Friday, February 10, 2012

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Part VII - Music

Here it is, the last part. It's nearly 1,400 words, so I hope you packed a cup of coffee.

A very special thanks to Ta Smallz, Layzie Bone and Thin C for their time. These guys gave me a lot to work with during the interview, and I did my best to record their perspectives so that the reader could learn more than just the usual, "new album, latest tour, etc." that is the usual kind of information that ends up being printed.

With this interview, all three of them really showed courage in expressing some very honest thoughts and opinions. I hope you all enjoyed it.
So you believe the media just hasn’t focused on the positive, when it comes to the subject of medical marijuana?

Ta Smallz: Well, I’ve been shot. I have pains that shoot from my hip all the way down to my kneecap. That’s why I smoke it.

That’s my next question. I know that two of the members of Bone Thugs suffer from conditions related to having been shot. How has marijuana helped deal with those conditions? How has it helped you?

Layzie Bone: Me personally I was shot by a .25 caliber bullet. I got hit in the back of the ear. For a while, and it was before all of this, in the early 90’s, I was suffering from migraines. I couldn’t sleep. I’d smoke a joint to deal with it. The pain would be so bad I’d have a hard time thinking, but when I smoked a joint the pain would go away and things would be a whole lot easier.

And you don’t have to take a handful of pills?

Layzie Bone: I never took anything like that, except Tylenol. But Tylenol didn’t help. Neither did Motrin. I’d go to sleep, and then wake up with the same headache.

With marijuana, you don’t have to take a handful of prescription drugs to deal with the headaches and insomnia. When Michael Jackson died, it was mentioned that he was taking a lot of different medications that led to his heart attack. What do you think of that?

Layzie Bone: If Michael Jackson had been smoking marijuana, instead of the pills he was taking, in my opinion, 100%, if he had been smoking marijuana he wouldn’t be dead. That would have been a lot better than all of those drugs he was taking.

Ta Smallz: I definitely think it would have helped. With my pains, I can’t take a Valium or anything. I do high energy shows. I’m a little guy. I need to have my energy. If I smoke a little marijuana it takes care of the pain and I can still function and do my job.

I think that what is most important is that you don’t have to take a handful of pills that would still hurt you.

Ta Smallz: Well, there was just too many side effects. Speaking for myself, when I took Vicadin it would hurt my stomach. I just can’t take pills at all. It's too painful.

Layzie Bone: I’m glad you said that because those side effects…there’s so many side effects with these man-made drugs. There’s side effects that hurt you more than the original problem. You run the risk of way more complications whereas with medical marijuana the worse that it’s going to do to you is make your hungry and sleepy. You don’t have a hangover. It doesn’t cause you any pain.

Ta Smallz: I suffer from insomnia. Ever since my mother got killed. I smoke before I go to bed because otherwise I wake up in the middle of the night.

Well, look at how Heath Ledger died. He was taking a lot of pills to help him sleep, and the combination killed him. Marijuana helps people, and I’m glad Bone Thugs is bringing the message. But you guys have been talking about it since day one.

Layzie Bone: The message is getting out there. We’ve covered a lot of ground in our years and now we are operating at our greatest capacity. That is a blessing in itself, so now we can spread messages of love and harmony, togetherness, unity, loyalty…all those things that make for a greater society.

That’s always been the problem with the mainstream media. The media loves pain. They don’t talk about the positive. They love to focus on the violence and the hurting. You guys came together and made this album, but instead the media will talk about the fights and the break ups. 

Thin C: Marijuana helps people. It’s a low-cost alternative to a lot of unhealthy drugs, but the media will talk about a few bad cases and ignore the positive.

Layzie Bone: Oh yeah. If we throw some sort of benefit concert this year, the media will ignore it. It’s hard to get the word out. Like if we do a Thanksgiving benefit.

Thin C: But if y’all get in trouble, the media will be all over it.

Layzie Bone: Oh yeah. If I get pulled over on Thanksgiving night, if I have one drop of alcohol in my system the media will be all over it.

The media likes the pain, man. But the good thing is that your band has a solid reputation. You’ve had a long, successful, influential career. So now you guys are so big you can force the media to talk about the positive like the healthy benefits of marijuana. 

Layzie Bone: That’s the point, man, education. It can come in the form of a classroom or in the form of a song. That’s why I love hip hop. Because you can play with words and manipulate them to get your message out even if it’s on a subliminal level. That’s what we do with our weed songs every time.

Look at California. The economy is messed up. Once again you have the media focusing on the negative…losing money, being bankrupt, but they don’t talk about how legalizing and selling marijuana would be a positive. It would fix the problem and eliminate a lot of pain. All these guys who are in prison for having a bag of weed, they wouldn’t have to be there.

Layzie Bone

Thin C: Marijuana is a major part of the solution. Marijuana could play that role for the whole country. Hemp can be made into paper, clothing, the whole 9…whatever you want to do. It could replace plastic.

Ta Smallz: If it got legalized you could eliminate the risk of buying it from a dealer and instead go to a doctor. There’d be less people going to jail and then we could tax it and create jobs. There’s a lot of people we could help with it, people need jobs right now. I believe that’s what we should do, create jobs and opportunities for people, from doctors to the people working in the office. You’d have a lot less people getting arrested.

Layzie Bone: You can fuel a car from hemp. You can eliminate having to cut down trees. In closing, we are more than willing to take on the task of pushing this idea to the front and help our planet go green in order to contribute in a positive way to the existence of humanity. This is a message I’m proud to contribute to. A friend with weed is a friend in deed!

ALL: (Laughter.)

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