For many in the Hip-Hop industry, as an artist, you can only dream of ever working with Biggie and Tupac. Only few can brag about this very rare feat. For Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, that dream was a reality. Not only can they brag, but they have been fortunate enough to create a classics with the two Hip-Hop legends.
Not only create songs with Tupac and Biggie on different occasions, but during a very intense period of time in Hip-Hop. The West Coast vs. East Coast “war”. Or whatever you want to call it. No one can deny the impact it had on the game. It had taken over the entire industry.
Losing two of the greats that ever did it, was the unfortunate results of the war. We take a look at Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and how it was to work with Biggie and Tupac on two amazing songs.
Life After Death
After Biggie’s passing on March 9th of 1997, Bad Boy records went on to release Biggie’s second and final studio album. The double CD, ‘Life After Death’ would feature Cleveland’s own, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony on the song ‘Notorious Thugs’.
The connection was made while Bone Thugs were in L.A. recording their album ‘Art Of War’. Biggie Smalls would also be in L.A., and quickly told Puff Daddy to make the call. Puffy went ahead and called Bone Thugs manager Steve Lobel, and explained how Biggie, wanted Bone Thugs on ‘Life After Death’.
Which side are you on?
Bizzy explained on the Breakfast Club, how Biggie initially thought Bone Thugs wouldn’t be feeling the idea of collaborating together. “Well, I think BIG was like, he thought we loved ‘Pac, so much that we wasn’t gon be on his vibe.” Bone Thugs-N-Harmony wasn’t looking to take sides, even if at the time, many were choosing sides. East Coast or West Coast.
Bone with get the best advice at the time from their mentor, Eazy-E. “”I ain’t gon lie we wanted to jump into like everybody else did, ride the bandwagon, But, Eazy-E told us like F*** all that’. Ya” ll bigger than that. I don’t need ya’ll into none of that. Ya’ll ain’t got nothing to do with it. All I need is ya’ll to your music,” explained Wish Bone.
The album was basically done, but Biggie wanted to have Bone Thugs on for the final piece to the classic album. “We all jumped up and was like hell yeah we tryna be on this album,” explained Krayzie Bone to BET in 2017.
Stevie J who produced the song, was approached personally by BIG to create the beat. At first it almost ended up not being the beat we all know and love now on Notorious Thugs. Puffy had other ideas. “Puffy kept playing different beats. Not the beat I created. I guess, you know he had multiple hit men, so he was trying to sell beats. They was like ‘nah that ain’t it, nah that ain’t it’. I’m like yo play that joint from last night,” explained Stevie J. After rejecting multiple beats, Bone listened to Stevie J’s beat for the song and according to Stevie J, “Bone went crazy.”
When Bone Thugs came into the studio BIG made sure they would get into a zone. “So we go to the studio, and just remember walking in, and BIG had it all set out. We saw the liquor, and stuff. We dove right in,” added Krayzie Bone.
Bone Thugs would end up knocking out from all the liquor, but when they woke back up, they hit the booth and knocked out their verses. According to Krayzie Bone, that impressed Biggie, as Biggie said he had never seen anything like that before in his life. “BIG was like god damn. Ya’ll work fast as hell,” says Krayzie Bone during an interview with Hard Knock TV.
Speaking on being drunk, Layzie Bone remembers being knocked out, drunk as hell. Drunk to the point he went to the limo and passed out. Only to be woken up by Bizzy Bone, when it was Layzie’s turned in the booth. “Bizzy came waking me up talking about ‘hey man it’s your turn’. I’m like ya ni**as finished already?”
Biggie masters Bone’s flow
After Bone Thugs completed their verses, Biggie told Puff he would take the beat home back to New York and work on his verse. The result, an instant classic with an incredible delivery, living up to the hype. Bone Thugs would hear the final version of the song when it came it on the album. “We didn’t get to hear it until we got the CD. It was off the hook. We was like that ni**a BIG flipping this sh*t. It was all love,” says Layzie Bone.
In 1996, Tupac was working at an extremely fast pace. From making movies, to fashion shows, to the hundreds of songs that he recorded. Tupac was the hardest working man, with his work ethic described by many as contiguous, and second to none.
This was on full display when Tupac met Bone Thugs-N-Harmony for the first time. “That actually had jumped off when Bizzy and ‘Pac had met up somewhere, and they actually kicked the song off, says Wish Bone. Me, Layzie, and Flesh had met ‘Pac previously when he first got out of jail, at the La Park Hotel in L.A. He drove up in the Benz and jumped out, you know, ‘f*** all that beef sh*t’.”
Difference between Biggie and Tupac
“‘Pac was like off the wall with it, always up, laugh, kicking it. To me Biggie was more like reserved, and laid back and watching everything,” explained Krayzie Bone. “With ‘Pac he out on the floor the whole time like, ‘we gon do it like this!’. It was night and day to me, but you could see they was super creative.”
“Great dudes man. The Mount Rushmore’s. I call them the Mount Rushmore’s of Hip Hop,” says Bizzy Bone on the Breakfast Club in 2019.
Which song is the best?
Thug Luv or Notorious Thugs? Which is the best overall song. Drop a comment below or vote via twitter!