Grammy-winning hip-hop group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony will be playing at First Avenue on Wednesday, September 29 as part of their E. 1999 Eternal Tour, which will feature a live band and an emphasis on their 1995 sophomore album E. 1999 Eternal. I spoke with Flesh-n-Bone, who considers the group a family business (his brother Layzie Bone and his Cousin Wish Bone, along with Krayzie Bone, will all be performing this tour). However, Flesh, who spent some time in prison and has had some recent brushes with the law, is also looking forward to launching his solo career.
What’s your favorite part about touring?
I’m adventurous. I like to explore. There’s something about being out on the road…interacting with the fans, rubbing elbows with the fans. I love the tour bus. The only problem with being away from the home front is being away from the wife and the kids. But that’s how I pay bills. But for the most part you gotta love traveling. One of the things I look forward to about this one is that we’re going to be jamming with a live band.
Can you tell me about how the band started?
It started off with us as teenagers in high school as a hobby. We started out as the Band Aid boys and it grew from there. Back then we were amateurs, rappers. From there it went on to something new and fresh. We developed unique styles. Eventually we became Bone Enterprise. Then we became Bones Thugs-N-Harmony. It basically started out as a hobby. As hungry as we were, it turned into a family business. For me personally, I’m still as hungry as I was.
Were you able to continue working on your music while you were in prison?
I was definitely able to keep my ears to the streets and continue my craft, continue writing. I was producing beats while I was in there. You get access to keyboards and synthesizers, and music theory classes.
Can you talk a little bit more about how your technique has changed after having studied music theory?
As an artist, as a musician, a poet, my art has grown and matured in its own right. I’m still trying to get my pitches perfectly. I’m working on the chords and chord changes, as well as building on my storytelling skills. I feel as if my experience going through prison only added to that. I was sitting on a mountain of concepts. There were all walks of life in there. Going through prison is like a gladiator situation. Like being in the riots. Nobody’s stories were the same. And everybody had an abundance to share. I’d express my experiences to other people. All that benefitted the music and everything. Music is a gift that God gave to me to try to express certain things.
Does your music have a message?
God gave us all gifts. It’s the responsibility of that individual to find out what those gifts are. I’m spreading that message: inspiring people to find out what God put you on this earth for, to find out what your gifts are and cultivate those talents. God created us to be active, creative, to put the world in motion. He created us to work. That’s the overall message.