For three years, the growl of one of ATL’s favorite hip-hop sons has been silenced between sour record deals and the red tape of industry politics. This year, Bone Crusher emerges with a new label, a new album and a determination not to become another southern hip-hop casualty. He unleashes his sophomore effort, “Release the Beast,” on July 18th courtesy of Roy Jones, Jr.’s 845 Entertainment/Bodyhead label. The fearless emcee is also next in a line of rap heavyweights to join VH1's “Celebrity Fit Club,” also scheduled to air its fourth season in July. Behold, a man who demands your attention.
MVRemix: Its been three years since you dropped your debut. Why so long in between albums?
Bone Crusher: If you notice, everybody that was on Arista that went to Jive didn’t come out. The Clipse did come out with the “Mr. Me Too” record. But J-kwon was stuck on Jive. Being on Jive is the land of the lost, man because everybody that went to Jive got shelved. Outkast came out and Ciara’s album had dropped right before, or you would have never heard Ciara’s album either. And you know how her career is going right now. So the whole scenario of a label that don’t know what they doing– they sign the artists but don’t want to find nothing out about them. But Jive is Jive, and they are exactly what their name is.
MVRemix: And how have you grown creatively since “AttenCHUN?” How have you grown as a person?
Bone Crusher: Oh, me as a person? You know, I’m grown so I ain’t got much more growing to go. But I try my best to stay as positive as possible in any endeavor I go into, you know what I’m saying? In every situation you learn something new and you grow out of that situation. You learn what to do and what not to do. If it ends up with bad stuff, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh no, I’m not doing that.’ If it leads up to good stuff, you can say, ‘Hmm. Maybe I’ll enhance my life with something like that.’
MVRemix: Right. So tell me about “Release the Beast.”
Bone Crusher: “Release the Beast” is an album that is like I was three years ago, a total hearing tribute to my hunger. If you liked that one, this is basically the same album. It has that same vibe.
MVRemix: Are there guest appearances on the album?
Bone Crusher: Yeah, yeah, yeah. All my artists– Twenty, Cotton– he’s on my first single, “Southern Gorillas.”
MVRemix: What inspired “Southern Gorillas?”
Bone Crusher: Back then, hunger. Hungry. A lot of times, these a lot rappers their music be their money.
MVRemix: What’s real hip-hop to you? How would you describe real hip-hop?
Bone Crusher: Music. Songs. That’s hip-hop to me, you know? At the end of the day, it’s all about the songs. Lyrics and music combined.
MVRemix: OK, but what’s the characteristics– like some people say Nelly’s style is not real hip-hop or Ja Rule wasn’t real hip-hop when he was hot. Is it all hip-hop to you or–?
Bone Crusher: Yeah, it’s all hip-hop. Hip-hop is worldwide and until we understand that, we won’t be able to grow in hip-hop. Hip-hop is no longer on the block no more. Hip-hop is in Susie Mae’s neighborhood. It’s in John Kulkox’s neighborhood. It’s in a foreign neighborhood. It’s everywhere, man. Hip-hop is everywhere. That’s what hip-hop is. The music is everything. Nelly is hip-hop just like KRS-One is hip-hop just like Eminem is hip-hop. Just like Lil’ Jon is hip-hop. It’s all hip-hop, man. There’s several facets to everything that we do. People get caught up in being the same and that’s wack.
MVRemix: What’s up with The Lyrical Giants?
Bone Crusher: The Giants are coming. It’s me, E-40, Magic, Eightball, Killer Mike and– am I forgetting somebody? And me? Did I say me? [Laughs]
MVRemix: [Laughs] Yeah, you mentioned yourself. So when did you know for sure that you wanted to be an emcee?
Bone Crusher: I tell you something. I went to a Fresh Fest concert back in the 80s. I was a little bitty boy back then. But when I heard the music, man– I heard Run DMC and I heard all them, I thought it was amazing and I knew right then that I wanted to do something. I didn’t know what the hell it was, but I had to do something in it.
MVRemix: What kind of music do you listen to other than hip-hop?
Bone Crusher: I listen to rock. I listen to jazz.
MVRemix: You listen to rock? Who in rock do you listen to?
Bone Crusher: Right now, I’m listening to– well, that’s kind of pop rock. I’m listening to 3 Doors Down. I’m listening to Gnarls Barkley right now, but that’s not rock.
MVRemix: You were in “ATL.” How was that experience?
Bone Crusher: Yeah, well I had done two movies already before I did “ATL.” I did “Trois 3: The Escort.” I was featured in that. And I’m in another movie coming out this year called “Dead Heist.” And then I did “ATL.” And now, I’m shooting another movie next year.
MVRemix: I see you’re going to be on “Celebrity Fit Club.” How much weight do you want to lose?
Bone Crusher: I already lost a lot of weight.
MVRemix: What’s a lot?
Bone Crusher: I lost more than 20, 30.
MVRemix: That is a lot. So did you do it for health reasons?
Bone Crusher: Well no, I’m pretty healthy. I just did it just because.
MVRemix: What’s your food weakness?
Bone Crusher: I don’t really have one.
MVRemix: No? From the South?
Bone Crusher: I like all food. My thing is that I don’t really eat a lot of sugar anymore. I don’t eat a lot of pork or fatty food anyway.
MVRemix: If you weren’t in the hip-hop game now, what would you be doing?
Bone Crusher: I don’t know. Struggling probably. [Laughs] I don’t know. Probably cooking. You know, I’m a chef. I got a cooking show on one of these networks. I can’t really talk about it yet, but I’m going to have a cooking show.
MVRemix: Do you freestyle or battle rap?
Bone Crusher: I used to, but I don’t do it anymore. Anything that you do in life, for me, I have to be good. So I haven’t done freestyling in years so for me to say I’m going to go freestyle on a microphone, that ain’t happening. I gotta practice.
MVRemix: How does Atlanta hip-hop stand out from other southern hip-hop?
Bone Crusher: It’s all the same kind of music to me, really. I think it’s all relevant to everything. I mean, Atlanta hip-hop is really no different from Houston. It’s all the same. We all dirty, we all southern. I just think the music is the music, you know. It’s all the same. It all feels good to me. It’s all jumpin.
MVRemix: What’s the biggest sacrifice you’ve made for your career so far?
Bone Crusher: Nothing really, because you know, I keep my family with me at all times– I have five children. So I don’t really have the opportunity to miss my family like that because they travel with me.
MVRemix: The July cover of Vibe asks if Outkast is the greatest hip-hop group of all time. Who would you put in that spot or is it Outkast?
Bone Crusher: No, I think Outkast. A lot of people don’t understand what it means to be diverse, what it means to go into a situation and say, ‘you know what?– like, you gotta think about Outkast as a whole. I mean, not just in units, but how they’ve grown as a group over the years and how they’ve done their thing over the years, doing it the way they want to do it. They’ve never, ever sacrificed their creativity in order to make an album, you know what I’m saying? So they are definitely my top group. I don’t know about the rest of ya’ll, but for me, I think Outkast is the greatest group.
You gotta realize, Andre decided– and see, this is what people don’t realize– Andre decided that, ‘you know what? I don’t want to rap anymore. All I want to do is sing.’ And through his singing, he sold 10 million records. How many of us can say today, ‘you know what? I don’t want to be a writer anymore. I want to be a construction worker’ and end up with the biggest contract in the country. You see what I’m saying? That is– that in general makes them the biggest for me.
MVRemix: What’s your hip-hop legacy? What do you contribute that’s gonna make the next generation of hip-hop fans know who you are?
Bone Crusher: You know, people always say that I am probably one of the first if not the first guy to bring out the new crunk sound of Atlanta. If people feel that way, I let them feel that way. And I let them say that. They see Crusher and they know I’m original. I am the origin-ator.
MVRemix: Who are your five all-time favorite emcees?
Bone Crusher: My five favorite? Andre 3000 is on top of my list. I would say Killer Mike is one of the greatest I’ve ever heard. Let me see. Busta Rhymes. I think E-40 is on my list also because E-40 created a whole new lingo that everybody follows. ‘For sheezy my neezy’ and all that stuff came from E-40. And I would say KRS-One and Q-Tip.
MVRemix: That’s a good list.
Bone Crusher: I got a few others. I think Little Brother are dope, too.