Bub B, II Trill
Being born and raised in Brooklyn during the 80s I came late to UGK’s Texas Tea party. But with the lack of real substance in mainstream hip-hop nowadays I’ll fly to Mars to get a proper fix. On his second solo CD, II Trill, UGK’s Bun B (ne’ Bernard Freeman) proves once again that he can stand on his own in the face of adversity. The last time Port Arthur, Texas native released a solo album (2005’s Trill) his partner in rhyme, Chad “Pimp C” Butler, was serving a jail sentence for a parole violation. This time around the circumstances are even more unfortunate. In December of 2007 Pimp C passed away from an accidental overdose of promethazine/codiene “syrup” leaving Bun B to carry the UGK flag on his own.
Throughout his career Bun B’s appeal has been his ability to drop lyrics without relying heavily on complicated metaphors and similes. His grown man flow drips with experience (not syrup) on tracks like “Damn I’m Cold” and the thought-provoking “Get Cha Issues.” On the latter he crafts one of the timeliest records of 2008 chastising the PPP posse—preachers, police officers and politicians. “Claim you crackin’ down on the crime, but let’s keep it true, because the biggest criminals in my city is you…”
Collaborations abound with Bun B going from the West Indies to across the states for artists to complement his O.G. status. He double dips in Jamaica getting newbie Sean Kingston on “That’s Gangsta” but reaches back to get Mr. “One Blood” Junior Reid to lend his voice to “If It Was Up To Me.” Stateside the guest list is full with Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, David Banner, Lupe Fiasco, Chamillionaire, 8-Ball and MJG and Young Buck throwing bows with the Underground King.
Continuing an unfortunate trend of posthumous appearances in hip-hop, the late Pimp C appears on one of the last songs they recorded together, “Underground Thang,” and Bun eulogizes his late brother on “Angel In The Sky” which is built around a reworking of Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon In The Sky.”
Thanks to tight beat work from Jazze Pha, DJ Khalil, Clinton Sparks and Chops Bun B’s II Trill has plenty of drop-top and strip club friendly sound beds, but its Pimps steady and unwavering couplets that touch upon a range of real life topics that give II Trill its real mass appeal.