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Interview: Flesh-n-Bone Reflects 20 Years After “Tha Crossroads”

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of their GRAMMY Award winning song, “Tha Crossroads,” Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are headed across the country for a series of live concerts and meet-and-greet events—including upcoming performances at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square, Manhattan on Feb. 24 and The Emporium in Patchogue, Long Island on Feb. 25.

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony formed in 1991, but didn’t hit it big until 1993, when “the Godfather of West Coast gangsta rap” and N.W.A. co-founder Eric “Eazy-E” Wright signed five rappers from Cleveland, Ohio—”Krayzie,””Layzie,” “Bizzy,” “Wish” and “Flesh”—to his label, Ruthless Records.

According to Stanley Howse, a.k.a. Flesh-n-Bone, “Crossroads” was originally written in dedication of Wallace “Wally” Laird III—a departed friend of the group—but after Wright died, in March 1995, they decided to go back and re-record “Tha Crossroads” for their second studio album E. 1999 Eternal.

“The record was pushed back around the time Eazy-E started to fall sick,” Howse said. “So, right now, there are about three or four different versions out there.”

Salute recently caught up with Howse while at home in Calif., to talk about Eazy-E, plans for a possible Bone Thugs motion picture and their upcoming New York performances.

Can you believe it has been 20 years since Bone Thugs-N-Harmony released their GRAMMY Award winning single “Tha Crossroads?” 

Flesh-n-Bone: Actually, we can’t believe it. It has been an amazing career and brand new opportunities are bubbling. There’s even talks of a Bone Thugs movie and I am [currently] working on writing a book myself.

We’re so busy, but we enjoy the status that we have as a touring act. Being able to [perform live] and we’re still selling out shows. It shows how “Tha Crossroads” has just as much impact today as it did 20 years ago.

Apart from being dedicated to the group’s co-founder and mentor Eazy-E, what is it about this song that makes it so special to so many fans? 

It’s a legacy that we’ve developed. Not just by working with Eazy-E, but you got to look at what we did musically with the late-great Tupac Shakur, the late-great Biggie Smalls and the late-great Big Pun.
We’ve collaborated with all these special people who are not here with us. There is no other group that has been able to share that special music… and that is what separates Bone Thugs. You can’t compare it to anyone else.
The 88th annual Academy Awards will be presented just a few nights after your performance in February. In light of the Oscar buzz, I wanted to see what you thought of the Straight Outta Compton movie? As someone close to Eazy-E, what did you think of the film’s portrayal? 

It was a great biopic. We were at the world premiere in L.A. We felt a little bit was held back, because Eazy-E had a very close relationship with Bone Thugs. From 1993-95 we were with Eazy-E damn near everyday. They didn’t show that too much.

Even though it came out [in the film] that he was sick, he wasn’t down and out like that. Eazy-E wasn’t broke at all, but they made him look that way in the movie.

Do you think the Oscars snubbed the film? 

I am going to be 100 percent real with you. Yes and no. All this crazy hoopla about boycotting the Oscars, I’m not going to bite my tongue. Straight Outta Compton was probably one of the only urban type movies out there, but just because it didn’t get an Oscar, doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie.

I’m not going to boycott the Oscars. There is a stereotypical role that different cultures tend to gravitate to. They’re playing a role that can be worthy of an Oscar nomination.

Not to say it’s not Oscar worthy. I don’t believe in inequality and I don’t appreciate people who play that game. Choose your roles more wisely. You can debate me. It’s their own fault if they latch onto stereotypes. This land is very special. It’s the only land in the world that remedied slavery.

There is no inequality. Instead of focusing on getting their shit together these lame ass negroes ain’t got shit to do but complain? So what? The Oscars can do what they want to do.

A lot of buzz has been circulating that Ice Cube is planning to reunite the living members of N.W.A. for a performance at Coachella. Have you heard anything about it? 

There are a lot of speculations on it. It will be interesting to see how that turns out. If he does, it would be great if Bone Thugs-N-Harmony can play a part in that… especially if they decide to do a record.

So, what are your plans for 2016? 

We’ve got a lot of Aces up our sleeves. We’re in talks about our own biopic about our contributions to music. And as we focus on building our tour, we hope that by the summer to put some new singles out there. That is what we’re aiming for right now.

Be sure to catch Bone Thugs-N-Harmony at the PlayStation Theater on Feb. 24 and The Emporium in Patchogue on Feb. 25. For tickets and more information visit Facebook.com/OfficialBoneThugs.

Follow Flesh-n-Bone on Twitter @FleshnboneBNTH or visit fleshnboneglobal.com for more information.  

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