On March 31, 2009, UGKs 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 UGKs triumphant Underground Kingz (2007) albumnever mind the Port Arthur, TX duos legacyneed 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 didnt feel like we
should stop so we kept making music, and it got to the point whereif we dont
have a place for it now, well just keep it and well figure out where to put
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
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. Theyre good friends of mine, and
good friends of Pimps, and it just made sense. I didnt 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.
Number one I say Pimp C. And its 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 its 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 aint gon never be Kane. It
wasnt about the lyricism but it was about the personality. I was like Im
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, 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 thats 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 Id give you something,
but people would just say no just to get something.
But seriously, Id really like to hear that song and see
what year it was recorded and then tell me it aint
one of the best songs ever. It was
Pimps 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 couldnt see that being anybodys life. But its really a reflection of the paranoia that young
Black men feel.
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. Faces first
record was 86 or 87, around four years before me.
And the last one I wanna make
sure I hit the nail on the head.
People always say Tupac or Biggie and I think
thats safe. You know, its 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, its
very core. A lot of people assume
that its 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 whats 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 thats our inner city, urban
people. I dont mean urban as just people of color because unfortunately, all
poor people arent just people of color.
Its some white people doing bad. And it just goes to show you that
color doesnt get you ahead in this world.
But not to get off track, when its all said and done, we
all have moments when the music is questionable. I dont think anybodys going
to leave this rap game with a clean slate. You look at KRS Ones 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 its all
looked backed on in retrospect, I think theyre going to really have to give
that kid a lot more credit than they give him now cause I dont know anybody
that listens to it and doesnt 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,
its 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?
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.