On the world premier of People’s Party, Kweli sits down with Texas rap icon Bun B. They reflect on his biggest influences growing up in Port Arthur, the evolution of UGK, his lyrical style, as well as his and Pimp C’s breakthrough getting on the Menace II Society soundtrack.
We hear his story of hotboxing with Biggie Smalls, and how it felt like he was smoking out with the Godfather. He also gives detailed insight about the home invasion he and his wife experienced recently.
ABOUT PEOPLE’S PARTY:
People’s Party is a weekly interview show hosted by Talib Kweli with big-name guests exploring hip-hop, culture, and politics. “Ladies and gentlemen, get ready, here I come Talib Kweli and I’m bangin’ on ya eardrum”
ABOUT BUN B:
Bernard James Freeman (born March 19, 1973), known professionally as Bun B, is an American rapper and actor. He is best known as one half of the southern rap duo UGK (UnderGround Kingz), a group he formed in 1987 alongside Pimp C. Aside from his work with UGK, Bun B has released four solo albums, including 2010’s Trill OG, which received the rare 5 mic rating from The Source. He is also a guest lecturer at Rice University, located in Houston, Texas.
In the late 1980s, Pimp C started the rap duo UGK. He first released a demo tape titled “Underground King” which didn’t feature Bun B on the track. Instead, it featured Pimp C’s friend Mitchell Queen. Bun B and friend Jalon Jackson had their own group called P.A. Militia. Both groups joined forces and formed the group 4 Black Ministers. Queen and Jackson later left the group leaving Pimp C and Bun B so they decided to revert to UGK. The demo Pimp C recorded with Mitchell Queen, Underground King, caught the attention of an independent label in Houston called Bigtyme Records. They then released an extended play titled The Southern Way. The release of this record caught the attention of Jive Records. While recording their debut album, Too Hard to Swallow, many of the songs had content too explicit for the album, so Bigtyme Records released an extended play titled Banned before the album was released, including all the songs that were too explicit for Too Hard to Swallow. The song “Pocket Full of Stones” became the first UGK song to get major airplay throughout the United States. Their second album, Super Tight…, followed in 1994. Their third album, Ridin’ Dirty, peaked at number 2 on the R&B Charts in 1996, and at number 15 on the Billboard 200. After releasing their fourth studio album, Dirty Money, Pimp C got sentenced to jail.
When Bun B’s UGK partner, the late Chad “Pimp C” Butler, entered a jail sentence on an aggravated gun assault charge in 2002, Bun B made guest appearances on numerous albums by other rappers and released a 2005 mixtape titled Legends. Singles featuring a Bun B guest appearance included “They Don’t Know” by Paul Wall, “Gimme That” by Webbie and “I’m A G” by Yung Joc.
In October 2005, Bun B’s debut solo album Trill was released. Singles included “Draped Up”, “Git It”, and “Get Throwed”. The album peaked at the number 6 spot on the American Billboard 200 chart and number 1 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart.
After Pimp C died in 2007, Bun B returned to a solo career. In 2008, he released his second album, II Trill. The first single was “That’s Gangsta” featuring Jamaican American artist Sean Kingston. It debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200, selling 98,000 copies. Other singles were “Damn I’m Cold” featuring Lil Wayne and “You’re Everything” featuring Rick Ross, David Banner, DJ Corbett and 8Ball & MJG, the latter of which was dedicated to the late Pimp C.
On June 24, 2014, Bun B made a guest appearance to the Htown Beatdown concert hosted by local radio station Hot 95.7. He was awarded the 360 Legend Award for his successful music career and his impact on the local community.
At the start of the Spring 2011 semester, Bun B joined the faculty of Rice University as a Distinguished Lecturer. He taught a course in the School of the Humanities on Hip-Hop and Religion. Into 2013 Bun B continues to teach the course twice a week.
On September 17, 2013, Freeman released a coloring book titled “Bun B’s Rap Coloring Book” along with author Shea Serrano. Serrano drew coloring pages of rappers that he posted on Tumblr. The pages quickly went viral. Freeman and Serrano then decided to make a whole coloring book.
Bun B has been married to Angela Walls since 2003 and has two stepchildren and one step-grandchild. His stepson is American rapper Young-B, who is a member of the rap group Youngest N Charge, which is Bun B’s opening act.
On April 24, 2019, Bun B shot an armed intruder who was attempting to rob his Houston home. The intruder fled on foot. The suspect, identified as DeMonte Jackson, was taken into custody by Houston police after arriving at the hospital.