Bun B continues hip-hop legacy

The new, unreleased music pounded loudly from the speakers. A select group of Houston music fans mingled and enjoyed the food and drinks while listening closely to the exclusive tunes. Meanwhile, in one section of the room sat the man responsible for the songs to which everyone was listening.

Bernard Freeman, also known as Bun B of the legendary Texas rap group Underground Kingz, sat calmly and greeted the constant parade of fans. The Feb. 20 album release party at Dave ‘ Busters was a chance for fans to get an exclusive preview of II Trill, which will be released April 29. A veteran in the music industry, having released his first album as a part of UGK in 1992, Bun B was definitely no stranger to release parties but this time, it is different.

This party was the first that Bun had done solo, after UGK partner Pimp C, who Bun was best friends with since they attended high school, died on Dec. 4. Pimp C, who helped put the Southern portion of United States on the hip-hop map, along with Bun B as UGK (as well as a few select legendary Southern groups such as Outkast), was the yin to Bun’s yang. Pimp C produced the majority of UGK’s songs, and teamed with Bun and Outkast in 2007 for the Grammy-nominated song, "International Players’ Anthem."

UGK coined a lot of phrases that are now common in hip-hop lingo, such as "Ridin’ Dirty"(the huge 2006 hit song by Chamillionaire is named after UGK’s classic 1996 album of the same name), and ‘trill’ (a combination of the words ‘true’ and ‘real’). The group is known for not compromising their style throughout their career, and Bun said that will not change. When asked about his vision for II Trill, Bun was concise: "keep it trill and stop all the lying."

II Trill played from the speakers in it’s entirety throughout the evening, and there were some notable quotes that featured social commentary reminiscent of the song "How Long Can It Last" from UGK’s acclaimed 2007 double album Underground Kingz. Bun said he feels it is his duty as a human being to touch on important issues.

"It’s not about being an artist; it’s about being a person. If someone has more information on something than the next person, they should give it up to them," Bun B said.

This album is the sequel to 2005’s gold-selling Trill. This time around, Bun reached out to artists who fans have heard him collaborate with before, as well as a few surprises.

One song in particular features one of the brightest young stars in music, and is an unexpected collaboration that will shock fans. The production is also varied and features producers that Bun has not worked with before, making the album sound well-rounded. And of course, there were several dedications to the late, great Pimp C. All in all, it’s safe to say that Bun has made an album that will make his best friend proud.

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