Nearly 20 years later and the melodic hip-hop group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony is still making music. Even though Stanley Howse, better known as Flesh-n-Bone, spent nearly nine years in prison for charges of assault with a deadly weapon and probation violation from 2000 to 2009, the group is currently on tour, after releasing their ninth album, Uni5: The World's Enemy in May. The Daily Texan spoke with Flesh-n-Bone about reuniting with the group, auto-tune and collaborating with the Notorious B.I.G.
The Daily Texan: I grew up listening to Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, so how does it feel being n the scene since 1991? How has the dynamic of Bone Thugs changed?
Flesh-n-Bone: Well, you know the dynamics of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony from 1991 to now, it’s a major thing because we are legends, I feel. We are legend in our own right and we’ve been through all types of situations, all types of battles and weathered so many storms. Bones has proved to be so resilient and diligent in so many different aspects in how we are able to come hard, fall back and then come hard again.
DT: How has your record company Flesh-n-Bone benefited the group?
FB: Having your own record label … I can pretty much be the kind of artist that I want to be without people telling me how I need to tailor my music to appease this crowd or that crowd. I can make music the way I please without having a whole bunch of record labels trying to out shine me with respects to how I should create my music.
DT: How has the current music industry and certain techniques like auto-tune affected the melodic hip hop that Bone Thugs creates
FB: The only auto-tune that might have been on the record is one of the backup singers that we had brought in to sing. Other than that, Bone Thugs has always been against auto-tune because as singers we harmonize. What you are hearing are our vocals is straight raw talent … We’ve never had to go in and tweak our voice to make it sounds better, we use our straight, raw elements … and create the Bone element.
DT: How was it being reunited with your group after eight years in prison?
FB: It was an amazing blessing. It was an amazing experience because coming home to that type of love; you know, you really don’t can’t expect to have that type of situation coming from where I came form. The penal system and all of the correctional systems or whatever out here in LA county is known for having the most notorious prison systems in the nation, so I survived that. I made it through that and to come home. Not everybody that come out of the system that’s designed to be just tough in every word … has family and not to mention a career and other situations way before they come home. Me, I had all of that stuff. God is so merciful and I’ve been working the same day I was released form prison, I went to work. I was picked up on a tour bus by the Bones … We are getting ready to do the tour and that’s once again Bone Thugs-n-Harmony coming back to show some type of growth and maturity with what we do and show the careers we have right now … We are trying to move forward, you know, as business men with all do respect.
DT: A lot of your music is obviously very melodic and reflective and some of it is even inspirational — do you ever feel pressured to be harder or tougher than you are in your music?
FB: Yes. The urge will always compel me to do positive, innovative stuff. So let me tell you something, you are always compelled to hardcore stuff that’s going to come out, no matter how you look at it and then nine times out of ten, that be the most inspirational stuff because it’s the human experience that counts. As artists, you should be able to express these the human experiences. As an artist I do feel that all artists are dully bound to try to make this music essentially positive in a sense, positive and inspirational in a sense … music has to be meaningful.
DT: How was it collaborating with Notorious B.I.G. on the song “Notorious Thugs?”
FB: Oh my goodness, those dudes when I met him, he and Puff Daddy was here in Los Angeles and it was an amazing experience. I remember that studio session like it was yesterday. Biggie for the most part was real quiet and shy for some reason, I think it might have been all the smoke [laughs] … he was kind of like stuck in the music. Biggie Smalls on a couple of cases on that album that I met with him, his personality was definitely a great personality and it’s no wonder who he was in the music industry that he could make such a name he made for himself. He was a serious artist, he wasn’t a man of too many words, but he was stuck in the song.