It’s been 20 years since Bone Thugs-N-Harmony changed the entire hip hop landscape, shifting the paradigm geographically and stylistically with one seminal album.
E. 1999 Eternal has sold more than ten million copies worldwide since its release on July 25, 1995, and now almost two decades later Krayzie, Bizzy, Wish and Flesh (Layzie did not make the trip) came together inside the Vogue Theatre in Indianapolis, Indiana to perform the venerable album in its entirety for a capacity crowd. BET.com was in the house to talk with them after the show about the legacy of the album, appealing to the younger generation and how they think their mentor Eazy-E should be represented in the N.W.A movie.
BET.com: How did it feel to play E. 1999 Eternal in front of a packed house 20 years later?
Wish: Man it felt great to perform our music that we put out so long ago. For it to still be accepted and loved and for everybody to come out like that it just lets us know that what we put into our music is appreciated.
Krayzie: It’s like we’ve been in the game for 20 years and at first we came in and we was ready to f**k everybody up that sounded like Bone. We was like ‘These n****s sound like us, we gonna f**k these n****s up,’ but as we got older we realized that, we didn’t understand the scale of what we were doing. We were trendsetting at a very early age. At like 15 and 16.
Plus it has to feel good to get so much love from the younger generation.
Wish: We be trippin’ off that s**t. We’ll be at our shows and we see kids like 10 or 12 years old singing our s**t.
Flesh: The music never gets old just like the members of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony never get old. We’re here, we had a little fun, we rocked a new joint today. I done heard everything up under the sun about all the dumb s**t n****s be sayin’ about ‘Bone Thugs is this or that,’
Krayzie: [Laughs] What? Who said that?
Wish: [Laughs] Give me their address! I’ll f**k a n***a up!
Flesh: But when you look at what we’ve done all you can say is ‘Bone Thugs is way f****n’ original.
In addition to fans, you guys have gotten a lot of love form other artists especially recently.
Krayzie: I gotta show love to the dudes from this generation that’s been showing love, which is Wiz Khalifa, which is Drake, Which is Lil Wayne, which is Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, A$AP Mob. There’s a lot of young dudes that understand what it is and people always talk s**t about these dudes but these are the guys that respect and pay homage to where the art came from.
Flesh: And really what they’re doing, Kray, is solidifying the legacy of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and it’s an amazing thing to see a lot of hot new artists that are like ‘F**k that, it’s Bone Thugs-N-Harmony that inspired me.’ Also we have to give a big shout out to Lil Wayne. He’s killing’ it right now. I listen to him so much and every time we turn around he’s figuring out a way to flip Bone Thugs in his poetry.
Krayzie: Lil Wayne been showing love since day one
Wish: On that note, Lil Wayne, we waiting, n***a let’s get in the studio. Let’s do it n***a! We f**k with you.
Flesh: You heard him Lil Wayne, let’s go!
With more than 20 years in this business, what can you say is your proudest moment as artists?
Bizzy: I’ll be honest with you my proudest moment of the record was when we didn’t know Eazy-E was as sick as he was and we all stood up and said ‘We’re gonna take him off of a couple of songs if he doesn’t talk to us.’ Little did we know he was sick at the time. So my proudest moment was with us at that time making that decision as far as E. 1999 Eternal, but now in retrospect everything Eazy-E was a part of on that record turned out to be such a blessing because we get to look back on it and say, ‘We didn’t even know. We didn’t know he was sick,’ And it gives us a moment to reflect on his love. So that’s my proudest moment that every night we get to do a tribute for Eazy.
Speaking of Eric Wright, do you have faith that the N.W.A movie will represent his legacy properly?
Flesh: If it don’t then we’re gonna have to be the ones to represent.
Bizzy: I’ma be honest with you, I think that only Eazy-E and his family will be able to say it the way that they know it. You know, there’s the Ruthless family, there’s Cold 187, Kokane, there’s Above The Law, there’s H.W.A. Those are the people that really knew Eazy.
Krayzie: This is what I wanna say, for all the artists that have been blessed to establish a brand and a legacy, I don’t think you should ever have a drama movie with actors playing you. I think you should always do a documentary because it sustains the brand and then you don’t have people acting like you that can’t really capture who you are because actors can’t capture who you are. And in Hollywood they’re always gonna bump it up, so a documentary about your life is always gonna be more potent than a f***in’ movie. Bottom line. And I’m supporting the movie but I think it would be more potent told as a movie/documentary.
Wish: Eazy-E [N.W.A, Straight Outta Compton] movie is a good thing. It’s too bad that two lives had to be taken to have this movie made because Terry [Carter] was our people. We bought our first lowriders from Terry, but in my opinion any visual that can keep up the legacy that started this real hip hop s**t is a good thing, 'cause the kids of today need to know where this s**t really started.”
Additional reporting by Bryant James Gray
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(Photo: Tiffany Rose/WireImage)