20 May 2016

Bizzy Bone's Survivor's Story

From RNZ Music, 10:00 am on 20 May 2016
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (L-to-R: Layzie Bone, Krayzie Bone, Wish Bone, Flesh-n-Bone, Bizzy Bone)

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (L-to-R: Layzie Bone, Krayzie Bone, Wish Bone, Flesh-n-Bone, Bizzy Bone) Photo: Courtesy of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony's Bizzy Bone speaks with Sam Wicks about overcoming his troubled past.

Signed to Eazy-E's Ruthless Records in 1993, Cleveland, Ohio five-piece Bone Thugs-n-Harmony blended tag-team raps with interweaving harmonies more reminiscent of a Motown vocal group than a hip hop outfit. The uniqueness of the melody-rich sound is something that Bone Thugs' Bizzy Bone attributes to Cleveland's isolation.

"It started us chiming after each other, saying each other's raps, completing each other's raps, bringing that Motown to the forefront" he says. "And then it started rapidly changing – and then people started saying, 'You guys got a new sound, this is dope'.

"You know, it was just a good time and Cleveland played a major role in it because you really couldn't get outside of Cleveland to hear anything different; so it was just Cleveland's own sound and I think that's why it took off so much."

Bizzy Bone's high-pitch delivery is perhaps the group's most distinctive, and he has used it to voice a complicated, troubled backstory of abuse and sexual molestation at the hands of caregivers. An active member of the Make a Wish Foundation, Bizzy says it was the influence of friends and family that lead him to speak on his history of abuse.

"I think my people started telling me to do charity work, and then I started telling people my story and they were just looking at me like, for real? And then they were like, 'You need to tell the world, you need to let people know what's going on and how you overcame and triumphed'.

"There's a lot of people out there that's down and out and messed up. I just felt like it was something cool that I could do, just kind of giving back to the people."


Artist: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
Songs: Resurrection (Paper, Paper), Tha Crossroads, Thuggish Ruggish Bone, Get Up & Get It
Composer: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
Album: Greatest Hits
Label: Ruthless