On his an initial solo album the exists not since he’s in the habit of making records but due to the fact that he has actually something come say, the UGK cofounder lastly sounds i was sure by himself.

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In the decade since the death of Bun B’s UGK partner and best friend, Pimp C, hip-hop’s A-list has handled him prefer a widowed, respected elder. They sat Shiva v him come share his grief, subsequently transforming out in droves because that his solo projects and to memorialize Pimp C and also preach UGK’s greatness. However they never ever spoke what countless must have thought: Creatively, Bun B’s best years were nearly certainly behind him. From your dueling temperaments come the means Pimp’s wily sneer complemented Bun’s bassy rumble, the two had been perfect matched. Nothing can replace that chemistry.

It’s a testament to Bun B’s herculean presence and also the enduring very nice one of UGK’s woozy country-rap the his solo records have been for this reason solid. Still, through the early ’10s, also he was shedding interest. “Trying to do music after ~ Pimp C passed far was no necessarily tough to do, yet I didn’t really gain it,” he admitted. Bun B’s 2013 album, Trill O.G.: The Epilogue, finished with a song titled “Bye!” the soon lessened his torrent that guest features to a trickle and resolved into a brand-new job to teach a hip-hop course at Houston’s Rice University. He appeared ready, if no for retirement, then at least the next stage the his career.

What a distinction a sabbatical have the right to make. Return the the Trill is Bun B’s very first project in five years and also his very first solo album that exists not due to the fact that he’s in the habit of make records, but because he has something precious saying. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey decimated his Texas hometown of port Arthur, a refinery city struggling even prior to the storm flooded its businesses. “I tried to make an album it is representative that the mentality of civilization in port Arthur post-Hurricane Harvey, and also really after any type of kind of traumatic experience,” that told The Texas Observer. “No issue what happens, you’ve gotta bounce back.” His verses don’t resolve the storm directly, but if any rapper is qualified come speak on regrouping after ~ tragedy, it’s Bun B.

Throughout Return, Bun mounts a spirited case for continued relevance while preaching resilience, the prestige of acting her age, and, together ever, the satisfaction that a well-maintained car. Probably all that time ~ above a college campus rubbed off, too, together he engages with politics much more than ever. “They nothing care around the cure/They simply wanna sell a treatment,” the raps on On “U A Bitch,” one indictment that the prison-industrial complicated and huge pharma. “Keep you alive while keepin’ you high/Now that’s part street shit.”

Most surprising of all is “Blood top top the Dash,” perhaps the most sympathetic explicate of law enforcement ever before recorded through a marquee rapper. Bun narrates a traffic protect against from the perspective of both a pistol-toting driver who has actually been pulled over and the officer, defined not as a trigger-happy racist but an idealist that joined the force out of concern for his community. He is planning ~ above letting the driver off through a warning until he watch him reach under his seat. Neither wants to use their firearm, however both have actually reason because that mistrust. “What if he’s a killer cop choose I’ve checked out on the news?” the driver concerns as that considers his options, every shitty.

Bun is less beholden come the aid of gracious A-listers this time around. Instead, he surrounds himself v artists that fit naturally inside his orbit, mostly fellow Southern-rap veterans too far removed from their 20s come care around trends, emcees choose Slim Thug, Killa Kyleon, and also 8Ball & MJG. Fellow icons the middle-aged hardness run the Jewels sign up with for “Myself,” and Bun sounds every bit at home over El-P’s ’80s action-movie synths as Killer Mike.

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Credit executive producer big K.R.I.T. Because that making Return of the Trill host together. In K.R.I.T., who straight produced fifty percent of these tracks, Bun has found a cheerleader and also UGK disciple who’s completely internalized Pimp C’s playbook, from the bubbling bass to the churchy organs. And also while K.R.I.T. No the very first rap producer to recruit bluesman Gary Clark Jr., he becomes the first to put him alongside soul singer Leon Bridges. An elegant Pimp C eulogy, their “Gone Away” end Return ~ above a graceful keep in mind of remorseful guitar and tender horns. Pimp C’s storage looms over this record, no his absence. Bun B never wanted to it is in a solo artist, however he’s never sounded much more comfortable in the role.