortable with who you are.


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