It’s fair to say few hip hop groups have survived the test of time like Bone Thugs-n-Harmony have – lasting almost 20 years in the game.
And for that duration, Australia has become a favourite hunting ground for the Cleveland rappers. The last time we saw the Grammy Award winning quintet was in 2011, and founding members Krayzie Bone and Wish Bone return later this month for inaugural hip hop festival, Werd Of Mouth.
“We love coming to Australia; we get a lot of love out there and we get a great response from our fans,” booms Krayzie's voice down the phone line. “Every time we come it's the same energy they give us, the same love – it's wonderful coming out there. They're much like our fans [in America]: they're loyal fans and it's pretty much a cult following.”
Joining Bone Thugs-n-Harmony at Werd Of Mouth will be a plethora of local artists and according to Krayzie Bone, Australia is alluring for its hip hop talent.
“I always love looking at the local artists and seeing who's hot over there – that's always good to look at. I was actually out on a talent search [in Australia] one time and I was actually shocked at the amount of raw talent that was there. There's talent all over the world but people came out and they were really sincere about what they do, but they actually had raw talent.”
And Krayzie Bone has an ear for artistic flair. He and Wish Bone run record label The Life Entertainment and seek to sign up and coming artists – just as the late Eazy-E did for Bone Thugs-n-Harmony in the early '90s.
“We always had plans to come back and help other artists and give them the avenue to express themselves, but that's a lot of work in itself when you have to sit back and try to break other artists. Of course, because I'm in Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, I'm gonna try and break them to our fans first.
“It's been a challenge to find artists that are focused, willing to work and willing to sacrifice,” he continues. “I think I've found a few good artists that I'm working with now, so hopefully I'll be dropping some of these projects over there and hopefully I'll lead them well.”
2013 marks 20 years together for Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. And while he isn’t appearing on the group’s latest album, ‘The Art Of War III’ (slated for release in late November), he’s re-joining the group for a release next year.
“ is the official 20th year that we've been in the business. We came into the game at the end of 1993 and 2013 will mark 20 years, so that's something we're gonna be working on with all five of us. We haven't officially gone in and started recording because we've just started putting it in the books, doing the shows [and] doing the Rock The Bells tour, so we're basically just now coming back and bringing it together.”
And if touring, running a record label and writing for a platinum-selling rap outfit doesn’t sound like a full plate, Krayzie is also releasing his fifth solo album this year, ‘Chasing The Devil’.
“‘Chasing the Devil’ is coming along real well – it’s almost finished and I'm getting ready to close it down. Man, I think everyone will be happy and satisfied with the product. I've been working on that album for a very long time so this will definitely be amongst the favourites of the fans.”
But Krayzie explains writing individually is somewhat of a double-edged sword.
“When you're doing solo work … it’s a lot more work, a lot more time consuming and you really have to put thought into the material and the music and just everything you do. But it's also a good thing because you don't have to wait for anybody, you don't have to run ideas past anybody – everything you decide is your decision on what you want to do.”
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Play Werd Of Mouth at The Coolangatta Hotel Wednesday September 26.