In my review of UGK’s new school classic Underground Kingz I compared the double-album to the Bible, and for someone like me, for whom music is a religion, the comparison wasn’t an exaggeration. Growing up on the east coast my underground heads and I thought the booming hip-hop emanating from below the Mason-Dixon line was shallow and mindless, and with the lone exception of Outkast, automatically dismissed anything coming from South. We were, in a word, haters. And then I listened to Underground Kingz (with an open mind) and had an epiphany. The skies opened, … ...Read the full album review
DJBooth Album Review
In my review of UGK’s new school classic Underground Kingz I compared the double-album to the Bible, and for someone like me, for whom music is a religion, the comparison wasn’t an exaggeration. Growing up on the east coast my underground heads and I thought the booming hip-hop emanating from below the Mason-Dixon line was shallow and mindless, and with the lone exception of Outkast, automatically dismissed anything coming from South. We were, in a word, haters. And then I listened to Underground Kingz (with an open mind) and had an epiphany. The skies opened, a syrup-sipping angel spoke to me and I was converted. Beneath UGK’s hos and blow surface was a fierce intelligence and a very real soul that bordered on the divine. When God rides out, I’m sure Pimp C is riding shotgun beside him.
Thankfully, and predictably, Bun B, who has been fiercely protective of the legacy he and Pimp built, has done his former running mate proud with his third solo album Trill O.G. After two decades in the game Bun B, or as I prefer to call him, Big Dick Cheney (that never gets old), has earned the respect of everyone who truly cares about this culture by staying true to his roots in an age where artists are more like actors than rappers. Characteristically weaving from relentless bangers to socially revolutionary to, of course, pu**y-centric burners, Trill O.G. is the work of a man who, at the tender age of 37, is just hitting his stride.
On the slow(ish) jam All a Dream Bun B says, “I remember my days as a youngin’, the alley ways and back streets we used to run in,” and he backs those words up with action, making sure that Trill O.G. never forgets where it came from. Getting back to my religious theme, Chuuuch!!! comes to us direct from the pupil, with Bun playing the hard-rhyming preacher backed by huge organs and a gospel choir. “Tabernacle bi**h” indeed. It’s also fitting then that Bun Beater resurrected not only Pimp C but Tupac for the delightfully filthy Right Now. Yeah you read that right; Right Now contains unreleased verses from Pimp and Pac, with Trey Songz playing the Chris Bosh role (greatness by association) by sneaking in on the hook. Trill O.G. would be worth it for Right Now alone, but it and Chuuuch!!! are far from the only unapologetically Southern cuts on the album. Lead single Just Like That links up with Middle Aged Jeezy for an enjoyable though formulaic trip to the trap house, I Get Down for Mine rides on a supremely bouncing bass line and Bun B pulls out all the wood-grained stops on Houston-tribute Ridin’ Slow. Despite my desire to wipe clean my judgmental ways I still can’t get down with Countin’ Money All Day (sweet baby Jesus that Gucci Mane verse is terrible), but otherwise, Trill O.G. is a worthy Southern-soaked chapter in the UGK canon.
I’m not the only one realizing they were sleeping on Bun. In recent months seemingly every artist in the game has rushed to work with Bun B, and Trill O.G. offers plenty of evidence to his growing influence, most notably on Let ‘Em Know. Produced by DJ Premier (how’s that for an east coast co-sign?), who crafts a trademark gritty/symphonic beat, Let ‘Em Know finds Bun rhyming hard like a long lost Gang Starr member. Unless you’re completely blinded by bias, there’s no denying Let ‘Em Know’s dopeness. Notably, O.G. also finds Bun Beater reuniting with Drake, whom he’s legitimately been down with from the beginning, on both the tightly burning Put It Down, which notably builds its beat around a gospel organ (noticed a theme yet?), and on the breezy and more heavily Drizzy-influenced It’s Been a Pleasure. With tracks like these pervading the album, calling doubters of Trill O.G. haters is too light; infidels is much more accurate.
Trill O.G. isn’t a perfect album (I would have left Snow Money on the cutting room floor), and it certainly isn’t as good as Underground Kingz (without Pimp C how could it be?), but I’ve got no doubt that Chad Butler is looking down from hip-hop heaven and smiling. Bun B has managed to once again produce a remarkably consistent product that simultaneously stays true to its home while venturing into new territory. If Underground Kingz was the Bible, than Trill O.G. is the Book of Bun.
Listen to More: Bun B Written by Nathan S.
First DJ Booth Appearance:
"They Don't Wanna Play ft. Bun B & Bad Seed" (2007)
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