Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's Wish Bone talks about hitting the Mainroom tonight
Bone is returning, semi-triumphantly (they've had a tough decade, after all) to the Mainroom tonight with the "original lineup" in tow -- not including Bizzy, the high-pitched attack dog of the Lord, who has been a solo artist since 1998...sort of.
Gimme Noise and three other journalists from around the country spoke with Wish Bone in a round robin interview about the tour and um, some other details.
A note: Gimme Noise's questions are in italics.
Alright we didn't really figure this out who wants to go first?
[This guy goes first] Hey Wish Bone how are ya? I was wondering if you're excited to return to Charleston South Carolina!
Wish Bone: Yeah you know we The Rolling Stones of hip hop and we always on the road and if there's a demand for us we gonna come there whether it's every other weekend or once a year.
How would you say your Midwest upbringing affects your style?
I mean you know the struggle that makes it uh, give a lot of heart and soul to our music. Motown and all that kind of stuff. [Garbled] from the heart.
How can students at Indiana University relate to your music?
I mean you know if you got a heart and soul and you real about it you can relate that way, it's always a message towards some situation, so if you breathe deep and listen I'm sure you'll get something out of it.
I'm wondering, when you guys were readying for 2010 this guy who runs something called Brand Engine posted this long explanation on Facebook, about getting ready for you guys to come back and all that. I didn't quite understand where he was coming from -- he seemed a little defensive. Do you know what I'm talking about?
No not at all. I have not read that.
He was laying out how music business is going nowadays. I'm just trying to get your take on the business end of things, as they stand now.
I mean you know, the music business has changed dramatically. You got the internet and things like that that can be a curse and a blessing at the same time. Like everything else in life it evolves and you have to evolve to keep up with the times.
How do you think you guys have adapted to survive in the music industry as long as you have?
That's called longevity, once you're doing something right in the lord's eyes it ain't in our hands, because like I said our music comes from the heart. We aren't just rapping about bitches and cars and what house you live in. We put a message withour music too, and I think that has a lot to do with longevity.
I know on this tour you guys are focusing a lot on your E 1999 Eternal, I wanted to know how Eazy-E helped jumpstart your career.
I mean, he didn't help, he did jump start it first of all. But you know, one-way bus tickets, he saw our drive and determination and then we were different, there wasn't anyone like us with the harmony and the rapping at the same time it was still a message, thug mentality, Eazy-E was a visionary, he saw where the game was falling [garbled].
You mentioned you were involved in the harmonies and rapping so what do you think about the upcomers like Drake, BoB that are feeding off that style?
I mean you know in the beginning when we were a little younger it was little sensitive because everybody hated to be bited and all that kinda crap, but now we look at it as a blessing because through them we're still relevant. You can like anything but you have to go back to its original roots and respect that. It's a cool thing.
I saw Sloan Bone's Twitter, he's on tour too now, and he's on Twitter. It looks like he's getting ladies on tour...do you guys use Twitter to get girls? It never works for me.
[Laughs] No no I don't really endorse all that. I've got a wife and kids, I'm a family man. Besides we've been doing this for 16-17 years, so if we haven't done it by now, you know what I mean? Been there done that.
Is the full original lineup going to be on this tour?
Everybody's on the tour. Krayzie, Layzie, Bizzy, and Wish - I mean Krayzie, Layzie, Flesh...and Wish. You know Bizzy does his own thing...I don't care to even comment on him.
You guys recently released a new album, what was the focus on that album?
The focus of that album was basically to do something -- when Flesh-N-Bone got home -- on a more mature, grown-up level. Something different than what you used to hear from Bone. Show versatility you know we're artists, we're not gonna be stuck in one genre.
How has the tour been going so far?
This is the beginning of the tour, but so far, great. We've got the live band out here - it's a whole other show. We got actual musicians adding to our harmonies on this tour.
I know you guys used DJ U-Neek to do a lot of production early on, I didn't hear a lot of that sound on the new record. How many producers did you use? Did you do it yourself?
Um you know what, we kept it pretty tight-knit. We didn't wanna complicate the project. Too much confusion you know what I mean? Especially with the state of music right now, it's like everybody's asking to do a little bit more than usual - it's crunch time for everyone. We pretty much kept it in-house.
Can you talk about your first single off the album?
I love "See Me Shine." It makes sense. Everybody has somebody who's looking down on them or thinking they're better than them or don't wanna see them grow. So "See Me Shine" sorta represents the person that's getting theirs and keeping happy with theirself, no matter what the next person got. They don't wanna see me shining, but...can't stop it. It's like the sun: I'm gonna come up.
What rebirth was was a song basically just [garbled] frustrations I would say. Basically putting a reminder out there of who the originators were. Every now and then you gotta hit 'em in the head and let 'em know what the real is.
What were you able to learn from recording with other huge legends of the game such as Eazy-E, Biggie, Tupac?
First of all that was a blessing. We got to record with Eazy-E, Biggie, Tupac...it was a blessing. That's why you gotta believe in the Lord, because how many artists in the world today can say they worked with all three of them and had a actual hit song to this day that's still relevant? So it's all in God's divine plan. Sorry they had to go so soon, but in words they live on.
How do you think the rap game has changed since the early nineties...do you think it's better or worse?
I mean to me it depends on how you look at it...the game's changed. Like I said earlier about the Internet and things like that. A record that could be a million copies sold is probably at three, four hundred thousand. But in a sense its to your advantage too. It's still a mass media and you can still do a lot of things with it. It depends on how you look at it.
You guys are playing your hometown a week from today, do you have anything special planned?
We've got the live band, just us being there healthy, live, being able to reach out to people with our hearts and souls is special enough for me.
What about the style change from the early nineties to today?
To me I think a lot of artists are a bit cartoonish. That's what's good, that's what they listen to. Me personally I like to listen to songs with substance, you go to clubs and bounce and stuff [garbled] learn about the artists.
Why do you think so often stuff like "Doin the Duggie" gets more play than songs with substance?
You know that's something that you have to ask the radio productions people that set up radio. There's some ins and outs of why it is going that way or whatever, but the world and the way the media thing is set up now is that short attention spans is what they reach out for. A sentence to a half a sentence is more relateable to the average listener. Everyone's attention spans are so short now all they wanna do is party.
Can you mention some of your influences?
Aw you know, Pattye LaBelle, Gladys Knight, The Temptations, LL Cool J, Eazy-E, Ghetto Boys, it goes on and on. Garth Brooks...I like a lot of stuff.
What do you see yourself and the band doing in the next year or two?
We're blessed with this longevity and our health. If you reach one person that's like a million. We definitely always wanna do music, but I'm gearing more towards getting my first solo record out there. I've been working a long time so I'm really looking to sit back and be a boss more than an actual worker. Spend time with my children.
I don't know if you're familiar with the website AllMusic.com - they called Bizzy the Flava Flav of this record. Do you think that's fair?
[Laughs] I mean it is what it is. We did what we did for the fan's sake. Period.
Can you tell me about BTNH Worldwide, the label?
That's just the foundation of our umbrella, keep more in control of our own stuff.
Thug World Order was still on Ruthless right? I was wondering about that record, that seemed like a perfect storm of problems for your band at the time. It just seemed like everything kinda went shitty around that release. Do you have any big regrets about that?
Not really I mean you know first and foremost we family and just like anyone else we're gonna grow and have differences, but we're family first so we're definitely going to be able to work those things out. But I think the media will make a cupcake into a cake. It is what it is.
If there is one overriding message to your music what would you say that is?
Strength. This was a cold game and to survive as long as we have takes a lot of heart and strength.
I thought you were saying stress which wouldn't be that far off either.
On your new album, who is the world enemy?
The world's enemy is anyone doing something that goes against what the grain of what people think it should go. That's just a way of speaking for a mass amount of people. We the world's enemy because with our large following can actually get people to like a song when you're talking about God, or when your loved one isn't with you anymore. We still can get down and talk about 9 millimeter eaters.
What kind of advice to have to offer young artists?
I'm gonna keep it all the way real. A lot of people need to really refocus and make rap and music their only goal because that's the state that the game is in now. And it's just not for everybody. Just because the ice cream looks good doesn't mean it'll taste good to you.
I have a question about a song too...you seem like you're pretty focused on this new record. One of that last bigger songs you had was "Ghetto Cowboy". I was wondering if you're gonna revisit that, like "Ghetto Spaceman" or "Ghetto Lumberjacker."
[Laughs]. I mean that might be something that works you never know. Like I said we mess with all genres of music. How we feel when we get in there...wherever the beat takes us.
Is this tour gonna be exclusively E. 1999 Eternal stuff?
The majority is E. 1999 stuff, but we have a few surprises in there. This is an awesome show, we've got the live band. We're doing a lot of songs that we've never performed live before.
BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY play tonight at FIRST AVENUE. 18+. $24. 8 p.m.
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