UGK: Underground Kingz

Longtime UGK fans have been deprived of this fabled eighth effort for a little over a half a decade. Many waited with unquestioned loyalty, but surely there were a lot of questions in the air. Even fans had to ponder whether or not the legendary duo could still make relevant music in 2007, especially after the underwhelming solo effort by Pimp C, Pimpalation. Then, Pimp C went on Atlanta’s Hot 107.9 and unleashed his wrath on several unnamed assailants, Russell Simmons, Ne-Yo, Atlanta and the South in general. His message was clear in addressing the South. He was proclaiming their reign would come to a premature end if their rappers didn’t start feeding their fans substance. With their latest double disc output, Underground Kingz (Jive), the legends Pimp C and Bun B do just that. U.G.K.’s Underground Kingz, is a near perfect concoction of the streets, the soul and the South. Disc one emanates from the streets of the South, deliberating heavy doses of braggadocios slick talk, unbridled swagger and machismo gun talk. “Swishas and Dosha” is the commencement of this stroll through the hood. It begins with blaring guitars and piano key strokes conveying a feel of deep Southern roots in the Blues. Pimp C uses his verse to state his preference for the old school’s class of rappers who seemed more real, rhyming, “I remember when a rapper was a go getter/Now all these rappers is some hoe niggas/Hide behind the guards at the show ni**a/Don’t want no pu**y, homosexual, on the low nigga/That’s y’all/I’m from the old school like MJG and Ball/Like Devin the Dude.” Bun lashes out on online critics who hide behind World Wide Web aliases and the two conclude the track going verse for verse. On “Chrome Plated Woman” Pimp C and Bun B cleverly personify—in the vein of “F*ck My Car’—their whips and muse about their main chick’s various features (rims, suicide doors, candy paints and grills) over the slow tempo of strumming guitars. This track like the aforementioned also carries a decidedly Southern feel with the production done by Pimp C. “Like That (Remix)” provides the cocky pimp talk the duo (more so Pimp C) is renowned for over deep 808s and plucked harp strings; a nice touch. Pimp and Bun trade bars about raunchy remarks they make to their tricks and boasting about aggressive sexual exploits. Despite the topic, the song is smooth and melodic and sure to rattle in more then a few trunks this summer. To contrast the whippin’ slabs, loading clips and pimping women there’s the second disc. “Heaven” has Pimp C and Bun B expressing their spirituality wondering if there’s sanctuary in the afterlife for Gs. Bun rattles off an introspective verse rapping, “I wonder if there’s a better place for the innocent kids/In the ghetto that gotta suffer for shit they ain’t did/By no faults of their own going through struggle and strife/…having to deal with a f*cked up life.” “How Long Will It Last” has the duo trying to cope with their criminal actions while being spiritual men. “Real Women” featuring Talib Kweli and Raheem Devaughn, an unlikely collaboration, has Bun B and Pimp C discussing their respective queens. This is an immense but necessary change up to their usual pimp talk but just another display of the balance they attempt to attain on this LP. The album concludes with “Living this Life” a prayer sent up to the heavenly Father seeking forgiveness for their many sins.Underground Kingz is “country rap tunes” at its finest. It portrays an accurate illustration of down South streetlife—the glamorous side and the not so glamorous side. In its current double disc format, it does go a bit long as is the case with most rap double cds. Yet given the sheer amount of quality that’s on the album, it ranks highly amongst rap’s elite double discs and trumps all other records that came out of the South this year. Underground Kingz contributes highly to the legendary status of UGK and will surely etch Pimp C and Bun B’s name near the top of the best rap duos to ever make rap music.