Finally. After a banner year full of endless cameos, Bun B offers his first solo effort Trill. The rappers tour of duty has been well documented with UGK, his enduring group with incarcerated Pimp C. Although the storys been told again and again, there are aspects of the Houston vet that have yet to be uncovered. Songs with Chino XL and Self-Scientific? Buns advice for Little Brother? Punk Rock Music? Underground versus commercial? The President of the South or the president? Fearless reader, allow yourself to be educated about Bun B.
AllHipHop.com: Do you feel that Trill is significant in restoring the Rap-A-Lot name and brand?
Bun B: Pimp C and myself probably wouldn't be rapping today if it wasn't for a label like Rap-A-Lot. We don't like to let legends go to waste. Legacies don't go to waste in the South. Rap-A-Lot Records is a reflection of the city of Houston as well as the South. We always wanted to see the label taken back to the glory - the height of the Geto Boys fame, or whatever.
James [Prince] has always been a big supporter for all of our success and the furtherance of all our careers. It was only right to try and reciprocate that love and bring it back to him.
AllHipHop.com: In speaking on the restoration of Houstons image, were you emotionally invested in this years World Series?
Bun B: I'm God-damn proud of them 'stros, man. Cause of the fact that they weren't even suppose to make the playoffs. You look at these guys, they where 15 games under .500. There was no way they where supposed to make the playoffs, or much less win the pennant. In Houston man, we are real grateful for what we did. We are not going to look at a trip to the World Series as a downer. Last year we made it to the playoffs, we didn't win, we was happy being there, happy to be in the club and next year, we'll get em.
AllHipHop.com: Why do you call yourself President of the South?
Bun B: I did that cause I really want to stand up for us right now. I want us to be represented by us and for us. We in the South, need to learn how to stick together and ride together. I think it's just time for some pure leadership. Like on a honest level, on a street level, on a community level. And that's what I hope to do. We're not concerned with Bushs politics. We're not concerned with what's [happening] on Pennsylvania Avenue. We're not concerns with what's going on inside a five-sided building [The Pentagon]. Were not concerned with none of that s**t right now. Cause obviously, their priorities aren't us. I think it's time for us to start making ourselves our own priority. So I'm going to use this time and this forum I have with my album being out right now to speak on s**t, and to try to unite my Southern people.
AllHipHop.com: How have you kept your legendary status untarnished?
Bun B: You have to give it up for the next generation, point blank. You can hover around the top, but eventually, the baton gets passed. You can either pass the baton voluntarily and hopefully out of respect, they'll give it back to you. Or you can hold on to that b*tch until somebody comes and takes it. And the spectacle of the baton or crown being taken from you, can damage your image so bad that it's no coming back from it. It looks more presentable to the public if youre like, "Yo, this the next new n***a right here, give it up to him right now."
AllHipHop.com: Your musical tastes extend beyond Hip-Hop, tell me about other things you dig
Bun B: I like a lot of early 80's Punk music like Black Flag and Dead Kennedy's. Some of the Ramones stuff too. I really dig Dead Kennedys, and I'm a Sex Pistols fan. Cause if you think about it, the same timeframe of that music [was] when early Rap was breaking. Whether it was Hollis, or coming out of Queensbridge or coming out of the Bowery or Hells Kitchen - all of it was out of poverty. Whatever you want to call it, it's below standard living. There is a certain intensity and rage that come out of living in that type of world, and the way that they view the rest of the world, because it's not comfortable where they sit. That's the same mentality that Rap had in its inception. The same mentality that Punk had. Cause I can feel like that, mothaf**kas are pissed off. And I can buy it a little more from them than I can from Rap, because I'm too closely tied into the performance and the artist, and Rap music. Cause I be pissed off, mad, and angry, and I be wanting to vent. But some of this Rap don't do that. I listen to Radiohead every now and then. I'm still trying to figure out how they make that s**t. There's really just an art of the music that they put together. I really have no clue on how they sit there and put that type of s**t together. But I'm not going to sit there and try to decipher it. If I like it, I just like it.
AllHipHop.com: As far as Punk and Rap, the 80s were an interesting time
Bun B: Well, we all got our music from the same source in the 80's. There was no BET, there was no VH1. We was watching Friday night videos, the s**t on USA that used to come on all night and f**kin MTV. So we would sit around and listen to Billy Idol and Rod Stewart and Michael Jackson. We all watched the same s**t. White kids in New York. they went to the Black corners. They partied down town, walked through the park, they didn't hang in the park, but they walked past the park. Everybody was getting the same music from the same place. We all relate a lot better to each other than we think we do. That's why when you be at a concert you be thinking, like if you go to a Jay show or a 50 show, you see all them White boys. And you be like, These White boys gonna get f**ked up. They don't. You always think they do, but they don't. They be the ones thats partying too hard.
AllHipHop.com: Fans have always valued UGKs underground sound. Is that be lost on this, a more commercial album?
Bun B: Well it's not a UGK album. Anything that UGK made before, wasn't that commercially successful. So people didn't get a chance to accept it. We made songs like "One Day" and "Diamonds Up Against the Wood" all these were big in my region. It's not that these records weren't big...they never impacted these records to the East Coast. They never impacted these records to the West Coast. So it took time and word of mouth to get that s**t out there.
AllHipHop.com: Whats the biggest obstacle youve faced in your career?
Bun B: Probably dealing with Pimp C being locked up. In the sense of ...I guess you'd say I've made it my responsibility to keep this thing alive. Pimp was [recently] saying, "You've put a lot of s**t on your shoulders, Bun you gonna be alright." But I just feel obligated cause I know what me and the kid been through. And I know what the kid would do for me in my situation. But it hasn't been easy. But I've had a lot of support , Rap-A-Lot really stood up for the UGK s**t - more then a lot of them, if you ask me.
AllHipHop.com: How much time does he have left?
Bun B: He's supposed to go up for probation next month.
AllHipHop.com: Hows it looking?
Bun B: It's lookin good. They don't have to pop him. He doesn't have anything in his file. But you know how they look at you. So we trying to get a petition going. We gonna get a bunch of letters from rappers and some more professional people. It's something that we really pray on. We just men, we just people, it's really out of our hands. We do what we can and leave the rest to God.
AllHipHop.com: What made you go so hard with the Free Pimp C movement? Do you think that's going to be helpful in that side of things?
Bun B: I hope it does man. I never meant for it to go as far as it did. The Free Pimp C Movement initially started probably in the first month or two of him being gone in. Like rumors started coming in that we where breaking up, and the rumor I had heard was that I had went and signed with The Roc. This was in Houston. So I was like, Nah, let me go out here and let these n***as know that I ain't signed wit nobody. They were like, "Yeah, he don't care about his man. He want that n***a to stay locked up forever." So out came Free Pimp C, UGK For Life. It really just started as damage control. But then I'd go to places and people would be like, Free Pimp C. So. I had my mans with the t-shirts and stuff. So he made some and I made some and everybody wanted to fuck wit em. This is my man Dave Marsell. He runs Antown Fashions in Houston. So he went tog the family and talked to the family and let the family know that he was going to be making shirts and he's keep them down with the shirts. So he's the only person with the rights to make them. It's kind of like the Snowman and all of that. Everybody wants to be apart of something like that, of something real.