Bun B is definitely a favorite of most people in the biz and, well, we'll say it, he's one of our favorite people ever in the history of this rap game. Last night, the Texas vet hosted an album listening session for media here in New York and lots of people came out to the spot, including Talib Kweli, Fab 5 Freddy and a host of journos, bloggers and such. And our own Jayson Rodriguez, who reports:
Most listening sessions are a crap shoot. You never really know if folks are gonna show up, and whether its for the music or the free food. But by and large, the throng of people who came out to support Bun were there as much because he's such a good guy as because he's such a good lyricist. And in the wake of Pimp C passing, more than ever it just felt like you were there for your guy. That’s how Bun can make you feel.
More after the jump, including tracklist for II Trill.
“I don’t wanna say too much, I don’t wanna talk too much,” he began, addressing the standing room. “I don’t wanna seem like I’m mad nervous, but it’s real. There’s a lot of support in this room. Not a lot of negativity, just love."
Though Bun never mentioned Pimp C by name, his words hung in the air like a lighter flickering in a concert crowd. You just knew the listening session was just as much about Pimp and his passing as it was about Bun and his new future.
With Pimp C's unfortunate death, Bun is more or less a solo act flying without a safety net. Pimp’s infectious humor and outrageous outbursts aren’t there to buffer the attention that will be entirely centered on Bun from here on out. Even though there’s a UGK album on deck - from material made just before Pimp C died - things are very different. It’s like watching a movie at the theater versus watching a movie on DVD, when you can see the time counting down to the end. No matter how you look at it, UGK’s story is coming to an end.
So II Trill is Bun keeping the legacy alive as best he can. On the Clinton Sparks-produced intro, Bun hollers, "That’s my game/ try gun play/ you’ll be screaming mommy, mommy." Over the industrial-strength boom and sharp snares, Bun’s lines don’t feel like random threats; rather, it’s more about a man’s honor and protecting his family.
The Mr. Lee laced “You’re Everything,” featuring Rick Ross, David Banner, 8Ball & MJG, is thick with symbolism. It’s sampling of Jodeci’s “Cry For You,” with the melody embedded into the chorus is straight out of Pimp C’s own production kit. Meanwhile, the narcoleptic drums are begging to be slowed down, chopped and screwed, Houston-style.
The irony isn’t lost on Bun, though. He’s become outspoken against Syrup, the codeine-laced concoction that’s a favorite below the Mason-Dixon Line and had a hand in Pimp C’s death, as well as that of Texas icons DJ Screw and Big Moe. But just like a leopard can’t change its spots, a cantankerous Chad Butler, better known in life as Pimp C, couldn’t change his habits. And Bun always stood by his guy, for better or worse.
On the album’s dedication to Butler, “Pop it 4 Pimp,” instead of a solemn, slower song full of regrets, Bun turns it into a full-scale pep rally for Pimp C. Producer Mouse inserts the 808 of his hit “Wipe Me Down” and it takes the track into full-scale head-nodding mode.
Around the room as the song is playing, you can’t help but notice smiles and laughs. It’s like everyone is swapping their favorite Pimp C story. And for a moment, the past doesn't seem so recent, and the future doesn't feel so uncertain. Bun B is gonna be just fine.
Full tracklisting provided by the label:
1. II Trill (prod. by Clinton Sparks)
2. That’s Gangsta feat. Sean Kingston (prod. by J.R. Rotem)
3. Damn I’m Cold feat Lil Wayne (prod. by Chops)
4. You’re Everything (ft. Rick Ross, David Banner, 8 Ball & MJG) (prod. by Mr. Lee)
5. Swang on Em feat Lupe (prod. by Enigma)
6. I Luv That (prod. by Scott Storch)
7. My Block (prod. by Jazze Pha)
8. Get Cha Issue (prod. by Bigg Tyme & Qwest)
9. Good II Me feat. Mya (prod. by Bigg Tyme, co-prod. by Intl Red, & Bun B)
10. Pop It 4 Pimp feat Phatz & Webbie (prod. by Mouse)
11. Underground Thang feat Chamillionaire & Pimp C (prod. by Cory MO)
12. If I Die 2Nite feat. Lyfe Jennings & Young Buck (prod. by J-Rock)
13. Another Soldier feat. Mddl Fngz (prod. by DJ Khalil)
14. If It Was Up II Me feat. Junior Reid (prod. by Blackout Movement)
15. Angel in the Sky (prod. by Cozmo)
16. Keep It 100 (prod. by Chops)
11. My Paper (prod. by Bigg Tyme)