Bun B Has A Very Trill Conversation About Quitting Unhealthy & Deadly Habits (Video)
This Friday (August 31), Bun B is releasing Return Of The Trill. Originally titled “Bernard,” the album marks a personal transformation for the UGK co-founder as it pertains to his music. In the last decade, Bun B has expanded his resumé to include teaching at Houston’s Rice University, co-authoring a children’s coloring and activity book, and becoming a political journalist for VICE. Along the way, the 45-year-old born Bernard Freeman is now a grandfather and a decorated mentor to a crop of younger Rap voices including Drake, A$AP Rocky, and Big K.R.I.T. Krizzle is overseeing the music on Return Of The Trill, releasing through II Trill Enterprises/Double Dose Entertainment/EMPIRE. Last week, Bun, K.R.I.T., and T.I. released the single, “Recognize.”
Bun recently appeared on Sway In The Morning. While contextualizing last week’s death of former Geto Boys member DJ Ready Red as well as Birdman’s recent public apology to Lil Wayne, Bun B holds nothing back when it comes to discussing his health.
Sway In The Morning producer Rich Nice brings out a copy of UGK’s debut, 1992’s Too Hard To Swallow. In looking at the menacing album artwork shot in Dallas, Texas, Bun remarks about his weight. Later in the interview, the MC admits that he was over 300 pounds during Underground Kingz’ 1990s run. Having lost partner and UGK co-founder Pimp C nearly 11 years ago, Bun B is very open about taking care of himself in his forties. This artist has no problem admitting his past actions but aims to set a better example.
At 18:00, co-host Tracy G asks Bun B where his current priorities are, beyond music. The Slab Music icon replies. “At this point [I am focusing on my] health. At this point, I look back at my life, I smoked a lot of blunts, I sipped a lot of syrup, I used to do fry, I used to drink a ton of liquor—like a fifth of Hennessy a day,” admits the Port Arthur, Texas MC. He adds that “fry” is a term for angel dust or “sherm sticks,” he explains, dropping a vintage Jayo Felony bar from “Sherm Stick.” “A lot of the people from my generation, from Houston, were definitely on the ‘Sherm’ back in the day. But I quit everything—my wife can attest to this—I quit every drug before it became popular. So syrup was probably the one that I was still doing while the popularity started, but then as soon as we did [“Sippin On Some Syrup” with Three 6 Mafia and Project Pat], I started having a lot of stomach issues. So I quit sippin’ as well. But a lot of stuff—poppin’ the pills, all the Percocets, and [Oxycodone] pills and all of that, I did all of that stuff. But I quit it early when I realized it was a problem. I just let it go. That’s one thing I’ve been really good at is any vices that I have, once I decide I’m done with it, I quit cold turkey. I quit cigarettes cold turkey,” recalls Bun, who made drug-referencing records like “Feel Like I’m The One Who’s Doin’ Dope” and “Stoned Junkee.”
Bun continues, “Once I realize that something is bigger than me and has a hold on me, then I try to let it go. Even with trees…I used to smoke like seven grams a day—seven to 10 grams of weed a day. Now I probably smoke like half a joint or a joint a day. I just realized that some of these things I don’t need to do all the time as much as I thought. They don’t necessarily reflect my identity.” With UGK’s early artwork derived from a cigar brand’s logo, Bun describes coming to terms with changing image. “There was a time when seeing Bun B with a Swisher Sweet kind of meant something. Right? Culturally, it meant something. But now, I don’t feel like I need to live up to any of those things. Like, I’ve pretty much done every thing that I need to do, and if people don’t see me in a certain light now, they’re never gonna see me in that light. So if people don’t recognize me as an O.G. now, they’re never gonna recognize that. All the cups of syrup in the world ain’t gonna change that.”
The Trill O.G. also takes responsibility as a family man. “You know I got the grand-kids lookin’ at me now. I need to carry myself in a different way. There’s a way that I want them to see me—not necessarily as a rapper or somebody on TV or on the radio or something, but just as a good person that’s living their life right. That’s the message that I want them to have. So when people come up to them, when I’m gone, they’ll be able to say that their grandfather wasn’t just a good rapper, but he was a good person. So I got different things that I want out of life right now.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Bun B reflects on the prospects of a political career after Rap. In addition to T.I. and K.R.I.T., Return Of The Trill features 8Ball & MJG, Wayne, 2 Chainz, Slim Thug, Gary Clark, Jr., and Leon Bridges, among others.
#BonusBeat: A 2017 episode of LAST 7 examines Bun B bringing in Big K.R.I.T. to shape his new sound:
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