Absolutely II Trill

Talkin' with Mr. Trill himself, Bun B., on the eve of his Parish show.

Bun (l) & Dizz at Emo's, 7.22.08
Bun (l) & Dizz at Emo's, 7.22.08 (by Sandy Carson)

It’s been a busy week for Bun B. Signed up for a leg of this summer’s Scion Live Metro series, Bun rocked Carrboro, NC, Monday night and ATL’s Loft Tuesday. He hits The Parish Friday night (RSVP here) after a run through his adopted hometown Houston. We were able to catch up with him for a portion of his 11-hour trek across the Deep South, where Bun riffed on all things Trill before bus navigator duty pulled him away.

Austin Chronicle: The last time Austin saw you was a few weeks ago for the Dizzee Rascal show at Emo’s. Pretty cool move you pulled posting up stage right and watching Dizz go to town. He spoke very highly of you when I talked to him in July. Do you consider yourself a mentor to him?

Bun B: It would be nice to be looked at as a mentor, not that he needs that much direction. Dizzee's an individual who has a very distinct outlook on the world. He’s got a very clear sense of who he is, what he’s doing. Being a mentor to people sometimes just means being an ear, and listening to shit that they wanna get off their chests. This rap shit can be crazy sometimes, and the average person that’s not involved in this shit day to day doesn’t really understand what all goes into it, and how difficult this shit can be. So sometimes, based on the fact that I’ve basically been through everything a rapper can go through, just being there for people is it sometimes.

He’s a friend, so every time he calls it’s not like, “Yo Bun, I got a problem.” We’re friends, so we talk casually. But when he does go through different things, I like to count myself as a person he can call on.

AC: Is grime rap accessible enough to make a lasting impression in the states?

BB: I think there’s definitely room for growth. It’s definitely an acquired taste - overseas, too. The same way we are. They don’t just accept every rap that comes from the States the way we do. I definitely think there’s potential for it to grow, though. Everyone’s one hit away.

AC: Do you see a connection between grime music and the UGK sound?

BB: It all started in the hood. An artist like Dizzee, he’s in tune with the heartbeat of the streets in the same sense that UGK is. Context wise, the shit is there. That’s the thing. It’s just a matter of making sure the music can match.

AC: There’s an honesty to his work that really ties into your own.

BB: Yeah. I mean, we definitely rep the realness.

AC: What’s it like to work with up and comers like Dizzee and Kidz in the Hall? Are you able to work as peers?

BB: It’s definitely an equal thing. I don’t work from sitting on Mt. Olympus. We all got love for the game, and it’s best for us to interact as much as possible so we can feed off each other and make the best song possible.

They never see it that way. They always call me O.G. or Uncle or some shit like that. Those are terms of endearment, though. I try not to bring too much attention to it and make the situation as light as possible.

AC: I’ve been really impressed with II Trill.

BB: I think it’s great, too. I wouldn’t wanna call it shitty. I wouldn’t have put it out if I didn’t think it was good. But I think it’s very good, man. I think it did what we wanted to do and what we needed to do. I feel like the fan base was satisfied.

AC: Is there anything you would have liked to have done differently in retrospect?

BB: I would have liked to not have had to make “Angel in the Sky.” How about that?

AC: How was putting this album together different from putting together your solo debut, Trill?

BB: I had little bit more confidence, a little bit more assurance in what we’re doing. The first album came out as something that we had to do, not something we wanted to do.

AC: Before Pimp’s passing you were already working on this album, correct?

BB: Right.

AC: How’s the solo recording process different than making a UGK album?

BB: It’s just a matter of writing three verses as opposed to one, one-and-a-half. That’s about it, and the fact that the responsibility’s solely on me. Other than that, it’s not like I switch up the process. People tend to make the recording process way too much. You go in, you lay down a track; you write a rhyme and you go in and rap it. It’s really that simple. All that other shit, man, they’re really trying to compensate for the lack of talent.

AC: Chicago MC Lupe Fiasco shows up for a verse on II Trill’s “Swang On Em.” What went into that collaborative process?

BB: Again, people tend to make too much of the process. It’s just a matter of me callin’ Lu: “Lu, I got a track. I want you to get on it.” He heard it; got on it; put down the verse. The rest is history. It’s not like I sat down with Lu like, “Hey Lu. We need to make this big Houston to Chicago movement come together through hip-hop.”

I don’t even pay attention to that shit. To pay attention to comments from people hatin’ gives them weight. You can’t get taken out of your game. I know what the south is doing; I know what we’re representing. I know where we’ve come and I know where we’re going. I don’t need anybody else to tell me my path and tell me what I’ve accomplished and what I haven’t.

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