The irony is not lost on us.
Getting a chance to interview Krayzie Bone on the First of the Month is a blogger’s dream. The headline writes itself!
The Face of the Franchise Shugabooga and Your Favorite Female Voice Vanidee Starr got a chance to sit down with the Grammy Award winning artist and executive on this week’s Big Heff Show!
(Download the Big Heff App to listen: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/big-heff/id1183528219?mt=8)
But this first of the month was different. Krayzie was in Cleveland for another Bone Thugs Homecoming show- this time at the legendary Agora theater. The city was buzzing, and as the pictures showed on social media, the line at 6:00 in the evening already wrapped around the massive building on E. 55th. The night was going to be special.
“(Coming home) is always special. We never get tired of it, you know. We love getting the hometown love and giving it back.”
But this night was also special because Krayzie’s beloved Cleveland Cavaliers were playing in Game One of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, and although the game didn’t turn out the way he hoped, the excitement for not only the team but for the whole city was apparent when Krayzie talked about the team. Cleveland is having a renaissance, not only on the court, but in the music world as well!
“It’s a wonderful thing. It’s about time we got our “just dues” in everything, you know, sports, music. We have a lot of talent in Cleveland. Really Ohio period. It’s about that time. We demand our respect- that’s what’s going on period!”
I mentioned our BubbleHedz article that spoke of songs that reminded me of Cleveland and asked Krayzie to give me a song outside of his own catalog that takes him to Cleveland no matter where he is. It was no surprise that he said MGK’s “Till I Die”. That song represents a bridge between the rapid fire delivery that Bone made Cleveland famous for, and the sparse Cleveland “Cappin'” Era music that defines the sound of the streets. Krayzie himself has become a living bridge between the Mo Thugs camp and new artists in the city like Caine, Mookie Motonio and Nova the Rebel. That role of OG and mentor is one that “The Life” Boss savors.
“We know what it’s like when you’re trying to get somebody to listen to your music and hear your story. We walked that same path and we know how hard it can be and how many brick walls you can run into trying to get it without the knowledge. That’s one thing I always wanted to do- give back the knowledge. Maybe they won’t have to run into so many brick walls. They have a head start on the business. It’s always good to give that back, so the next generation can do better and make it better for the generation after that!”
And then there’s what we call the Kendrick factor. How hard is it to remain humble when you are a member of the highest selling rap group of all time?
“You always remember what it was like when nobody cared. Now that you have this success, it’s not put there for you to be spiteful or throw it back in somebody’s face. If you have money or you have success you really don’t have to say to much. It’s all in the way you move and the way you act. It speaks for itself.”
“Once I had…” then there was a pause. The humility is ever present, and Krayzie paused mid sentence, ever the team leader, to change that verbiage to WE.
“Once WE had some success, we just turned that into living for other people. We started living for our family and our kids, teaching them life and music. All of our kids are doing music- Bizzy’s son is buzzin’ right now, my daughter is singing. They are all kind of in that training lab right now.”
“It’s a rough industry, and if my kids are gonna be going through it- they’re going to be well equipped!”
This led to a nod to the group’s ultimate inspiration, one Eazy E. Krayzie lamented the fact that the Compton hustler turned mogul passed away before getting to introduce the then fledgling group to all of the ups and downs of the industry.
“We only got to work with Eazy for like a year before he passed, so we never really got a chance to see him go through all the things we are going through or to get that knowledge of the game the way we wish we would have. We really didn’t get that knowledge until we lived it and experienced it and failed a few times.”
With the new single “Coming Home”, a collaborative effort with Bone colleague Bizzy Bone and reggae sensation Stephen Marley making it’s way to radio and tv outlets recently, their children and young artists under their wings get to see the legends in a new light. Instead of giving advice on breaking a record, they are on the promo tour themselves. It’s a great learning opportunity for the newbies, but it’s also a chance to get back into the fun part of the business for the veterans.
“We’ve been getting a great reaction. It’s like when people heard it they immediately like it. They say it’s refreshing and it’s good to hear, and it’s good that you’re still making music! It’s truly a blessing that all these years later people still want to hear it!”
And the legacy is sustained by Krayzie’s willingness to help others and help his City continue to shine.
“I think it’s about time for Cleveland artists to get the opportunities they deserve, and that’s what I’ve been working towards with artists like Caine, Nova and lots of other artists in the city. I’m trying to make it so we don’t have to go to Los Angeles no more, we don’t have to go to New York no more. I’m trying to make it so they can come here and make it bubble and pop here, so we don’t have to go to them.”
And in this era where Cleveland is the City of Champions, that only seems right!
Download “Coming Home” By Krayzie Bone and Bizzy Bone feat Stephen Marley here: