As one-fourth of the successful rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Krayzie Bone has had his share of ups and downs during his 15 years in the music industry. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony began in Cleveland, Ohio, and the group, which also included a fifth member, Flesh-N-Bone, made their way to Los Angeles, California, where they met with Eazy-E, a member of the group N.W.A. and co-founder of Ruthless Records. With their rapid-fire rhyme delivery and original beats, Bone Thugs quickly impressed Eazy, who signed them to a record deal. Krayzie Bone, Layzie Bone, Wish Bone, and Bizzy Bone all signed. Flesh-N-Bone had legal problems and would be sentenced to time in jail throughout the group's early years.
Krayzie Bone and the rest released their first EP, Creepin on ah Come Up, with the single "Thuggish Ruggish Bone" becoming an instant hit. Never before had listeners heard such harmonies and quick deliveries of lyrics, which went against the rap that was being played on the airwaves in the 1990s. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony followed with a full-length release, E 1999 Eternal, which continued to find success on the charts. The untimely death of Eazy-E soon changed the group's future, as they experienced conflicts with the new CEO, Tomika Woods-Wright, Eazy's widow. Krayzie Bone would release several solo efforts, but never met with the same success that he had with the group's first album. He did win a 2006 Grammy Award for his guest shot on rapper Chamillionaire's single "Ridin'."
Found Success With Group
Born Anthony Henderson on June 17, 1974, in Cleveland, Ohio, Krayzie Bone met fellow group members as a teen. They were a tight-knit group who all became drug dealers and a rap group who also wanted to sing. Before choosing a different path, Krayzie, while high on drugs and alcohol, accidentally shot fellow member and friend Wish Bone in the leg. He was arrested and sentenced to prison for a year and a half. Recognizing that a life filled with drugs would only lead to death, the members caught a bus to Los Angeles to shop their demo.
Krayzie Bone and the group soon caught the attention of rapper/producer Eazy-E, who had co-founded Ruthless Records. As a member of the revolutionary N.W.A., Eazy saw the potential in Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and signed them to a deal. The group's first release, an EP titled Creepin on ah Come Up, met with critical acclaim. The summer anthem "Thuggish Ruggish Bone" became a hit, especially in the Midwest. Member Layzie Bone told Allison Samuels of Newsweek, "We always want to give off that Cleveland vibe, and we always put our city in our music. … We're just making music that sounds good and people like." The EP was followed by the release of E 1999 Eternal, which included the hit singles "1st of tha Month" and "Tha Crossroads." The group's meteoric rise continued, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony won a Grammy Award for "Tha Crossroads," an ode to fallen friends.
Death Caused Friction
Krayzie Bone and the others were riding high when Eazy-E died unexpectedly. Trouble for the group began when his widow, Tomika Woods-Wright, stepped in as CEO. The group alleged that Woods-Wright was stifling their creativity by wanting them to recreate the success of "Tha Crossroads." Krayzie told George Skoutakis of the Westcoast2k web site, "She didn't have the vision; Eazy E had the vision for the company." At the same, the trend that had group members releasing solo albums was at an all-time high, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony was no exception. Group member Bizzy Bone released his solo album first. The group followed with The Art of War, which fans thought was good but not Bone Thugs' best.
Krayzie Bone also opted to do a solo project. He released Thug Mentality in 1999, and followed that with Thug on da Line before reuniting with all members of Bone Thugs for BTNHResurrection in 2000. Both Krayzie and the group had moderate success, but nothing compared to their first two releases.
Signed Solo Deal With Ball'r
Bone Thugs' struggles within the group and against the record label finally took their toll. The members were at odds with Bizzy Bone and requested to be released from their contracts. After 2002's Thug World Order met with dismal sales, Ruthless Records CEO Woods-Wright released the group from the label. Krayzie, who had signed a solo deal with Ball'r Records, released his third CD, Gemini: Good vs. Evil. He told Skoutakis his reasons for signing with Ball'r: "Man, you start learning the system and you start recognizing what's what. I was just feeling that with this company right here I would get the attention I need. … I would be able to run and handle everything myself." Bone Thugs-N-Harmony without Bizzy Bone released the CD Strength & Loyalty (2007, for Interscope), which included many guest appearances from such notables as singer Mariah Carey and rappers Bow Wow, Akon, and Twista. The group also made their film debuts with the 2007 release of I Tried, a what-if-they-never-met-Eazy-E-or-came-to-Los-Angeles scenario.
Krayzie Bone also made an appearance on rapper Chamillionaire's single "Ridin'," and it quickly climbed the charts. The single landed the duo a Grammy Award. Despite a 15-year career full of highs and lows, Krayzie Bone has continued to persevere in an industry that appears to change on any and every whim.
For the Record …
Born Anthony Henderson on June 17, 1974, in Cleveland, OH; children: Destiny, Melanie, Nathan, Malaysia.
As a teen, formed rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, c. 1990s with members Bizzy Bone, Flesh-N-Bone, Layzie Bone, and Wish Bone; signed with Ruthless Records, Los Angeles, CA, 1994-2002; released group EP Creepin on ah Come Up, 1994; released first CD, E 1999 Eternal, 1995; released The Art of War, 1997; released solo CD Thug Mentality, 1999; released group CD BTNHResurrection, 2000; released second solo, Thug on da Line, 2001; fourth group release, Thug World Order, 2002; signed solo deal with Ball'r Records, 2004; released third solo, Gemini: Good vs. Evil, 2005; group released internet only CD, Everyday Thugs, 2006; group signed with Interscope Records, dropped member Bizzy Bone; released Strength & Loyalty, 2007; released film I Tried, 2007.
Awards: (With Bone Thugs-N-Harmony) Grammy Award, Best Rap Performance by Duo or Group, for "Tha Crossroads," 1997; American Music Awards, Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist, 1998, Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Band, Duo or Group, 2007; (with Chamillionaire) Grammy Award, Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, 2007; MTV Video Music Award, Best Rap Video, 2007.
Addresses: Record company—Interscope Records, 2220 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404.
(with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony) Creepin on ah Come Up, Ruthless, 1994.
(With Bone Thugs-N-Harmony) E 1999 Eternal, Ruthless, 1995.
(With Bone Thugs-N-Harmony) The Art of War, Ruthless, 1997.
Thug Mentality, Relativity, 1999.
(With Bone Thugs-N-Harmony) BTNHResurrection, Ruthless, 2000.
Thug on da Line, Loud, 2001.
(With Bone Thugs-N-Harmony) Thug World Order, Ruthless, 2002.
Gemini: Good vs. Evil, Ball'r, 2005.
(With Bone Thugs-N-Harmony) Strength & Loyalty, Interscope, 2007.
Business Wire, January 27, 2004; February 12, 2007.
Entertainment Weekly, July 20, 2001, p. 65.
Newsweek, July 28, 1997, pp. 65-66.
"Bone Thugs-N-Harmony," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (January 12, 2008).
"Exclusive Krayzie Bone Interview," Westcoast 2k, http://www.westcoast2k.net/interviews/krayzie.htm (January 12, 2008).
"Krayzie Bone," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (January 12, 2008).
"Krayzie Bone," BTNH Central, http://btnhcentral.hiphopcrack.com/krayziebone.php (January 12, 2008).
"SOHH Exclusive: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Make Their Acting Debut," SOHH, http://www.sohh.com/articles/article.php/12597 (January 12, 2008).
—Ashyia N. Henderson
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