As a multi-billion dollar industry with a near half-century worth of contributors, hip-hop has produced some of the unequivocally eccentric, charismatic and singular artists into modern pop culture.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard; Cam’Ron; Andre 3000; Kool Keith – amongst the most unique artists in and outside of hip-hop. Such a list of creative titans must include Bizzy Bone: one-fifth of the legendary Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and responsible for creating his own prolific portfolio.
With thirteen official solo albums beginning with his debut Heaven’z Movie in 1998 to his newest projects Carbon Monoxide (2019) and The Mantra (2020), Bizzy belongs to an exclusive echelon of MC’s capable of creating diverse content built upon incredible flow, delivery and enough emotional sustenance to crossover into pop star territory.
Born Bryon Anthony McCane II, Bizzy had led an incredibly difficult albeit fruitful existence since his birth in 1976. As part of Bone Thugs, Bizzy has won a Grammy Award (1997’s Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for “Tha Crossroads”), two American Music Awards (Artist Rap/Hip Hop in 1998 and Rap/Hip-Hop Band/Duo/Group in 2007), starred in four motion pictures and had arguably the greatest verse of 2013 from Bone’s “20 Year Anniversary Cypher” – twenty years removed from the group’s Faces of Death debut EP.
A devout vegan, family and business man, Bizzy has merged his successful hip-hop career with a vulnerable spiritual journey. At times wanderer, Bizzy has also carried himself as a leader, teacher and sincere explorer of life. His commitment to authenticity – both in and outside of hip-hop – has endeared him to fans, carrying his emotional honesty on his sleeve amongst his numerous tattoos.
Whether discussing current events with his wife Jessica on his successful YouTube channel Jam TV or dropping in on major radio stations like The Breakfast Club, Bizzy Bone has remained relevant through music and media for over two decades. As Eazy-E stated in regards to Bone Thugs-n-Harmony:
“They plan on being here for the longevity – just like me. I had one album out in 1988; that was one album. They’re going to do just as good. I’m going to make sure of that.”
As one of Eazy’s last discoveries – along with his 1992 signing of the Black Eyed Peas – Bone Thugs were always expected to become major stars, their delivery capable of establishing an entirely new stylistic output not yet realized by hip-hop. Always hovering within the middle of the quintet has been Bizzy, despite his employment status within the group changing to quit or fired. As anyone even merely aware of the group knows, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony is forever. Their bond? Unbreakable. Their shared experience of making history? Undeniable.
Representing Cleveland, Ohio geographically, Bizzy nonetheless has often reflected the earnest and honest division of the human condition, full of humility, curiosity and core principles. With major plans to release an autobiographical movie, a Bone Thugs movie akin to Straight Outta Compton and several more solo albums planned for the next two years, Bizzy Bone is consistently working, consistently creating and inviting listeners into his journey with no filter or pretense.
After the success of Carbon Monoxide – his solo album from 2019 (and first in five years) – Bizzy returns with The Mantra – his seventeen-track follow-up released in September 2020. Similar to Carbon Monoxide, the project is completely produced by Blais yet contains no features; just pure Bizzy in his singular talent. If lead singles “Black Milk” and “Murder for Hire” are any indication, Bizzy continues dropping original heat while his forty-fourth birthday approached in mid-September.
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Bizzy Bone is hip-hop. Bizzy Bone is reality. Bizzy Bone is eternal.
What’s going on, bro?
Just really want to thank you for your time and for everything you’ve done for me over the years. You’ve done more than you know, so I really just appreciate you and I want to make sure I say thank you.
Hey, I appreciate you as well. We’ve been buds for awhile; I really, really, really appreciate just everything over the years, man. The communication and never being hard to get in contact with and your patience is second-to-none.
You’ve seen the world and been a couple of decades deep into the game. But every album I’ve ever heard of yours sounds really true to yourself. How do you find the motivation to constantly come out with things that are really true to you?
I find the motivation to stay true to myself and my music because I was that guy in his room by himself at nine years old writing songs, writing raps. And it was a passion of mine and a love of mine and I love to be able to do it. And then when I would write material and memorize it, I was able to go out and let different people hear it. And they kept saying, “Dude, you’re so talented; that is so good. Keep going. Keep going.” And I was encouraged.
So I stay true to myself from the encouragement of the people that were around me when I started out and the encouragement of the people that are around me now. And that just keeps me going. How do they say it? “The roots are in.” Like, I’m rooted in this. I forget the saying and how it goes, but… Now that I’m here, it’s that eternal, everlasting push to stay true to myself.
That’s about as authentic as it gets. But what I’ve known about you researching you over the years and years and years – it’s like you’ve had wins and losses, trials and tribulations, ups and downs and through it all, not only have you stayed true to yourself, but I’ve personally never heard you doubt yourself in public. I feel like your self-belief is through the roof – even when you’re down! How have you built that self-belief that you’re unbreakable?
It comes from all of the punches that I took along the way and all of the punches that I take now. All the shots that I take and all the knives that I’ve had in my back. It does something to you. It makes you numb to certain things – like adversity or a brick wall in front of you. You walk through it – or you plow through it. And you have been through so much and your body is so calloused that you’re actually going to try to run through it.
Without shitting on anybody in my life or any instances and circumstances, I think that’s what did it. And by not shitting on anybody, I’m not giving them the credit of making me strong, either. So it works two ways. Beauty is a strong thing.
Touring is so important to you to make sure that you’re constantly reenergizing and re-checking in with the fans. And your live shows are just full of passion and full of emotion that you’re really checking in with your fans and they can feel your energy. I’ve never seen you phone it in, you know? How important and why do you still feel the need to tour even though you’re a true legend?
I feel like it’s a need to tour because I love the people that have constantly been supporting Bizzy Bone / Bone Thugs-n-Harmony my – our – entire career. It’s a satisfaction when you do a show and then they say, “Thank you; it was a great show. I really appreciate you; can’t wait until the next one.” It means they had a good time that night. They felt something that they hadn’t felt in a long time and they know someone’s on that stage that really cares about their craft; that wants to put in that extra 175% effort so you didn’t waste a nickel to get in there. You didn’t waste a dime of your money.
Even if every other act was bullshit: when Bizzy gets on the stage… Bone Thug! You were entertained. That’s how I look at it.
I’ve studied you for years and I wrote a whole book and… I’ve never seen you be inauthentic. It’s a little bit off the topic, but how did you get such a work ethic that you’re constantly touring, you’re constantly putting artists on under you, you’re constantly putting out quality work? You have your own book, you have acting, you have your vlog. You have all these things you’re constantly, constantly working on; how did you develop that over the years where you just never stopped and your quality has never suffered, either?
I’m grateful for that. I work really, really hard. I read a lot. I make sure that I write music a lot. I make sure that I don’t just put anything out; it’s not the first thing that I write down – I think about it. I make sure that the rhythms are where they need to be. And when I’m on that stage I make sure my energy is up from working out. I’m able to say the lyrics and I’m healthy so I can make it through it and waltz past it.
So I appreciate you. I thank you and I can say it is a work ethic that goes behind it; I do put in that work.
You’ve been a father multiple times and you’ve been a father at a young age to where now your kids are grown and artists themselves. Did you have so much going on in your life that it was just part of what was going on in your life or how did or does it currently affect your artistry if at all? Does that make sense?
Oh, for sure. Fatherhood is… Once you’re a father, you’re always a father – from the very first child to your very last child. And it does affect you. There was a rift because I was a father within the label and even my fellas at times. Because I couldn’t be at all the L.A. parties and hands in the air and party like you just don’t care. Ride around in the 6-4 with the drop top… Man, I was getting milk and Pampers and a place. Healthcare, shots for children.
I was a father very early – from fourteen or fifteen years old. We met Eazy at sixteen, seventeen. And then he died. So my kids were getting older – old enough to go to school at that time after that period when we got to cookin’. That’s why you would always hear in my music a different perspective. You know: “Why is he talking about his kids?” It was different… if you just go back into the music and you listen to certain songs.
It changes what you write; it changes how you think. Whether for the good or for the bad or whoever may be judging at that particular time, it definitely changes your entire whole M.O. So I’ve always been on that wave from a very young age; responsible. Have to be.
When I think of you and what you said about being a father and Carbon Monoxide or “Muddy Waters” or Alpha and Omega: there’s so many instances where you’ve just been super honest. And like you said, I’ve never heard you bad-mouth anybody. So were you surprised when people were taking shots at you, when you’re still not only a legend in the game but you’re still super-relevant? It’s not like they took shots at somebody retired. Like, you’re currently a Don. Do you feel appreciated as an artist or do you perpetually have a chip on your shoulder? I don’t feel you get the appreciation you deserve; how do you feel?
I don’t really look at it in that way. I look at it like I have a particular relationship with the people that hear me. And there are different generational gaps that happen in between music. And if you can last that particular test of time, then the respect that you get from people is endless. It’s more respect and more respect and more respect and more respect as you last through that test of time.
Now anyone that’s not respecting it: that’s usually some troll. Some unimportant person within themselves trolling you to get a reaction. Now I don’t think nobody should be concerned with that. But let’s just say it’s somebody like, hmm, the Migos. Then… then you are taken aback. But it’s the level of it. Who’s doing it? Who’s not really even saying our music is good or any criticism that puts us in a position where we may not feel like we’re accomplished.
So I think it’s the levels of it; it’s who’s saying it. When it’s somebody that’s like my peer? It’s going to touch me. If it’s somebody just on the Internet or in the DM or somebody trolling you to get a reaction – then depending on the moment in the day, I’m either going to brush it off my shoulder or DM a motherfucker back like, “Fuck that. What’s up? Fuck you, man!” It just depends on how I am feeling that day! I’m a real person. Everybody loses their shit every now and again.
So that’s how I would look at it. If the Migos say it, then it’s intent. If a troll says it or something of that nature, then it’s not as intent. You feel me? Did I answer? Did I answer what you were asking?
Bizzy Answers The Migos In “Shmurda”
100%! But the thing that’s funny to me is I see these headlines and I’m saying, “OK, Migos, whatever. They’re popping right now but they don’t make quality music.” Then you got Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, 2Pac back in the day, you got Dizzy Wright… You got all these people that currently really actually have substance that fuck with Bone and fuck with Bizzy – and then you got some cats that maybe sell records but they don’t really have substance in their music that are dissing. Like that ends it right there; you don’t even have to say nothing, you know?
I think it makes for good sport. I think they were pushed into it. I don’t think that’s coming directly from their hearts. Everybody gets pushed; something’s pushing them, touching them to make you say something to somebody on some slick shit or whatever it may be and things happen. But it’s great sport; it’s great for hip-hop. It really, really, really, really is. It’s great for hip-hop. You can’t get too much in your feelings. They said what they said; we said what we said. They said it in their own way; not with music – social media. We answered with music… and a little social media. And that’s basically what happened.
This is what hip-hop was raised on. One of the biggest genres right now has come back into style and became a format which is battle rap. It’s the place in hip-hop for it. That whole bougie, “I’m good. I’m too big for that.” All that? No, that ain’t hip-hop. “I’m taking the higher road.” Nah… that ain’t hip-hop. I feel you. And we got enough paper to ‘take the legend route’… nah. That ain’t hip-hop. It just depends on how you look at it, you know?
I’m a very strict vegan and I know that you’re on the same path. So how did you become vegetarian and vegan and what does that mean to your life? Because just like becoming a father – becoming a vegan changed the way I look at things.
It’s funny that you say that because being a father led me to it. Seeing the kids on different formulas and et cetera – it did something to my mind as I began to learn the world. It turned me into a fucking… I was Doctor fucking Sebi on my own self; I’m searching this, I’m searching that. Let me try not to eat red meat, I heard it was bad. OK, I’m only going to mess with chicken and I’m only going to mess with fish. And then stopped with the chicken; and then stopped with the fish. And then it’s go all vegan.
Then our choices – me being on the road, not being able to focus. “Ah man, let me go get me a piece of chicken.” And so I walked that path early, like at nineteen, twenty. So now I’m just steady on that path of doing what’s healthy.
My son actually came up to me and he said, “Dad, I’m on this Doctor Sebi thing.” I’m like, “Cool, what is it? I’ll roll with you on it. I ain’t got nothing else better to do but get healthier.” And my fiancé: she’s a steak and a chicken and Texas girl; that’s what she likes. And I’m just so happen to be a chef in the making. So it works out in my household.
But on that path, it’s hard to explain to other people what it does to the inside of your body. It gives you energy out of this world. I got so many things on my plate, I only need but four-to-five hours of sleep legitimately and I’m up and I’m moving. I just can’t do anything else but get up and move.
It’s also a discipline because you got to be careful of what you eat and when you eat. You got to get the right breads, et cetera. It’s a good path to be on because, look – I was having all kinds of problems. Soon as I got back to veganism – they went away. I’m talking about what’s in my body. They just went away; with good exercise, they went away.
A lot of people could be a foot from the goddamn hospital and going vegan and adopting a healthy lifestyle can save their whole life. Giving up Pepsi and soda and shit… I don’t even drink carbonated water up this bitch. Giving up all of that bullshit. It can save your motherfucking life. And that’s the best thing that I can tell them about this shit.
So when you talk about Blais, you talk about (YBL) Sinatra and you talk about folks that have gone on, passed. When you were the nine-year old kid writing rhymes, and now you’ve seen the world and you’ve won awards and you’re a legend; you’re still current, you’re still relevant. What does it mean that you now put other people on? You have artists coming up under you that you’re directly putting them on into their career? That’s a crazy journey.
Rest in peace to my guys: Big B from “Change the World” – fastest record to ever reach double-Platinum – passed away, rest in Heaven. “7 Sign” (with) Mr. Maje$ty – got him on the Blade soundtrack (“Blade 4 Glory”) that went Platinum. He’s still alive; got some good stuff going on over there. My little brother Capo: he was on a couple of Bone songs. Rasu: he was on The Beginning and The End record with me.
And I’ve done this before. And after almost everybody on my little labels – or we called it a family. Everybody in the Seventh Sign family, like, died. Except one or two people. It made me just go into a shell and not really work with too many people after that.
So now my son – my guy – my niece… it’s right. It’s the right thing to do. My other son Junior (Lil Bizzy): I supported his career from the background. Taking care of him and letting him go on his dream. He made that hit single “Bizzy’s In The House” and he was off and running. So I’ve been doing it; just kind of not really saying too much. It does feel good to help other people because I was helped, as well.
And me and my guys: we stood together strong. All of us. So when you have a band of brothers and you’re leaning on each other and that’s you’re come-up, you tend to have strong enough shoulders for someone else to lean on you. It just happens like that; it just grows into that just because of what you’ve received in life.
Your perseverance could transcend music. I wish that you would do public speaking or something when you retire because it’s just incredible what you continue to do.
Yeah, man; I really, really appreciate that, man. One thing I always learned, my brother, is that no matter who you talk to – everybody has a story. And it’s equally fucked up. There’s very few instances where you just look at someone and their whole life is perfect; those be the craziest motherfuckers in the world. So definitely, man. Definitely. We persevere; we get stronger. And because others are going through shit, I can always find somebody going through worse. I can always find that. And not to say, “Well, at least I’m not there” but “You’re strong enough to get past this because look at what they’re going through. And they’re getting past that.”
So that’s what rebuilds me and my character. It’s not a competition-type of a thing where you dig real, real deep, but it’s just access to making yourself the best person you can possibly make yourself into being; without taking shit from people! Do good – but take no shit. Flat-out.
I’ve adopted the science and the understandings of planned projects forward. All the way up until 2022 I have releases scheduled. I want to be able to tell people periodically by doing it consistently. Consistency. Beautiful music, consistent music. Current and concurrent music is the goal of Bizzy Bone. To reach all of the world that loves Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and give them every song that I can possibly give them – to take them to the next level mentally, spiritually and maybe physically. My goal.
Carbon Monoxide: it’s one of the best records I’ve done to-date. The mixing and the mastering are perfect. Big shouts out to Blais my man with the master plan. JamTV.
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@mrmcane on Instagram. @IAmBizzyBone on Facebook. The website is www.iambizzybone.com. My YouTube channel: JamTV. Every Thursday and every Saturday you can check me out and see what I’m doing; new music and just being me in my lane. Bone Thugs-n-Harmony forever. Check out the newest projects from all of my guys. And every city and show that we show up at – it will always be a kick-ass show. God bless everybody out there.
And the list goes on and on and on and on…