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Bone Thugs-n-Harmony returns for trio of concerts
BY GARY CHUN / firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re a local hip-hop head, you’re probably a fan of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.
The Cleveland crew last played Hawaii about 16 years ago at what was the After Dark concert venue on Nimitz Highway. With their trademark close-singing harmonies and smooth rap flow, the crew performed before an adoring crowd, riding high on the national success of the songs “1st of tha Month” and “Tha Crossroads” from their sophomore breakout album, “E. 1999 Eternal.”
POINT PANIC MUSIC FESTIVAL
Where: Kakaako Waterfront Park Amphitheatre
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Cost: $39.50, $90 VIP
Info: 855-235-2867 or flavorus.com
“Tha Crossroads,” a tribute to BTH mentor Eazy-E, won a Grammy in 1997. Largely on the strength of the band’s ’90s work, MTV has labeled them “the most melodic hip-hop group of all time.”
Fast-forward to this year, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony reunited for a 20th anniversary tour, performing the entirety of “E. 1999 Eternal” at Rock the Bells.
Much of that album and other hits will be rolled out for Hawaii audiences this weekend as Bone headlines this year’s Point Panic Music Festival, playing Maui today, Oahu on Saturday and Kauai on Sunday.
The Oahu version at Kakaako Waterfront Park Amphitheatre will include the return of crowd favorites and groove masters Sublime with Rome and Groundation.
Bizzy Bone, aka 36-year-old Bryon Anthony McCane II, is back in fighting shape and the author of an autobiography that came out in September, “Inside a Bizzy Mind.”
Back out on tour in full force, McCane said by phone last week that the original crew “needed to get out there to show that we’re still here. My book was to help keep the PR campaign going while telling my story.”
“We know what’s real,” McCane said. “We’re like the Megadeth or Aerosmith of hip-hop, showing younger groups how it used to be done.”
McCane was a teen living with his sisters and his stepfather in the rough neighborhood of Glenville in Cleveland when, in 1991, he and his brother in rap formed what would become Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. Members were Krayzie Bone (Anthony Henderson), Layzie Bone (Steven Howse), Flesh-n-Bone (Stanley Howse, older brother to Steven) and Wish Bone (Charles Scruggs, cousin to the Howse brothers).
McCane had already experienced harrowing things in his life, including an abduction to Oklahoma by a sister’s biological father at age 4. (The children were returned to their mother after their story appeared on “America’s Most Wanted.”)
After Bone Thugs-n-Harmony experienced success, McCane succumbed to the pressure and lived on the streets for a time.
He came out the other side years later to continue with his own solo career and now this year’s reunion.
In the introduction to his book, he said he wanted his autobiography — subtitled “Bizzy by Choice, Bone by Blood” — “to be about the spiritual war that has been a part of my life, about the music industry, business in general, the past and the future.”
“It seemed the way of my life has been predetermined,” he said. “I grew up in the ghetto … but I’ve learned that whatever you set your mind to, it can take you to a better life five to 10 years down the line. Now I want to progress and continue to develop my artistic side.
“I’m proud to say that we’ve been doing this for 20 years, back when we started underground as Faces of Death.”
PART OF Bizzy’s progress has been to focus on his weight and health. McCane told People magazine in September that he made a concerted effort to get into better shape by giving up alcohol and fast-food habits and exercising regularly.
Now he and the crew want to remind all about Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s importance in hip-hop history.
“Next year I hope we keep touring. We’re getting the sound like it was 20 years ago, the same Bones. It’s a brand that I want to keep going. It’s that simple, supply and demand.
“My Bone brothers are like angels — Krayzie angel, Layzie angel, Flesh-n-angel and Wish angel. It’ll be magnificent with the Hawaii crowd, you’ll see. The people will meet angels and, me, just a man.”