Five minutes into a conversation with Bizzy Bone, it’s clear the most eccentric member of Bone Thugs N’ Harmony is an open book. He’s honest damn near to a fault, and there’s a level of insanity that lingers behind those keenly direct eyes. Understanding Bizzy’s history before his time with the group Eazy E helped build is necessary to finding out how the Cleveland group etched its way into the mainstream’s consciousness. Ten minutes later, there’s an A-Ha moment. Bizzy has the ability to filter wisdom, advice and history through wild prose that are difficult to catch in the madness.
Then again, Bizzy isn’t here to simply indulge in conversation. He’s promoting his recently released film What Now. Essentially a romantic comedy based around the world of dating on social media, Bizzy fills the role of rapper B-Murda, an established emcee with troubles in the romance department. Out of coincidence, Bizzy is also on the way to celebrate the twenty year anniversary of E. 1999 Eternal, the breakout sophomore album of Bone Thugs N’ Harmony that birthed “Crossroads” and “1st Of The Month.”
Speaking with DX, Bizzy explains how What Now is the definitive movie about social media and E.1999 Eternal’s creation in the midst of Eazy E’s death.
Bizzy Bone Talks, “What Now”
DX: Talk about your role in “What Now.” How exactly you play within the film’s narrative?
Bizzy Bone: I thought it was cool. I think the social media part is really being played with the co-stars. I was able to like, hold down certain rhythms to the movie to where the storyline was covered. Of course, Hip Hop and music is trendy as well. I think that’s what I added as far as trend and keeping a constant stream of the movie. I think I played that role, the place you go. The big house, the Bentley, the decadence and all that stuff. That was important to me to be able to play that role. It felt good.
DX: Bone Thugs comes from a pre-social media Hip Hop. What did you take from the film in terms of dealing with it?
Bizzy Bone: In terms of social media, I’m still learning about it. Just watching the movie and picking up on new things. From the movie and the comments, nobody is talking about social media in that way. It’s humorous and just the new things that they talk about like saying jellyfish for certain stuff. I’m picking up on new things. From the fans take and from what I see, I need to watch the movie like two or three more times. I see the movie being trendy and before it’s time. It’s a Fast Times At Ridgemont High type of vibe.
DX: How does it feel to have your Bone Thugs brethren Krayzie and Wish make appearances as well?
Bizzy Bone: I mean, the acting part, we really didn’t need to see each other because we do the scenes at different times. To be in a movie with them, I think it’s the first time. We always did movies separate from each other. It feels good because we’re back doing what we do on the road. We got our second wind and it’s good. It just adds to the legacy and saga to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
DX: What’s been your craziest moment on Social Media?
Bizzy Bone: Yeah man. Just today, a guy called me and told me he was going to kill himself. It’s usually the youngsters. Sometimes you really need somebody to talk to. Half the time, it’s a false alarm. It’s been some wild stuff but you know how it does. A couple of stalkers.
DX: This isn’t the first time you’ve acted correct? You were in Cutthroat Alley and Jacked Up. How have those films shaped your approach to acting?
Bizzy Bone: Well Cutthroat Alley was a small part. I’d say Jacked Up more than anything. Then I did another movie with Sherman Hemsley called Color Of A Dream but that hasn’t come out yet. That still didn’t surface because Mr. Hemsley had passed away. I won’t ever forget those accomplishments whether it’s hit the screen or not. Jacked Up was definitely the one where I was able to do my own thing and hold down a movie playing the antagonist. Isn’t that the bad guy?
Bizzy Bone: So I played the bad guy basically in that one but with this one, I’m the good guy. I’m in a relationship. In terms of my approach to acting, I started off with I can do this. I’ve always been on stage my whole life rather it was talent shows or breakdancing. I’ve always been fit for that. I’m at the point to where I can and if I’m accepted, I think can grow then. It’s sort of like how Will Smith did it. Will Smith just came in having fun and being himself until Quency and the other one sat him down and told him it was getting serious. I’m gradual with it.
DX: Do you have any favorite films or actors?
Bizzy Bone: The only actor I can say that about is Cuba Gooding Jr. He’s probably one of the best actors I’ve ever seen in my life in regards to where he can take a role and the I can do that mindstate. Not only did he have that mindstate but, he can really, really do it on an acting level. It’s a step above what I be thinking. That’s somebody I look at like yeah, he can act. That’s something to strive for; he’s an actor’s actor.
DX: Enjoyed your time working with Ice T?
Bizzy Bone: Ice T was cool. I knew him from back in the day when we went down to New York and he sat down and talked to us about being in acting. This was before Eazy died or passed away. I remember them all the way from back then. He didn’t really remember it because back then when he was in New York, he really wasn’t doing the music thing. Then I met him at a gang prevention event with Eazy way back in the day. It was great to see him again. Everything he said to us about Hollywood and acting, I watched him make that materialize into his run on Law and Order. I thought that was crazy. Just to see what he said eventually happen. Seeing him in acting and him not remembering telling me that was crazy. As far as him acting in the film, his fanbase is massive. He added to the movie. He made it that movie.
DX: Any thoughts on the upcoming Straight Outta Compton film? Think Corey Hawkins Eazy-E’s mannerisms down?
Bizzy Bone: It seems like it. It’s like when Dre, Cube and his big homies; those are like our uncles. When they say that’s what it is and that’s what they remember, being that Eazy did pass away, I don’t think there are no punches to be thrown. I know that he’s safe in that place. How you gone throw punches? You can’t throw no punches at that point. You know what I’m saying? I think it’s cool. Personally, I would have loved to see his son Lil E Jr. I would have loved to see him do that just on that heartfelt thing. I trust them guys, I trust my uncles; my Hip Hop uncles. But, I’m excited to see the film though. First I want to see the reaction to it and see if it’s one of those John Singleton events and it’s really respected on any level or F. Gary Gray level when it comes out. Sometimes things come out and don’t do it like the Aaliyah thing. It’s like how they gave that a bad name. I know this is going to be ghetto gangsta. This is Eazy, this is legacy. It’s a biography of a legend and N.W.A. I can’t wait to see it though. I think it’s going to be great and I think it’s going to be beautiful. I only got to know Eazy for about three or four years but I’m sure it’s covered.
Bizzy Bone Talks Eazy E & Making Of E. 1999 Eternal
DX: What’s the best advice Eazy gave you guys or most mind blowing?
Bizzy Bone: I think it would have to be you guys are going to be the greatest rap group ever. That was the best advice because he couldn’t see it through so that’s something to live on because I didn’t think it happened until all the lights are off and the votes are tallied. He didn’t get to say too much to use because to be honest, all we did was have fun. He use to take us over people’s houses and say you can’t out drink em and can’t out smoke em. We use to shut every party down. We’d be the last ones in the party smoking and drinking while everybody else was sleep. This was the kind of fun that Eazy had with us. It was neighborhood stuff because that’s just the kind of guys we were. He found out what we liked to do and he made life fun for us. Expenses weren’t like a major problem. He sat down and talked to us and told us where we came from. We didn’t get too much advice except strive to be the best rap group ever.
DX: First off Bizzy Bone, one of my favorite verses from you in a while is the one you did on that Da Mafia Six joint “Murder On My Mind.” You killed that shit yo. Had to be awesome in the mid-west to be apart of the horrorcore scene back then.
Bizzy Bone: I peeped that out back then where Eazy was going with the voice and stuff and where it went after Eazy died. Cause like when people die, whether it’s Pac or Big or Eazy, people like to carry this imagery “I might have done it” alure. So I think with all the backwards writing along with that, it might have set that forth. That’s why it was so attractive on such a mass appeal. You can’t make an impact unless it’s apart of a well thought out stream. So you know that was the base of it. It feels good to see ICP [Insane Clown Posse] and all these other guys doing their thing. They’re real good friends of ours. It’s nice when people can say, “I was there too,” “I was there too.” We can’t say we started it because it’s a few trendsetters that took it and went there with it. It wasn’t subtle at all.
DX: The anniversary of E. 1999 Eternal is around the corner. I always thought that album was one of the most important albums of that period considering it’s reach. What was the dopest part about recording that album coming from Creepin On Ah Come Up?
Bizzy Bone: First of all, we didn’t know that Eazy E had AIDS. We didn’t know he was dying at the time. We were in the mind-state of: oh snap, he’s not coming around, he might be playing us. We didn’t know what was going on cause we didn’t get no contact. When you have to deal with something as deep as HIV, then it’s not something you talk about everywhere. So, we were in the dark for about a month-and-a-half in the studio for the recording of Eternal. It was a dark time. No money was coming through, no contact, we had this big ol’ mansion in Chatsworth. So that’s what making Eternal was like. Like, not having no food in the refrigerator. Even after the time of Creepin On Ah Come Up, it was bad. But that whole time, Eazy E was dying. We didn’t know. That whole time was, hood. It was very hood. Very hood, in Chatsworth. When the dude who we bought the house from or leasing the house from got back to that house and saw the house, he just broke down and cried. Shots in the walls, it was crazy. Making Eternal was wild than a mufucka.
DX: How’d you guys push through to even finish up Eternal?
Bizzy Bone: That’s where we come from though. You have to remember though, we’re from St. Clair. It’s just that way. I keep telling my homeboys we need to do something with it because it’s becoming one of those records that is becoming a Hip Hop classic. It’s crazy too and the stuff we talk about on there is crazy.
DX: As a kid, I always that the album felt like a hood horror movie almost. “Me Killah” felt like a deranged acapella nursery rhyme. What kind of films were you guys into around that time?
Bizzy Bone: Like I told you, that’s where we were was in that wild place at that moment and at that time. It was more toward the end of making the record to be honest with you but, man we were just wild. I was watching at the time Faces Of Death and my whole mindstate was…because our underground tape was called Faces of Death… and I wanted to make sure we put that on the Eternal records so our career had some balance. People would ask my why would I put that on the Eternal record. I put those snippets there to commemorate our first album. That was as spooky as Bizzy himself was thinking. It was my mind-state. I don’t know if that was everybody else’s. Flesh was going to the loony bin and psych wards, fighting police and fighting cases. It was a real crazy time.
DX: How exactly did you guys manage to record such synchronized music in so much chaos?
Bizzy Bone: So we would finish a song right. We would go to the studio and finish a song. One of the members would go to the bathroom after finishing a song and bust all the mirrors out, rip the toilet off the base, slam the sink until they had to be apprehended by security. It went down like that. So we got the work done first and then snap-ola.
DX: Is it safe to say that those actions during the album’s creation kept you guys from doing even more ridiculous stuff?
Bizzy Bone: I don’t know, it was such a chaotic record. I don’t think it’ll never be another time like that for us. We’re too old now, Flesh went to prison for ten years, this one took time off here, this one did this, this one grew up, this one had kids. So yeah, it’s a lot.
DX: You guys had originally released a different version of “Crossroads” than the one most people understand now. Where did that decision come from?
Bizzy Bone: Well what happened was the first one, you notice we didn’t mention Eazy and Uncle Charles and a few different other people that had passed away. It was like a remix before we understood what doing a remix was. Back in the day, you had a side A and side B. Everyone loved “Crossroads” B. We were like this is it, radio, this is it. It just took off from there. You have two Eternal records, one issued with the old and one issued with the new. When they reissued the new records, they just used the radio version.
DX: How does it feel for “First Of The Month” to be the monthly anthem for over half of America’s citizens?
Bizzy Bone: We didn’t know it wasn’t going to go pass welfare. The whole thing was about welfare. The first of the month was a celebration because of welfare because you had to pay bills. When you’re on assistance, you don’t have too many bills to pay. While the rest of the world was paying bills, you were out there celebrating. It was two different societies. In the hood, the first of the month was a celebration. In other communities, the first of the month was bill time. It was a different vibe. Now it’s about the first of the month and how it makes you feel.
Bizzy Bone Talks $1 Million Bone Thugs N’ Harmony Album
DX: Earlier this year Layzie Bone put Rolling Stone on blast regarding them not putting one Bone Thugs song 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Song list. Do you think even to this day the group isn’t given it’s proper praise?
Bizzy Bone: Don’t start nothing now. You know Layzie had something to say about it.
DX: I think most Hip Hop heads had something to say about it.
Bizzy Bone: I don’t know, I think that gives us room to have a second wind. I think it gives us room to do the Aerosmith, Megadeth, Beatles kind-of Hip Hop move. If we’re totally out of the game, I think “Crossroads” will surface. While we’re around, I don’t think it’s like “come on, I see you touring.” To me I think it’s an opportunity Rolling Stone is trying to give us more than anything else. If not, I’m a lunatic anyway.
DX: Do you think mainstream music publications actually understand what you guys brought to Hip Hop or just music in general?
Bizzy Bone: I don’t think they even care to be honest with you. I think they don’t care. I think there are a few heartfelt media outlets that really get to a group of the fanbase. All of our Bone fans are heartfelt. Their hearts are in it. That’s what they’re on. It’s crazy saying fans when you’ve built something with people for over ten years. You’re a little more than that now.
DX: I spoke with B-Real some time ago about the role Hip Hop played in the legalization of marijuana. Do you believe that the culture has helped?
Bizzy Bone: I don’t think that Hip Hop played that much of a role in the legalization of marijuana. I think the work really, really happened financially, statewide and medicinal. Not just stress and anxiety but cancer and AIDS. You know, the other things so that you can eat and what not. I think they were the frontrunners. I think Hip Hop is like the 70’s movement. The flower power movement. That transferred over to Hip Hop cause they started putting rules and regulations on it. Back in the 70’s, they weren’t arresting people like that for having a joint. I think the legalization of weed is going to put a lot of people out of jail who don’t need to be there. They’re basically botanist or florist.
DX: With Eazy’s death, do you guys feel as if Hip Hop has gotten better with talking about sexual responsibility?
Bizzy Bone: Yeah, I think that Magic Johnson not dying and passing away gives the entire Hip Hop generation that non-fear. I think now a days, people are a lot more concerned and aware. That doesn’t mean that people have stopped gambling with their lives as far as that goes. I was just talking with Krazy and he was telling me how he got his test back. It’s a scary thing. I know my people are clean and more aware to get test. During that conversation, Wish Bone chimed in and was like I always get my test. It’s one of those topics you have to deal with.
DX: What’s the update on the $1 million dollar Bone Thugs album?
Bizzy Bone: We got an offer in and we have so much music that we want to keep putting out. But you know what, it ain’t no rush. Lets not rush this because it’s not a cash move. It’s just something we want to do because they’re not going to be selling CDs forever. They’re going to be processing and selling music a whole different kind-of way. The art-form of putting things on a CD is going to go out of style. Out of style like tapes. You don’t even see tapes no more. This generation is growing now through iPhones.
DX: You have vinyl coming back right?
Bizzy Bone: You know what I mean, that’s for nostalgia purposes. You know how society is. They want to keep going. Netflix and so-on. Where’s Blockbuster?
DX: Do you think these kind of albums hurt or help fandom?
Bizzy Bone: Naw because the way we’re doing it we’re getting the best ideas to make sure that doesn’t happen. The more time we have with it, the more time we have to make it better to the consumer and commodity before the mistakes happen. Like Gordon Ramsay said, I don’t want the good comments, give me the bad ones so I know what to do and what not to do.
Bizzy Bone: They’re into the time capsule thing. That’s their thing. I’m not knocking it. It’s a Wu-Tang thing. It’s Asia, can you feel it? Asia is like time capsule-y. Tiananmen Square, real cool. Later, humble later.