Bun B: The Complete OG

Houston is hot. 

Actually, hot doesn’t really describe the city’s temperature.  Sweltering is more like it.  For the last few days, it’s been pushing 90-degrees…at night.  Even

with those temperatures many notables in the Hip-Hop and entertainment

community have come down to participate in Trae Day, the annual July event

awarded by the city to Houston rapper Trae for his outstanding work within

the community.   After violence erupted at

the Trae Day last year many expected the festival not to take place but Trae, who

wanted to make sure kids still got to enjoy the carnival held in their benefit,

pulled off a successful event.   With the heat, one would think attendees would pack up and head to the nearest place to rest their

heads.  Not even. However, a select (and diverse) few,

including rappers Jae Millz and Lupe Fiasco, media personalities Angela Yee and

Julia Beverly, adult movie stars Pinky and Ice La Fox, and a several DJ’s,

producers, and others, travel to a nondescript studio just south of the city’s

downtown.  It is here that Bun B presents his third solo album, Trill OG

It’s been two years since Bernard Freeman released, II Trill, and nearly two decades since

he and his rap partner Chad Butler signed with Jive records as U.G.K., the

Underground Kingz.  Under the monikers

Bun B and Pimp C the duo put out classic albums and gained the respect of fans

and artists like Jay-Z, T.I, Wale, Talib Kweli, and….well the list goes

on and on.  It’s hard to find an artist in Hip-Hop that

doesn’t appreciate U.G.K.  Since that first

album Bun has seen Pimp C become incarcerated, get freed, and then suffer an

untimely death.  Throughout it all Bun B

has maintained the U.G.K. name.  He almost

speaks in interviews as though Pimp C is still here and you can definitely feel

the late rapper’s presence in Bun’s music, which is about to take it to the underground again.

The new album features artists like Drake, Young Jeezy, Tupac,

Letoya Luckett and even Pimp C.  That coupled with

production from DJ Premier, the Neptunes, J.U.S.T.I.C.E League, among other makes for a album for the ages.

After about an hour of milling around and listening to

radio singles booming through two large speakers, Bun quiets the crowd.  Grabbing the mic he states, “I’m not going to

say much.  I’m not going to say who’s on

what song or stop the music to say who produced what.  I’m just going to let it play because this…is

a complete album.” After his brief moment with the crowd, Bun B directs his more vocal side to talk to AllHipHop about this new album and his place in the industry.

AllHipHop.com: 

When you opened up the listening session earlier you spoke about having

the opportunity to make a complete album. 

What did you mean by that?

Bun B:  A

complete album to me is where the directive of the album is not to make songs simply

for radio consumption…or to make songs simply for video consumption…or to do

things we feel will just go on the internet. 

My concept was to make a complete album. 

When you make a full, complete album you end up with good problems.  Like, damn we don’t know which single to drop

because everything sounds like a single. 

Damn, we don’t know which direction to go because we have so many

options.  That’s what I wanted to do for

myself.  I wanted to paint myself in a

corner where all we could do was make good music.  We just wanted to go against everything that

everyone was doing right now…for the sake of the game.

AllHipHop.com:  You also mention J Prince and how important he

was in creating this album?  What was so instrumental

about him in this process?

Bun B:  J

Prince to me is not just a CEO.  We are

partners when we do these albums in terms of the financial situation.  But beyond that…before I was ever an artist,

before we had any financial situation, J Prince was always in the corner of

myself and Pimp C.  He was always a very adamant

supporter of U.G.K.  He would always give

us his time and advice.  He was there whenever

we had any situation, as far as attorneys or helping us get out of any

situation.  And this was before he was in

any position to make any kind of profit off of U.G.K.  It was simply because he thought we were

representing the South, and Texas specifically, in the proper manner.  Business wise, the reason I chose to sign

with Rap-A-Lot Records was because I wanted to have a personal relationship

with the person I was putting out music through.  I’m able to have that relationship with J

Prince.  I can see my CEO if I want to

see him.  He’s not hiding behind office

walls.  If I call and say I want to talk

to you, he’ll ask “Where do you want to meet and have a sit down?”  It’s just that simple.  As a friend he knew the situation I was in, personally

and emotionally, when trying to deal with everything.  He told me not to rush myself, to take the

time to work through this process, and to just feel my way through it.  Just make the best music you can.  [He would say] “We aren’t worried about a

single.   If you want to work with this producer we can

but we don’t have to.  If you want to rap

with this dude you can but you don’t have to. 

Do whatever you feel you need to create this album but don’t feel like

you need to lean on anything.  Take your

time and do the best thing for you.”  I

feel bad that every artist doesn’t have a person like J Prince in their

corner. 

AllHipHop.com: 

Now when you talk about “dealing with everything emotionally” I assume

you’re talking about Pimp C’s death. 

When you released Trill Pimp C

was in jail and you were pushing for his release.  He gets out, you guys start recording,

release an album, and then he suddenly passes. 

You’ve released II Trill and

now Trill O.G so what is it like

creating an album without his influence?

Bun B: 

Actually, I can’t even answer that question.  It’s not like his influence has left me or

that he isn’t still a part of the process. 

Grieving for an artist is no different than grieving for anyone

else.  Everyone deals with death

differently and everyone deals with it the same.  We all hurt when we lose people we love.  That being said, people that haven’t had as

much support as I have had, or have had as many people in their corner as I have

had, have gotten up and dusted themselves off. 

They are able to keep it moving so why can’t I?  I’m blessed to have a strong wife and family background.

 I have a real strong church-house.  I have a real strong connection with God and

that lets me understand that these things happen.  We learn whatever lessons we can from it and

move forward.  But we never forget the

people who have passed on to the other side because one day that’s going to be

us and we don’t want to be forgotten.  We

just always remember the good times and make sure that we don’t disrespect the

memory of him as a person as well as his musical legacy.  Beyond that it’s U.G.K for life.

AllHipHop.com: 

So

then how does this album differ from your first two solo albums?

Bun B:  I

think that there is a different level of confidence behind it.  With the first album we were kind of feeling

our way out.  With the second album we

knew what we were doing but we kind of took it for granted.  With this one we’re not taking anything for

granted.  We are fully focused.  We are aware of our position in the game, what

we need to present to the people, and how it needs to be presented.  I think that’s what we accomplished.

AllHipHop.com: 

You

replayed the album for everyone because you still had artists like Lupe Fiasco

just arriving.  He and a lot of younger

artists appear to have a lot of esteem for you and you guest star on a lot of

their songs.  How do you stay on a level

of competition with artists that grew up listening to you?

Bun B:  I

wouldn’t say that.  I wouldn’t say its

competition.  Well, everybody that’s an

MC is in friendly competition.   That’s

kind of the nature of the beast.  That being

said, I just try to be as honest with people as I can.  I think people appreciate that.  I think it’s a welcome breath of fresh air

when people know that can go to someone with unfiltered commentary.  That’s what U.G.K has always done.  We cut through the red tape.  We were never the guys to try to make up

fancy words for things or try to sugarcoat. 

We just tried to give it to people straight up because we felt like that

was the problem…that everyone was trying to sugarcoat what was going on in the

world.

AllHipHop.com:  One of the songs that got a big response was “Right Now” which features

Pimp C and an new 2Pac verse.  How did

that all come together?

Bun B:  Well

he came through about two months ago and…. [laughs].  Nah, just kidding.  It was actually a song that we had recorded

for a Tupac tribute album that unfortunately did not make the album.  It kind of got lost in the archives and then

it ended up getting pulled out the archives. 

The estate gave me the opportunity to bring the track back to life, so

to speak.  It was really just a matter of

timing.  Just being in the right place at

the right time.  I definitely take my hat

off to Ms. Afeni Shakur and the estate of Tupac for giving us the

opportunity.  Just giving us the

opportunity to…to just mash on it.  It’s

a great verse.  The irony of the fact is

that Pimp and Pac’s subject matter is just so akin on that particular

track.  I was trying to keep up with them

which is amazing because Tupac’s verse was laid in the 1990’s.  Pimp C’s verse was laid in the 2000’s and my

verse is made in 2010.  I’m trying to

keep up with these guys.  It sounds like

they are recording right now.

AllHipHop.com: You

have DJ Premier on the album.  Now,

Premier is from Texas, a fact that a lot of people forget, so how did you end

up working with him on the album?

Bun B: Premier has been a friend and supporter of

U.G.K for a long time, and we’ve always been looking for the right time to

record.  We were actually going to record

for the double album that U.G.K released in ’07.  Unfortunately he had just finished the album

with Christina Aguilera and he was going into the studio with Whitney

Houston.   He had a lot of things going on and we just

couldn’t schedule it out.  So, we still

ended up doing a song, and incredibly Pimp C is still actually apart of the

song, so to us it’s a U.G.K record produced by DJ Premier.

AllHipHop.com: You

also took the time out acknowledge the recently deceased Guru on your

album.  You’ve spoken before about how

artists from that “golden age” of Hip Hop have influenced you.  What influence did Guru have in your music?

Bun B:  The

group Gang Starr definitely had an influence on Pimp and myself.  Pimp made the beats and I was the primary

lyricist.  Even though Pimp rapped as

well, there were still parallels in the dichotomy between U.G.K and Gang Starr.  We always looked up to them.  Pimp looked up to Premier as a producer.  I always looked up to Guru as an MC.  I don’t think [Guru] gets his credit as a

storyteller because he really didn’t tell stories, but he painted his pictures very,

very well.  He could go from a four [bar]

about his lyrical flow,  spend eight bars

in the middle of a verse painting a picture, and then in the last bars go back

to the first four like it’s just….Man, don’t get me started on Guru.  The unfortunate thing about it is when I got

the recording process started with Premier, Guru was very much alive.  It was during the process that he passed

away.   It’s unfortunate because we didn’t

want to have to do anything like [have to honor Guru because of death] but God

works in mysterious ways.  We were able

to honor him in a very real way right before the turning in of this album.

AllHipHop.com: 

A lot have people came out to support you tonight as well as on your

actual album.  You’re cited by many

artists as an influential force in their careers.  What’s your take on your influence in Hip Hop

so far?

Bun B:  I’ve

just been lucky to have people like Too Short, E-40, and Big Daddy Kane.  They have been in mentoring positions and

have helped to guide me in the right direction. 

If I can be half as instrumental in other peoples careers as they were

in mine then God bless the situation. 

That’s what Hip Hop is all about.

Trill OG Tracklist

No.

Title

1.

“Chuuch!!!” (feat. J.

Prince)

2.

“Trillionaire” (feat. T-Pain)

3.

“Just Like That” (feat. Young Jeezy)

4.

“Put It Down” (feat. Drake)

5.

“Right Now” (feat. Pimp C

and  2Pac)

6.

“That’s a Song (Skit)” (feat.

Bluesman Ceddy St. Louis)

7.

“Countin’ Money” (feat. Yo Gotti & Gucci Mane)

8.

“Speak Easy” (feat. Twista &

Bluesman Ceddy St Louis)

9.

“Lights, Cameras,

Actions”  

10.

“I Git Down for Mine”

 

11.

“Snow Money”  

12.

“Ridin’ Slow” (feat. Slim Thug & Play-N-Skillz)

13.

“Let ‘Em Know”  

14.

“Listen (Skit)” (feat.

Bluesman Ceddy St. Louis)

15.

“All a Dream” (feat. LeToya

Luckett)

16.

“It’s Been a Pleasure” (feat. Drake)

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