Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, Fri., Aug. 31, 2007
UGKUnderground Kingz (Jive/Zomba)
The name's only half-right. Yes, Bun B and Pimp C reign supreme as the kings of Texas hip-hop, having held the throne for a solid 15 years, but at this point, the concept of UGK being underground is simply far-fetched. This isn't Aesop Rock. This isn't Nobi or Pharoahe Monch. This is UGK, the reason the hip-hop nation wants to know what's up in Houston. As such, Underground Kingz is classic UGK, a complete and cohesive double album of the same deep grooves and bawdy lyrics that put the duo on the pedestal so long ago. Pimp C's production didn't lose a beat while he served his three years for aggravated assault. His sound is pure, original, and precise: syrupy Texas beats given plenty of time to air out in the Port Arthur heat. Bun B remains on point, still rhyming about his three favorite things: horsepower, pussy, and blow. Combining the sleazy "Gravy" with the spiritual "Heaven," the krunked out "Like That" with the epic "Swishas & Dosha," Kingz reins in its bona fide top-down summer jam, "Int'l Players Anthem," while "Take Tha Hood Back" stakes a claim to their H-Town turf. UGK is back, and as far as Texas hip-hop goes, they're on top. It's not about a 106 & Park hit for them; it's about taking the underground to new and familiar heights.