Twenty years ago, Eazy E insisted that Bone Thugs-n-Harmony use the power of the supernatural to draw in listeners. As of today, they've sold over 40 million records around the world.
And now Flesh-n-Bone (AKA Stanley Howse) and Bizzy Bone (AKA Bryon McCane) are coming to Grand Central for their first-ever duo show, alongside five out of six of Three Six Mafia's original lineup and 2 Live Crew's Fresh Kid Ice and Brother Marquis.
Here's what Flesh and Biz had to say about LeBron, the Beatles, and auctioning off their next (and final) album, E. 1999 Legends, to the highest bidder.
Crossfade: Wasup, fellas? How do you feel about comin' back to Miami to headline again?
Flesh-N-Bone: It's a beautiful thing. We love Miami.
Bizzy Bone: I agree. Everybody's had the opportunity in the mega-group to go out as two, go out as four, go out as one. But Flesh and I have never had the opportunity to just stand in front of the crowd and rock the house like we're going to. When we get on stage, it's monumental. It's one of the first times that it's just Flesh and I alone. It's gonna be good to watch.
The most recent album is Art of War: World War III, are you going to be performing that?
Flesh: We masterminded that, and will most certainly be rockin' several joints off of there, as well as material from Resurrection, E. 1999, and solo material. It's a pot of gumbo when it comes to Bone Thugs material. And the energy is crazy as hell.
Bizzy: We're gonna give the crowd what they want. We have too much to choose from, and if all we did was favorites, we'd have a five-hour show. But we're definitely gonna do it for Eazy E and Big B, rest in peace. We're definitely gonna do that "Change the World." We are the energy and the dynamic that brings that oomph to the people.
You're auctioning off the next Bone Thugs album starting with a million-dollar bid, right?
Flesh: Yes. As we move forward with the momentum of the whole situation, we're getting off to the races at $1 million
Bizzy: We have to make sure that no one is just talking out the side of their neck. But people are enthusiastic, from basketball players to people in all the cities we run to with the crew. Layzie is putting his stamp on different cities. Krayzie and Wish are out in Switzerland and Canada. It's the end of an era, but the beginning of a new one.
What does the winning bidder get?
Bizzy: That's the excitement of it. We're gonna work together with them. It's not as if we're throwing a plate of dog food on the table. No, we work in conjunction with this individual, company, whoever, to get it to the people because that's the fun of it.
Flesh: They're going to see all aspects of it, from performance to merch, etc. There's a lot of ancillary revenue coming, so that's why it's interesting. It's gonna drive the numbers of the bids. It may get out of hand.
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What should the world expect from E. 1999 Legends?
Bizzy: All five of us in the prime of our career. Our second wind is our first wind. We have 12-, 13-, 14-year-old fans saying, "Who are these guys?" We're new to them. It's the perfect puzzle. It's us five at our creative peak with that authentic doo-wop in front of the burning barrel. Everything we learned. We're gonna sit down at the round table with the winning bidder and decide on how to maximize their profit potential. We have to let the world hear it. And if it's the Prince of Persia who wins, we have to let the people know. We have to tell the world who this baller is, who this guy or company or group is. And then we go as far as they want for that coin. It's a relationship.
Taking it all the way back to 1994's Creepin on ah Come Up, how'd you come up with the Ouija Board stuff?
Bizzy: This is the story. We're young fellas influenced by intrigue, danger, what's gonna happen in the future, and testing the limitations of the normal psyche of fear. We were youngsters, 14, 15, 16. So we go to Toys R Us and see the Ouija Board box and on the side of it says Parker Brothers. We figure if it says Parker Brothers on the side, then it can't be that bad. For some odd reason, Eazy E was always into playing things backwards and working the fear factor, so we put it together and he insisted that this is gonna intrigue people. You can see now the influence that it's had on ICP and horrorcore rap and so forth. This is one of the songs that originated it. And if you listen to Insane Clown Posse, all their records start like Bone records. We influenced generations, not just by rappin' fast, but also that dark shit.
How's it feel to be up in the heights of matching the Beatles in chart performance?
Flesh: It's phenomenal to be compared to such great groups that go back like that. It's not just exceptional, it's mind blowing. To say that we're still here as a group 20 years later, and people make these comparisons, and the charts and the stats say that we are in this upper echelon of greats, and we're still young and still alive and making a contribution. We want to supersede all others. We wanna be the number-one group that ever did this. Period. This is our status. Legendary. And we wear the crown, and wear it proudly, and we can safely say that Bone Thugs is one of the greatest of all time.
What do you think of LeBron going back to Cleveland?
Flesh: The city turnt up. I think he decided to do it when we ran into him at a party that Chris Bosh threw. Each one of us went up to him individually and said something to him to set the the fire for that decision. It's a no-brainer. LeBron is great for the city and the fans. We're getting ready to see what's going to happen.
Bizzy: I'm expecting Lebron to be Lebron. We were ecstatic when he went to Miami, even when everybody else was mad at him. We had to leave Cleveland to get our championship too. Let that man grow. Miami is a beautiful city to be in.
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Bizzy Bone and Flesh-n-Bone. With Three Six Mafia members performing as Da Mafia 6ix. Hosted by 2 Live Crew, plus sets by Problem Kids, Layce, and DJ Heron. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave, Miami. The show starts at 6 p.m. and tickets cost $25 to $75 plus fees via ticketfly.com. Ages 18 and up. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.