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TOP 5 DEAD OR ALIVE: Bun B

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On March 31, 2009, UGK’s final album, 4 Life, will be released. Still waving the mighty UGK flag, despite the untimely passing of Pimp C on December 4, 2007, is Bun B.

 Anyone weary of Bun’s ability to maintain the precedent set with UGK’s triumphant Underground Kingz (2007) album—never mind the Port Arthur, TX duos legacy—need not fret. “The music from this album was part of a field of

music that we recorded through the process of the UGK double album and beyond,”

says Bun. “We basically were on a roll musically, and we didn’t feel like we

should stop so we kept making music, and it got to the point where—if we don’t

have a place for it now, we’ll just keep it and we’ll figure out where to put

it later.”

Down the line there will be a few UGK affiliated projects.

Bun will drop his Trill OG solo album in

June, via Rap-A-Lot/Asylum, and the late Pimp C, whose widow has control of his

catalog, has a posthumous project in the works too. While the group completed their contractual

commitment to Jive/Sony, the label surely has unreleased UGK material in the

vaults.

Needless to say completing the UGK album at hand wasn’t an easy task.

“It was definitely a labor of love,” says Bun of the album whose guest list includes 8Ball

& MJG, E-40, Big Gipp and Too $hort and production from Mannie Fresh and Cory Mo. “These are all people that anybody would instantly recognize as friends and

family with UGK,” he continues. “They’re good friends of mine, and

good friends of Pimp’s, and it just made sense. I didn’t want it to seem like I was taking advantage of the

situation and go for the biggest names I could get just for the sake of doing

that. I felt this album deserved

better, and the people deserved better.”

To keep the mood light we asked Bun B for his Top 5 MCs Dead

or Alive. The resulting list certifies what you already knew, Bun B knows his

Hip-Hop, and it’s Pimp C and UGK for life.

 

 

Pimp C

“Number one I say Pimp C. And it’s not even because he was

in a group with me. People have to realize that he named himself Pimp C at 16,

in high school. When it was not a cool thing for a teenager to call himself a

pimp. This cat was always years before his time. He was always against the

grain and always sticking further [out] than everybody else.

 

“In retrospect, people look at a lot of s**t he was saying

and understand it, but then it was taken as simple rhetoric or just an attitude

or whatever you want to call it. 

But now when people see it, they see it’s really more about passion and

sincerity than anything else and just being brutally honest. 

 

Kool G. Rap

“For me personally, Kool G. Rap

was who I felt I could be because I looked at Big Daddy Kane and I was like I ain’t gon’ never be Kane. It

wasn’t about the lyricism but it was about the personality. I was like I’m

never gon’ be into myself like that so to me it was

G. Rap.  Just the

delivery and the nonchalance of it, the matter-of-factness of it. I look

now and see that the majority of people we tend to call good lyricists or

people that have a great flow, a lot of it comes from a lot of early work G.

Rap was doing.

Rick

Royal

“Rick Royal, from the Royal Flush on Rap-a-Lot Records, to

me was one of the greatest songwriters, not just rapper, but really an

incredible songwriter for himself and other people as well. Rick Royal wrote “Deeper” for Boss, and “Progress of Elimination.”  But he wrote a song called “I Never Made

20” for Royal Flush, if you can find that song and tell me that that’s not one

of the best written rap songs in your life [Ed. Note: We tried in vain to find an MP3 of "I Never Made 20." Do share if you happen to have a copy.]. I would say I’d give you something,

but people would just say no just to get something.

 

“But seriously, I’d really like to hear that song and see

what year it was recorded and then tell me it ain’t

one of the best songs ever.  It was

Pimp’s favorite rap song. Period. Hands down, nothing

remotely close.  When we

actually heard the song I was 20, he was 19 and it really hit him, it really

hit him hard. When you hear it you be like, “Wow,” this is a crazy record, and

you couldn’t see that being anybody’s life.  But it’s really a reflection of the paranoia that young

Black men feel.”

 

Scarface

“Scarface, I think for the fact that watching him excel as a

lyricist basically outlined my direction and the path that I had to take with

some deviation, but I wanted to consider myself a lyricist, I wanted respect

from lyrics and ‘Face was the person closest to me that had accomplished that,

so I just tried to follow and walk that walk that he walked. Face’s first

record was ’86 or ’87, around four years before me. 

 

Young Jeezy

“And the last one I wanna make

sure I hit the nail on the head. 

People always say Tupac or Biggie and I think

that’s safe.  You know, it’s real

easy to say that.  But I have to be

honest, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but I think when people look back

in retrospect, I think Jeezy is going to be one of

the great communicators of the Hip-Hop game. 

 

“I honestly believe that.  I believe that Young Jeezy opened

up a more direct line of dialogue with the consumer and rap music that had ever

been accomplished.  You know, it’s

very core.  A lot of people assume

that it’s just very core drug s**t, but then when you look at The Recession album, just the simple

fact that he had named it The Recession

early before the recession came, that really comes from being connected to the

environment to the point where you see the effects of what’s going on

firsthand. And when you speak in terms of recession, which is basically

everybody losing money or losing value, the main people that are going to be

affected first are the people with the least amount of money or value.  And that’s our inner city, urban

people. I don’t mean urban as just people of color because unfortunately, all

poor people aren’t just people of color. 

It’s some white people doing bad. And it just goes to show you that

color doesn’t get you ahead in this world. 

 My President Feat. Nas – Young Jeezy

“But not to get off track, when it’s all said and done, we

all have moments when the music is questionable. I don’t think anybody’s going

to leave this rap game with a clean slate.  You look at KRS One’s first album, Criminal Minded with him holding a pistol, “My Uzi Weighs a Ton”

with Public Enemy. We all have our moments with questionable behavior.  With that being said, when it’s all

looked backed on in retrospect, I think they’re going to really have to give

that kid a lot more credit than they give him now cause I don’t know anybody

that listens to it and doesn’t love it.

 

“I find it very telling that Jeezy

is the only originator that ended up making more money than his predecessors. Usually

when somebody broke a style, other people got paid off that style way more than

they did, but with his s**t, it was really unique to us believing him.  Because normally when that happens,

it’s based off a gimmick, and then somebody ends up doing your gimmick better

than you.  But because his s**t is

based off reality, the only way you could outdo it is if you had a truer view

and you have to damn near be the junkie or be the actual cocaine to tell it to

give more inside information. You have to be the bounced check in the evicted

apartment, not the people getting evicted, you know?”

 

 

THE

SIDEBAR

Bun B actually could have rolled on with UGK

without Pimp C… Yeah, right.

 

“This may sound crazy to some people but you got to remember

my record deal comes from the early nineties; there was a death clause in the

UGK contract. Basically it said that if one of the members should die, the other

member has the right if they want to, to either bring in someone to replace, or

continue in some other form or fashion as a group. I chose neither. It was

easier to make that decision because this album officially ends the UGK deal.”

 

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