Two Nights Ago: Bun B and Other Members of the UGK Family
The Return of the Trill
February 8, 2008
Better than: The first time you pulled off that dance move from House Party where you hold onto your right foot with your left hand and then jump over it with your other leg.
Download: "Pocket Full Of Stones," "Front, Back..." and "One Day"
8:15 p.m. Standing in line to pick up the tickets, a woman asks me why I'm carrying a camera bag and notebook. I tell her I'm with the Press, to which she replies, "What's your name?" Seeing as how this night is supposed to be a celebration of UGK, I respond as such, referencing Pimp's famed introduction on UGK's first album with, "Shea Serrano, bitch!" She is, to put it politely, unimpressed with my wit.
8:23 p.m. A woman driving an Oldsmobile sees the line waiting to get tickets, slows down, reads the signs out front, then responds, "Bun B is tonight? Aww, fuck!" The crowd, in a nice microcosm of Houston hospitality, consoles her with laughter and mockery. You gotta love it.
8:48 p.m. The guy in front of me has one of those tickets that you print out when you buy them online. The ticket-taker scans it and then tells him it has already been used. That sucks. That's exactly why I don't trust machines. Well that, and this documentary I saw one time about these machines that come to life and then start killing people in some small town. I think it was called Maximum Overdrive or something. Either way, eff machines.
9:18 p.m. Once we get inside I see that whites, blacks, Mexicans, and Asians are all represented tonight. It appears that in addition to Bun B's other talents, he also cures racism.
9:29 p.m. Several dipshits are wearing dark sunglasses inside here. In their defense, if the ceiling of Warehouse Live somehow gets ripped clean off and then the sun comes up nine hours early, they're gonna totally be laughing in everyone's face.
9:57 p.m. The DJ, playfully "punishing" the crowd because they aren't "ready to party," is now playing the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. The funny thing is, the crowd is singing along, and the guys who are now rapping about how West Philadelphia is where they were born and raised are the same guys that were just going word for word with the 5th Ward Boyz' "Pussy, Weed, and Alcohol." I'm not so sure Uncle Phil would approve of any one of those three. (By the way, remember that one episode where Will's deadbeat dad came back to town and then ended up ditching him again at the end of the show, prompting Will to give the "How come he don't want me?" speech to Uncle Phil? Don't front, you got a little teary-eyed, didn't you?)
10:08 p.m. It took about 35 minutes, but the DJ, who is entertaining the crowd until the performances start, is finally playing Z-Ro's famed "Mo City Don Freestyle." The crowd is ecstatic and rumors quickly spread that Z-Ro will be in attendance tonight. In related news, I have started sharpening the backside of a toothbrush by rubbing it on the concrete floor and have also taped several magazines to my torso as armor in preparation for the now inevitable shank fight.
10:15 p.m. In the middle of a Houston-centric mix that features Big Moe, Trae, and Fat Pat, the DJ hollers out, "If you got love for Pimp C, put a lighter or a cell phone or a pager in the air!" A pager? Really? I was going to bring my pager, but then I remembered I left it back in 1993. Maybe after we put our pagers in the air we can go outside and marvel at the digital dashboard in our Delorean and then go buy some Girbaud jeans.
10:35 p.m. There's some guy wearing jeans, a white polo and some black leather gloves. There's no joke there. I just thought I'd mention it. A guy. In some gloves. Just wearing 'em. Like it's normal.
10:45 p.m. Tupac's legendary Biggie-et-al-aimed dis track "Hit Em' Up" is now blaring. The first line is arguably one of the greatest, most poignant lines ever. ("First off, fuck your bitch and the click you claim") What's really cool about it though is that since it starts out with "First off..." it's also one of the most versatile lines ever, and never sounds out of place when you're addressing someone. For example:
• First off, fuck your bitch and the click you claim. You really need to maximize your annual yield percentage rates this quarter, Frank.
• First off, fuck your bitch and the click you claim. And make sure you close the front door; we're not cooling off the entire neighborhood, Timmy!
• First off, fuck your bitch and the click you claim. Now please stop crying, baby.
See, it's always appropriate.
10:49 p.m. The DJ admits he's sad, then plays the teenager pop-rock broken heart anthem "I'm Gonna Party Like A Rockstar" by JTX. That song definitely ranks high on the "Songs You're Totally Not Expecting To Hear At A Bun B Concert" list.
10:52 p.m. During Playaz Circle's "Duffle Bag Boy," the entire crowd sings along with the chorus. That is right up until the line that says, "And I ain't never ran from a nigga..." At which point it becomes about half as loud because all the white people momentarily stop singing and make awkward eye contact with one another with that same "Are we allowed to say it during songs?" gaze.
10:55 p.m. The live acts finally start. Bankroll Jones is up first. The doors opened at 8:00 p.m. so the restless crowd is a tad unreceptive.
11:01 p.m There's a bald-headed black guy with a beard standing a couple feet away from me. He looks a lot like Suge Knight, except I don't see him strong-arm anyone and then make them sign an unfair record deal, so it's probably not him.
11:08 p.m. The third group is up now and the crowd is not feeling them at all. I see one guy mouth the word "garbage" to his concert mate. Note to Self: Make sure I am never the act that comes up after a crowd has been standing around for three hours.
11:12 p.m. Cory Mo is performing. It is rumored that he likes his chicken fried, his women wide, and GMC trucks is all he drives.
11:17 p.m. The Grit Boys are up now. In case you haven't heard it, their CD is solid. And they did not promise me "butt naked ho's" to write that. Nope. Not a single one.
11:37 p.m. The Everyday Street Gangsta, or ESG as his close, personal friends refer to him, is killing it. The crowd (and DJ) are screaming for a freestyle flow (for which is widely renowned). He obliges and goes absolutely nuts with it for two minutes as the crowd oh!'s? at every clever rhyme. It is sick. Just plain sick.
11:45 p.m. Bun is about to come out any minute. The DJ announces that among the likes of Willie D and Kylla Kyleon, Steve Francis is in the house. He urges Francis to step forward but Stevie never does. He's probably in the back, not passing to open teammates.
11:55 p.m. Bun B takes the stage. The crowd goes berserk. He tears through "I'm Fresh," "Pushin'," "Murder" and "Trap Or Die." It seems like every person knows every word to every song.
12:05 a.m. Performing "Three Kings," the drawn out and immediately recognizable "SLIIIIMMM THUUUUUGGAAA!" screams through the speakers and the Boss Hogg himself busts out of the background and the crowd somehow gets even louder. Man, that's a pretty big coincidence. I wonder if Bun planned that.
12:09 a.m. Bun is in rare form tonight. He destroys "Draped Up" and new single "That's Gangsta". He seems ten feet tall right now.
12:13 a.m. WHO!? MIKE JONES! The Ice Age king joins Bun for "My '64." People are getting' wild now, and I'm pretty sure I just saw a boob.
12:18 a.m. Oh shit. Z-Ro just made his way to the front of the stage to sing the chorus of "Get Throwed." I can think of about 800 other people I'd rather be in a closed off room with other than Z-Ro. A few from that list: Hannibal Lecter, Bloody Mary and that dancing old guy from those Six Flags commercials.
12:22 a.m. Bun takes a break for a second to address the insane crowd. "Being on stage with all ya'll's love, it's still fucked up. I miss him. I'm doing this for you." There must be a lot of dust in here or something, because a lot of people are not completely dry-eyed.
12:24 a.m. Bun has saved the best for last. "Front, Back..." and "Pocket Full Of Stones" send the crowd into a frenzy.
12:26 a.m. I don't see Z-Ro on the stage. Has anyone seen Z-Ro?! I'm terrified. I just know that I'm going to turn around and he is going to be standing right behind me, ala Jason Voorhees.
12:28 a.m. Bun is performing "One Day (You're here)" and drops to one knee in the middle of the stage. This whole thing feels surreal. There's really no way to explain it other than that.
12:30 a.m. He announces "We're going to the Grammys with this one," and then "International Players Anthem" starts. The whole crowd sings Pimp C's part as Bun daps person after person on stage. He finishes his verse, stands in the center of the stage, looks to the sky, and then hollers, "Pimp! UGK for life!" and then drops the mike and storms off the stage. Fuckin' a, man. Unbelievable. - Shea Serrano
Personal Bias: There are fourteen letters in Bun B's real name (Bernard Freeman). There are also fourteen letters in "Kicks so much ass." That's not really a bias, so much as it is a scientific correlation.
Random Detail: A long time Bun B fan summed up the evening with this quote: "Bun B's debut since the loss of our beloved Pimp C is a revolution. It's Houston history, Texas history, American history, hip-hop history and world history. You just wait. We've only just opened one eye." Bonus Random Detail: It took her, like, eight minutes to write that quote down.
By the way: Check out Bun B here.