NEW YORK — These days fans, family and even the rest of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are wondering: What is up with Bizzy Bone?
After he spoke in tongues on the Houston radio show "Damage Control" a few months ago, some have begun to question the sanity of the rapper whose former group was able to translate its unique hybrid of singing and expeditious rhyme delivery into multiplatinum plaques in the 1990s. Even before the Houston incident, Bizzy said, his family wanted him to seek psychiatric help.
Now sober (in the past, he admits, he drank and took drugs such as Valium and opium), Bizzy said he's not only more sound than ever in mind and body, but he's also cleansed himself spiritually.
"You hit them with that, they be like, 'This mutha----a is kinda crazy but he keeps on talking about Jesus! He keeps on talking about the Lord!' " Bizzy recalled about speaking in tongues on KPFT-FM. Biz said he was being antagonized during his interview and went into defense mode.
"There was such an abundance [of animosity], I wouldn't let them sneak in," he continued. "By them not being able to infiltrate, they said, 'He's crazy.' I know who I am, I'm the Lord's baby. That's just real. It's good to be the Lord's child."
Bizzy's questionable behavior last year makes his appearance in Houston seem as normal as pouring cold milk on cereal in the morning. In 2004 he voluntarily began life as a homeless person and went on a journey that changed his life. He began walking from his hometown of Cleveland throughout the state of Ohio for a little over half a year, giving away virtually all of what little money he had left and living in bus stations.
"Everybody thought I went crazy," he said. "They were questioning my motives and what was going on. I seen things for what they really was. Everybody around me changed. I was literally walking and spiritually walking. You can't take a walk without taking a walk.
"[I walked] pretty much the whole Ohio area," he continued. "People were passing in cars, looking at me, laughing at me. I was in bus stations and in the streets talking to people. Police waking me up like, 'You can't sleep here.' I had a little change in my pocket, not even enough to catch the bus. I'd given away my money 'cause I thought it was the right thing to do at the time. It was a learning process. It was a spiritual education."
While traveling through Ohio on foot, Bizzy said, he became closer with the Lord. But as strong as he became spiritually, physically he began breaking down, and his journey came to an end.
"I couldn't walk anymore," he recalled. "My legs wouldn't move, my feet were blistered. I was hungry, nowhere to go. It was just time to stop walking. I was walking on the freeway trying to get from Columbus to Cleveland. A policeman pulled me over and was like, 'Look, man, you cannot walk no more. We will take you to jail.' I really couldn't walk, I was hobbling around like my grandfather. I went to the hospital, I had a close friend come pick me up, put me in the tub, get some Epsom salt, washed me up."
The former Bone Thugs member (he's left and returned to the group several times and even put out an album with Layzie Bone earlier this year) said his group wasn't there to check on him during his seven-month journey and neither was his family.
"When you crawl out of that, you don't want anybody around you but who helped you," he said. "Everybody is fake. My own mother was trying to put me in an insane asylum. I was like, 'I know my name, my Social Security number. Just because I have a blessing and you don't feel what I feel, that gives you no right.' I returned with a blessing and everybody was treating it like a curse."
Still, once he got back on his feet, he considered reuniting with the rest of the fellas. There was a deal on the table for Bone to sign with Swizz Beatz's Full Surface Records. Despite not having a signed contract, Bizzy came to New York a few months ago to begin recording with the group, but, he said, the guys abandoned him.
"I don't think we have status at this point," he said of his standing with Bone. "There was something that the group had on the table that they wanted to accomplish but I wasn't ready for. I came out here for a month to do some stuff with Swizz Beatz. Never got a phone call. I spent $9,000 in the room. I'm like, 'Let me in the studio, let me do what I do.' I do four songs a day by myself within the course of an hour. So those eight songs could have been done like bang, bang, bang. It was a bunch of confusion and I couldn't wait."
Bizzy hasn't talked to Layzie, Krayzie or Wish Bone in four months. While Bone have since gone on to work heavily with Swizz, Bizzy is on the outs and recorded a solo LP, the aptly titled Speaking in Tongues, released on indie label 845 Entertainment last month. On the LP, which features material from 1998 and 1999 as well as new songs, Biz addresses everything from being molested as a child to his relationship with God.
"It's a spiritual thing," he said of the title. "Like when you read a certain verse [in the Bible]. For example, Corinthians. When I read Corinthians on a certain day I'll see this in it. Then I put it down and pick it up, and I see something different, but it's the same words. That's how I feel about the album. You'll always get something new out of it."