Saturday, May 7, 2011
Bun B - The Ambassador of Southern Hip-Hop
This article was written by Mark A. Harris, a writer on hip-hop and, like myself and co-founder William, an admirer of Texas Trill O.G. Bun B. I'm republishing this with permission by the author.
In recent history, Bun-B has become a lecturer at Rice University. This can be seen as a rewarding and ironic situation. The big payoff is that intellectual beings get a chance to learn from a southern hip hop legend. Ironically, he is an artist known for more street affairs. Yet, he is teaching at a prestigious research institution. Hence, Bun B is going to be directly responsible for the growth toward understanding hip hop music for many different types of people.
To be honest, Bun B should be awarded another title: Ambassador of Southern Hip Hop.
Wait, there isn’t such a title? Well, I am designating one and giving it to him.
Bun B has been in the rap game at an approximate 20 years. Starting out on Big Tyme Records, Bun B joined Pimp C to form UGK (UnderGround Kingz), the most lauded rap duo in southern rap history. From Jive Records to Rap-A-Lot, the two made classic funky jams to ride, smoke, party and even think to. He has been a part of the independent hustle and major label struggle. He has seen friends die, business men lie, and artists try. Conclusively, he has been through it all.
The man known as Bernard Freeman by the government has worked with a plethora of artists. UGK scored their biggest hit with Jay-Z (Big Pimpin’). He has also worked with Ca$h Money Records for the past decade and a half. Bun B has even ventured off to work with “underground” artists like Self Scientific (King Kong), Talib Kweli (Country Cousins and Real Women), and even Dizzee Rascal (Two Types of Bitches). On the low, he wrote rhymes for the often unheard of group C.C. Waterbound. Additionally, Bun has linked up with Freddie Gibbs’s offshoot group (featuring Chip Da Ripper and Cool Kids), Pulled Over By the Cops on the song Oil Money. Relatively, Bun B has worked with whomever he liked whenever he wanted to.
Also, many producers have worked with the Ambassador. Timbaland was laced by Bun’s lyrics on the aforementioned Big Pimpin. DJ Premier worked with him on Let Em Know. Never and unknown producers to deal with him include Steve Below, Play –N-Skills, Drumma Boy, Boi-1da, and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League. Even rock & roll drummer Travis Barker worked with him on Late Night Creepin' off of the Trill album. There is sheer proof that Bun B will work with you if he respects your production skills.
Yet, nothing this country rap tune politico has ever achieved can compare to his mentoring capabilities. For example, he has mentored Little Brother in being independent artists that speak their mind. Bun B respected their artform and their approach, even when others questioned their message (See Minstrel Show). Also, he has always lent a helping hand to Lupe Fiasco. Lupe has always had an affinity to Texas hip hop. Bun B, being the man that he is, always encouraged Lupe to do what he feels is best for his career. In the end, Bun B can even play the role of “big brother” to the “little brothers” (pun intended).
Still, the most spectacular display of his genuine humanity was the support of Pimp C’s situation with incarceration. In 2002, Pimp C was sent to jail for a parole violation. Bun B stood by his side with everlasting support. T-shirts with “Free Pimp-C” emblazed on the front was a constant. Chants to give Chad Butler his freedom stayed being recited at concerts and video shoots. When the Pimp was finally released on December 30, 2005, Bun-B was present to welcome him home along with Pimp C’s family and friends. Evidently, Bun B knows how to demonstrate the qualities of a “ridah”.
Bun-B has proven that he would make a deserving hip hop ambassador. His work with artists has spanned the globe. Also, he has made great attempts to use different sounds for his music. In addition, he has helped others in need, whether it be close friends or musical associations. A salute is in order for the man that has bypassed coastal reclusiveness for worldwide fidelity.