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  • Interview: Bun B

    Wed, 01 Apr 2009 14:27:38

    Interview: Bun B - It's still <i>UGK 4 Life</i>

    Bun B Photos

    • Bun B - ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Recording Artist Big Gipp of Goodie Mob during the 'Heineken Inspire' Atlanta Concert Series featuring Jermaine Dupri, Big Boi, Bun B, DJ Trauma and Goodie Mob at Opera Atlanta on September 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.
    • Bun B - ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Recording Artist T-Mo and Cee-Lo of Goodie Mob during the 'Heineken Inspire' Atlanta Concert Series featuring Jermaine Dupri, Big Boi, Bun B, DJ Trauma and Goodie Mob at Opera Atlanta on September 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.
    • Bun B - ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Recording Artist Khujo of Goodie Mob during the 'Heineken Inspire' Atlanta Concert Series featuring Jermaine Dupri, Big Boi, Bun B, DJ Trauma and Goodie Mob at Opera Atlanta on September 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.

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    Just a little over a year ago hip-hop—and music in general—lost one of its most enduring and multi-faceted talents, the inimitable Pimp C, when he was found dead in a Los Angeles hotel on December 4, 2007. Pimp C was half of the legendary Texas duo UGK, along with longtime collaborator Bun B, and the two had seen their careers crest only months before Pimp’s death with the release of UGK (Underground Kingz), a double album that would debut at #1 on the charts. Fortunately for UGK fans, though, Pimp and Bun had recorded enough material before his untimely demise to release a final album together, UGK 4 Life, due out March 31st. ARTISTdirect had a chance to speak with Bun on the eve of the album’s release, and he had much to talk about—on the album, on Pimp, on the recession, and on the game in general.

    So you've got UGK 4 Life coming out. How you feeling?

    Feelin’ good man, feelin’ real positive about this album. I feel like I did great work. Pimp C definitely did great work, and left us a lot to work with, and this is—I think it’s important to say this isn’t a tribute album. A misconception is that there’s certain songs or certain parts of this album that Pimp C’s not a part of, and he’s on every song on the album, and he co-produces several songs on the album, and at the end of the day it’s a collaborative effort between him and myself. I feel very strong about the end result—I think it’s going to end up being just what it needs to be for people.

    Is it bittersweet at all with Pimp C gone now?

    I think that’s an understatement at this point, you know. These kinds of things, you know, they’re rough to deal with as a private matter. If I was just sitting at home with it, it’s hard in its own way. To have to take it publicly, day-to-day, it makes it a little bit rough, but a lot of the times when I do radio interviews, I know that a lot of the listeners out there, sometimes they need to hear me talking to know that I’m okay. And a lot of people have a lot invested emotionally into UGK, so they’re concerned about my well-being, so it’s important to me to get out there, and even if it may be a little difficult for me at times… It’s much harder on the family. Know what I’m saying? Whatever pain and grief I may be going through, it’s much harder for his mother. He was an only child, and it’s much harder for his wife and his children, you know? I don’t sit around and try to feel sorry for myself, and I take it as it comes.

    For sure. At the same time it must be nice to be able to put out this one last album that you worked with him on.

    It really is man. And it’s something I haven’t talked to a lot of people about, but it really feels good to be able to do one last album. I would be sitting around for the rest of my life wondering what else—always wanting one last run. And I know a lot of people feel like that when they lose people they love close to them; they wish they could go to one more basketball game, they wish they could go to one more picnic, they wish they could go to one more recital. Know what I’m saying? So I’m blessed enough to have one last run with my man.

    For sure. So what’s the album like?

    It’s pretty much a typical UGK album. You got your street records, you got your club records, you got your strip club records, and you got the records that make you think, and raise issues and concerns about what’s going on in the community.

    In relation to this, how’s Texas doing these days? The recession must be hitting a lot of people hard. Do you address any of that on the album?

    Yeah, we talk about it to a certain extent, but I didn’t want to get into subject matter that he wasn’t talking about, because I didn’t want songs to have mismatched concepts and what not, but UGK always talks about the fact that times are tough in the hood. I mean times are always tough in the hood—it’s basically just the rest of America that’s catching up, and the lack of opportunities are starting to hit a lot of places that haven’t been hit before, and people it hasn’t affected before. As my pastor was saying in church the other day, "A lot of us, we’ve been broke. So we’ll be fine. It’s probably just the case that we’re going to keep being broke a little longer. We got to remember to keep stretching stuff out a little longer." But we’re gonna get through it fine, and that’s how Texas is not just financially, but musically. We’re having a rough patch right now, but we’ll be fine.

    Yeah. So what’s next with you personally after this?

    I’m gonna start working on my next solo album. I didn’t want to mix any business… The reason it took this UGK album this long to come out was because I was finishing up my II Trill solo album, and didn’t want to be halfway through one thing, and halfway through another. I felt like my solo album deserved my full attention, and the UGK album definitely deserved my full attention, and I didn’t want to be mixing business. I didn’t want to be signing contracts and clearance papers and all that, and radio edits and all this type of shit when I was trying to start and construct this album, because I knew it was going to take a lot out of me physically and emotionally. I wanted to make sure I gave myself as much time as I was going to need to get this done. The recording aspect of this was the easiest aspect of it. It didn’t take long to do that at all—we did everything we needed to do for the album, musically and lyrically, within a two-and-a-half-week period.

    Wow. No shit.

    Yeah, literally. But it took us a couple of months to emotionally be on the right page to move forward. I didn’t want to be advantageous to the situation. I didn’t want to be selfish in the situation—a lot of things had to be taken into consideration, and I wanted to make sure I took them all in before I started moving forward with it. And I didn’t want to start anything else until I fully completed everything I wanted to complete for this album—all the press, all the promo, everything we needed to do. So probably sometime next month, after we finish promoting the second single off this album, if they decide to do a third single off this album I’ll definitely promote that. Otherwise I’ll probably start up on this other solo album end of April or early May.

    Alright, cool. Well I’m definitely looking forward to both of those. Now you’ve been in the game for a few minutes now. How has it changed over the years? You’ve seen Texas blow up and what not…

    You know, the opportunities are there for all artists now, know what I’m saying? Not being in a major metropolitan city is not a reason, or an excuse anymore. Not having access to major media outlets is not an excuse anymore. The potential for anyone to become the next star in America is there, which is actually the good and the bad thing about the music industry right now. Everyone feels that they’re just a day away from becoming the next star, which is possible, but unrealistic. There are a few people who blow up overnight, this is true, but there is no plan to blow up overnight. When this happens it’s usually an incredible fluke of nature that very seldom repeats itself.

    Yeah, for sure, and I guess most of it is still going to be like you and Pimp just grinding it out for years.

    Grassroots campaigns are always going to exist in America because there’s still going to be people who don’t have anything but talent. They don’t have money, they don’t have a support system, they don’t have any outlets or connections. All they have is talent, and it’s just a matter of them constantly exposing their talent until they can expose it in front of the right person.

    For sure. And I guess in relation to that, are there any new rappers out there that you’re listening to a lot these days, or you think could be the next big thing?

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