Bun B Previews The Vulnerability That Will Make His “Bernard” Album Truly Real (Video)
For 25 years plus, Bun B has made music that’s been a reality check. Songs like “One Day” coped with short life expectancy and constant loss. “I Left It Wet For You” was a cruel account of creepin’ on the low. “Pocket Full Of Stones” was not a story of a hustling kingpin, but that of a corner boy with everything to lose.
A decade ago, in the last year of Pimp C’s life, UGK showed that the music they made about their current life situation could be relevant. “International Players Anthem” helped take two “Underground Kingz” to #1 on the charts. The smash hit featuring OutKast (and production by Three 6 Mafia) was not about pushing dope or pulling triggers, but walking down the aisle, and the groomsmen dialogue that comes with it.
In 2017, Bun B is gearing up for his fifth solo album. Bernard follows four volumes of Trill. However, speaking with Sway In The Morning, the Port Arthur, Texas veteran says that this coming LP (musically overseen by Big K.R.I.T.) epitomizes “Truly Real.”
“I just want to be as vulnerable as [I can be]. I don’t want to put nobody else’s business out there. Right? I’m ready and willing to open myself up and put my sh*t out there for people to see,” says Bun after the 17:00 mark in part one. “But I gotta be careful not to expose anybody else’s lives if they’re not ready to go there yet.”
Sway then suggests that this album could deal with health issues affecting Bun. “Like mental health…[I am] definitely dealing with a lot of anxiety, depression—which pretty much everyone in the industry deals with, but no one in the industry really wants to talk about. Because, again—it’s that vulnerability that from the community aspect, from a cultural aspect, we’ve been raised not to show. Like, not even privately—much less publicly. To stand on a public platform where everybody wants to hear great things and see great things about you and to basically pull the curtain back on ‘the Wizard of Oz’ is something that most people really ain’t ready to do. And they ain’t gonna do it until they get a real example of how to do it. So as an O.G., this is one of the bullets we gotta bite. We gotta show ni**as how to deal with it. When Pimp [C] died, I tried to show people how to mourn, how to grieve, how to let that sh*t out: real men cry, don’t get it twisted—that type of thing.”
That fearless approach following 2007 informed the direction on Bernard. “This is like, ‘Yo, every day is not gonna be a good day for you.’ We’re dealing with a lot of self-medication in the hood. A lot of people are dealing with P.T.S.D. and don’t even realize that that’s what it is. The environment that they live in and the things that they’re exposed to are not what people should see on a daily basis. A lot of people are deeply traumatized and don’t know it, and that’s where a lot of this pill addiction comes from right now, and the alcoholism and the drug use from a lot of people in the inner-cities. It’s just trying to mask the pain and numb the pain and deal with what they’ve seen and…people go to bed at night, and it’s not all good. Millions of people, especially in our community, and it’s—how could you get a good night’s sleep when ni**as are shootin’ each other at 3, 4 in the mornin’? Rest is key. So if you’re not getting enough rest, you’re dealing with all this trauma—this sh*t is a path to disaster. And I just want to start the conversation in the Hip-Hop community about this sh*t.”
“Everybody’s not dealing with these things on a major level, but nobody has their sh*t together, completely. We gotta stop walkin’ up to each other, ‘Well, how you doin’?’ ‘I’m good, man…,’ you know? No. ‘To be real, nah. It’s not good today. Like, I’m having a bad day.’ That’s the only way you can get to a bad day is to let people know you’re having a bad day. Otherwise, you’re just gonna end up f*ckin’ up other peoples’ days up—or f*ckin’ somebody up, and that’s not healthy.”
During his Sway appearance (which Big K.R.I.T. calls in), Bun premiered what is believed to be his second Bernard single, “Knowhatimsayin” featuring Slim Thug and Lil Keke. An EP will release of the full-length.