Talib Kweli And Bun B Talk UGK Legacy, Meeting Biggie, & Menace To Society I People’s Party


I’m a rapper. I remember the “Ready to Die”
album leak, like, it was eight joints or something like that, that had leaked before the album
had come out, but I want to meet Biggie Smalls. How you doing party people. This is Talib
Kweli, the B-cam, C to M CEO. You are checking out the People’s Party. We are going to have
a good time on this episode. We’re going to talk about music. We’re going to talk about the
culture. We’re going to talk about a little bit of politic and this episode is very special
to me because, one, not only do we have Jasmin Leigh with us, but, you know, we have somebody
who needs no introduction. But I’m going to attempt to introduce him anyway. He is a friend
of mine. I consider him a mentor. He is an elder statesman. He is a curator of the culture.
He is an underground king. He is the trillest of the O.G.’s. He is the trill O.G. Ladies
and gentlemen, the People’s Party welcomes Bun B. Yeah, that’s high praise. You like that? I like that. Alright, word up. Put you on the road, get a cape in your hand. Oh yeah, I’m going to have come out and be
like the James Brown dude with the cape. I love it. You know what I’m saying? I got this. Bun,
how you feeling? I’m good, man. Congratulations. Welcome to Los Angeles. Oh, man, thanks, man. I like L.A. My wife
loves L.A. Shout out to queen. Yeah. I’m more of a New York person. Me too. Crib. But L.A. got the good weed. How you doing,
J? But L.A.’s just got the really good weed, the really good weather and there’s no bugs.
Right? Like, I don’t think L.A. gets enough credit for that. Like, I’m in the South. So,
it’s all bugs. Yeah, if you outside and it’s hot, the bugs
– Mosquitoes all day, but that’s why we love
to come to L.A. because we get a room with a balcony and we can just leave the doors
open – – you know what I’m saying, and get that cool
L.A. breeze coming through at night, smoke some good tree and just relax. The first time I ever smoked weed on the internet
was on Snoop Dogg’s GGN. Really? Yeah, and he was like, “Go ahead and hit this
blunt, Kweli,” and I’m like, “Nah, my kids are fans. They might look at this and they
might watch you.” He’s like, “Your kids smoke weed anyway, Kweli. Go ahead and hit the blunt.” They probably do at this point. My kids are adults by the way, for anybody
who’s listening. Bad parenting is not what we condone here at the People’s Party. I mean, if that’s the worse thing your kids
are doing, I think you’re a pretty good dad. There’s always coke and heroin. I think if that’s the worst thing your kids
are doing, is smoking weed – Yeah, you said they could be on coke or heroin? Yeah, coke or heroin or both. Or be pilled-out. There’s a lot of wild options.
They could be alcoholics. They could be a lot of things. That’s true. It’s my job to be the steward,
to be the mentor, to be their guiding force. I don’t know if you know this, but I consider
you – there you go – a mentor for me in this business. Really? I heard you say that in the intro.
Really? Yeah. I absolutely consider you a mentor because
we been friends for a long time. Yeah, but I feel like you were doing pretty
good when I met you already, though. Yeah. I was doing alright. I was doing alright,
but you know longevity is a different thing. That’s true. We met maybe, what, 10, 15 years ago? At least. And the moves that you’ve made have been hugely
inspirational to me. All our people, look, I called you an elder statesman. Down south,
Texas, but down south, a lot of people in the culture don’t know about old school
down south or Texas artists. Who was you listening to, hip-hop wise, growing up? In Texas, specifically? Yeah. Let’s start with Texas. Definitely in Houston, K-Rino. K-Rino is the
O.G. of all Houston lyricists, like rappers. Like, he is still the greatest metaphor conjurer
I’ve ever seen in my life. He’s still very active as a writer, even to this day – – and he’s been independent the entire time.
So, he was inspiring me on many different levels, you know what I’m saying? As a businessman,
as a writer and his longevity is… I’ve been here since, what, since ’92, and he was here.
He was seasoned when I got here, you know what I’m saying and he’s still rapping. And
that’s the funny thing because I hear people all the time, I remember when Too $hort used
to always talk about he was retiring, different people would talk about they’re retiring and
I always look at Cube. I’m like, “If Cube is working, I have to keep working.” If Face
is working, then I have to keep working because I can’t get lazy when the O.G.’s, to me, are
still active, you know what I’m saying, and aggressively putting out music, putting out
content, inspiring, you know what I’m saying, living life on a full level, you know what
I’m saying. That’s what really inspires me now, people who have a great home life, have
a great family life, but still every now and then want to come back and contribute to the
culture in their own way, you know what I’m saying. I think Cube is a great example of
that. You look at all the different business ventures that Cube has been able to get him
into and he still comes back. He was my favorite rapper back in the day. And he still, like, he still going hard. He got to get with Houston cats to put out
some records. I’m with that. But it’s good to see people
from that era still active, you know what I’m saying, and still doing work that inspires,
you know what I’m saying. So, as long as I see people like that still out there getting
it, I feel obligated. Right, I can’t quit until at least they quit, right? Right. Right. Well, you started in ’92. You
got Five Mics in The Source in 2010. Yeah, that was crazy. So, that’s albums deep into your career. And I feel it’s kind of like, you know, it’s
one of those situations how they gave Denzel the Oscar for “Training Day” because they
knew they didn’t give it to him for his best work, I kind of feel like. That was Trill-O.G. though? Yeah, that was Trill-O.G. That’s a great album, bro. Which is a good… look, I’m not going to knock
my work, you know what I’m saying. I’m not going to knock my work, but – Yeah, I get what you saying, a lifetime achievement
award. Absolutely, and I’ll take it, you know what
I’m saying – – So, it still represents a lot to me, you
know what I’m saying. Well, it did at the time, you know what I’m saying. It still represents
a lot to the culture now, at this time, and I was happy to be a part of that. That’s a very,
that’s a very distinct group of emcees that carry that accolade, you know what I’m saying,
and that’s one of those things when I came in, I was like… you know, because I never
thought about Grammys. I never thought about BET awards or any of that stuff, but Five
Mics in The Source was something that you kind of wanted to aspire to. Absolutely. And Verse of the Month, too. Now, Verse of
the Month, to me, probably would’ve been worth a little more. I got Verse of the Month for once. Of course you did. Once. I got it for “The Proud,” I got Verse
of the Month, but I never got a Five Mic album, but I did get a Verse. You want to trade? I’ll trade you. Shit. Let’s trade, yeah. So, let’s talk about
verses. I was going to talk about something else, but which album was “Murder” on? “Murder” was on “Ridin Dirty.” “Ridin Dirty,” that’s three albums in. Yes. That verse by you on that is my favorite Bun
B verse. Mine too. That’s your favorite? So, you knew it. Yeah, yeah. I know what that verse is, right?
That is the song, lyrically, that set me apart from every one of my contemporaries in the
South and kind of set the tone for how people who didn’t know me at that point would be
introduced to me. This was the record that Pimp always wanted to make for me because
everything that UGK did was kind of slow and laid back. A lot of the music we did was slow
and I always was a very aggressive emcee. So, I always wanted those faster songs and
I never could get one from him and he was like, “Yo, we going to give you a song where
you can just go off,” cuz… I’m like, “Because you’re the main one bragging how good I can
rap, but you won’t give me something over 80 BPM so I could rap.” Oh, please, go ahead.
I apologize. I’m jealous. I’ll bring it over there. Okay,
keep going. But yeah, I realized – – once it was done. Like, not when I wrote
it, not when I laid it, but when the whole song was done. I realized that nobody, really,
from my region had ever attacked a verse, lyrically, like that, and I knew that from
that moment on every rhyme was going to be different, right? Everything was going to
be different and it took a lot to get to that level. I found myself amidst a bunch of different
emcees that helped me build my skills up. I was around this kid named Rick Royal. Rick
Royal was from a group called The Royal Flush. One of the greatest pinsman I’ve ever seen
in hip-hop. He was a guy that I was around and just was lyrically just on a whole other
level in terms of transcribing life into lyrics. There’s a distinct difference if you look
at my lyrical ability from “Southern Way” to “Too Hard to Swallow” to “Super Tight”
to “Ridin Dirty,” and that was because of the people that I was around and the level
of rapping that those people were doing. It was him. It was cats like Smith D, the
Middle Finger. That’s where I met the Middle Fingers, around the cat, Rick. So, just a
bunch of different emcees really attacking lyricism and storytelling on a different level.
I was really intrigued about how, especially Rick, about how he was able to construct songs.
I was like, “Okay, there’s a little bit more technical effort that I could be putting towards
this that I’m not really taking full advantage of,” and so pretty much after those days,
that’s kind of like where on “Super Tight” there’s a song called “Three Sixteens,” which
is kind of the beginning of me taking my lyricism a little bit more serious. “Murder” becomes
that verse where everything starts to really fall into place and I understand exactly
how I’m supposed to be rapping and how I’m engaged in the English language and that it’s
not going to be like anybody else’s style of emceeing and that it’s going to always
set me apart from other people. That’s when I really realized I was nice. Right. Like, I’m like, “Okay, you actually really
good with this.” I was always better than the people around me, but I wasn’t necessarily
in, you know, a group of heavyweight emcees. Yeah, yeah. And by that time, you know, we were on a major
label. We were getting the distribution that we wanted and this was the first album where
we had full creative control. So, whatever the message was that we were going to send
from this album, this one was all on us. To this day, that’s still the best received album
that we’ve ever put out. That’s really my introduction to y’all. “Ridin
Dirty” is my introduction to y’all. I was reading up. Like, you weren’t an original
member of UGK? Nah, nah. The original UGK was Pimp and this
cat Mitchell Queen. So, they had the actual name UGK first. Right. And then I was in another group with this
cat Jalon Jackson and we were in a group called The P.A. Militia and then we all got together
and formed a four man group. But then the other two cats decided they wanted to do other
things. So, it was just me and Pimp and UGK was one of the names that we were working
with, but when we ended up getting signed, the dude was like, “You know, what are y’all called?”
because we had this song… we didn’t have a real name. It was like, “Well, one of the
names we were using was, like, UGK, Underground Kings.” He’s like, “That’s perfect.” That’s perfect. You know. So, that’s around “Southern Way” time, the
song that got y’all the deal? Yeah. That was like recorded in early ’91,
released in February of ’92 and… thank you. And we were signed by May, you know what I’m
saying. It was crazy because we dropped the same week that the Kris Kross album dropped. “Da Bomb.” Yeah, but we were… we outsold them in Texas
and Louisiana. So, that’s how we started getting people’s attention, like, “Who is this group
that we never heard of?” that’s outselling these artists and whole-sellers and one-stops
and mom and pops and stuff like that. Right, yeah, because Kris Kross was a huge – Nah, this was a huge group. Yeah, they were huge. Like, period. It was a big deal. They had
a big machine behind them – – you know what I’m saying, but we were just
in the right place at the right time and got momentum and had a little bidding war over
a weekend and then we ended up with Jive Records and, I guess, the rest is history. Right. So, from then you went to “Too Hard
to Swallow,” “Super Tight,” “Ridin Dirty.” “Pocket Full of Stones” comes out. Yeah, yeah. That song kind of took over, right? Yeah. So, “Pocket Full of Stones,” was… it
was its own different kind of beast as far as a hood record, when he we first kind of
put it out. But then when Jive got the contract to do the soundtrack for “Menace II Society,”
they reached out to us and it was ill because they sent me, like, the script, which the
script had a different ending – Okay, I didn’t know that. – than what the movie had. Can you tell us the secret ending of “Menace
II Society”? I want to say, because I don’t want to lie
on it, but I feel like Caine wasn’t supposed to die, something like that. I think that they
wrote it like that and intentionally shot it different because they felt if they would’ve
put Caine dying in the script that they wouldn’t have went for it. So, I think they wrote it
where Caine lived and everything kind of ended happy ever after it, but they shot it differently.
But I had, like, three pieces in the movie. So, we had the crib in P.A. and they sent
us this package and we put in a videotape and it’s the scene in the store. It’s the
scene in the alleyway where he shoots the dude over the burger and it’s like him
and Jada Pinkett in the crib. That must’ve fucked you up. We were bugging. Like, “Yo, what is this movie
fixin to be?!” I saw it in the movie theater and it fucked
me up in the theater. So, it must just, at the crib, have an advance – And I’m like, “Okay, so when does this happen,”
and I’m trying to look through the script and see where it happens in the movie and
what’s going on and I’m like, “Yo, this movie fixin to be wild. This movie fixin to be wild,”
but then when I saw it and he died, I was like, “Yo. This is crazy.” I made my mom sit down and watch that movie
– – because my mom wasn’t watching movies that
had a lot of cursing and violence in it. I’m like, “No, this is one you have to see. Get
past the cursing. Get past the violence. You got to see what they did with this film.” Yeah, that and “Boyz n the Hood” were movies
where people that necessarily didn’t have an eye into that world and that lifestyle,
it gave them a lot of real education about how people were living outside of where they
were from, if you weren’t from L.A. because I knew a couple of guys from L.A. early in
my life. So, they kind of talked to me about how the streets were structured and how everything
worked. So, when these different movies come out, I have a frame of reference, explained
it to people. It was crazy because I met a 60 and a 5 Percenter, like, the same summer.
Those were my two best friends that summer Best of both worlds, huh? Yeah. So, it opened me up totally to everything
that was on the West Coast. So, I understood West Coast hip-hop better and then everything
that was really going on, on the East Coast, and the different terminologies. So, you know
what I’m saying, shout out to Jay and shout out to Sha-kim. I still talk to Sha-kim to
this day. Speaking of some gangster shit. You have a
coloring book that I sell out my bookstore with Shea Serrano – Shea is the man, right? Shea is the man. Shea got a lot of beautiful
things going on. He has a lot of books, a lot of situations, but the Bun B coloring
book, tell me about that. Alright, so Shea interviewed me a lot, you
know what I’m saying. He lived in Houston and he was getting different writing assignments
from different publications outside the city and he would always interview me and I was
watching his Twitter and I was like, “Yo, this is a very funny dude and we have a
very similar sense of humor.” So, I reached out. I was like, “Yo, we should do something
about hip-hop together, but it should be funny or fun,” because hip-hop, everybody in hip-hop
kind of takes themselves very seriously. But I remember somebody saying, like, “Bun, you
and Snoop are in a really good place. Y’all are kind of where Cube is now, where
you don’t have to prove you’re a gangster anymore. So, you can do kind of anything and
play in space –” “- and nobody’s going to be like, ‘Oh, he’s
a sucker,'” or something like that, you know what I’m saying. So, we talked about it. Originally,
we had talked about a book and then at a certain point, we were like, “Yo.” The idea of a coloring
book came up and then Shea was like, “No, a coloring and activity book.” He’s like,
“That’s how you get it.” That was the shit. Right? We pitched it to a couple of different
publishing companies and nobody got it. Nobody really got it. So, Shea was like, “Let’s do
a Tumblr and every week we’ll drop a different thing on the Tumblr and we’ll get the word
out through that.” So, eventually we end up getting like 50,000 followers on Tumblr and
a lot of rotation, I mean a lot of momentum behind the pictures and the coloring stuff.
So, he pitched it again and somebody bit and they put it out and I remember within like
the first three days of it being out, we got a call from the New York Times. The Times
was like, “Okay, this could be the first time we’ve ever had a coloring book make the bestsellers
list, but you have to sell X-amount of coloring books.” So, he was like, “I don’t know what
kind of momentum you got, what kind of machine you have, but here’s what you have to do.”
It was just really hard to line up the ducks because it started going a lot further than
we ever thought it was going to go. It ended up in Nordstrom’s, back in the special Christmas
section, started getting a lot of people’s “top 20 Christmas to have” lists and it was… I
thought it was a great moment for him because he’s such a great talent. He’s such a brilliant
mind. He drew all of the pictures, right, came up with all the ideas. I think the most
brilliant thing he did was, he did Wu-doku. So, Sudoku with the nine members of the Wu
Tang Clan. That’s just genius, right? It’s brilliant because it lives forever because
it’s just like Sudoku. You can come up with tens of thousands of permeations of putting
that together. Shout to Shea Serrano. I could talk about Shea all day. Shea was… he
was a coach for middle school at the same time all of this was going on. Such a great spirit,
man, and he loves his kids too. Good dad. There’s a lot of people like that in hip-hop.
That’s really the core of hip-hop. I mean, you a family man, Bun. You a grandfather. Yeah. Man, about to be five times over. Five times over. Yeah, could be any day now. I’m having a fifth
kid. That’s beautiful. It’s amazing, man. Hip-hop is a family business at this point. Well, I never saw myself getting this far
musically and I never saw myself getting this far in life, right, because as soon as I started
to figure out what dating was and, like, wanting to have a long-term girlfriend, I ended up
in this entirely different world and it just pulled me away from everything. So, I started
rejecting relationships and commitments and all that type of stuff, especially anything
long term because of the lifestyle that I was living. It wasn’t until I met Queenie
that I was like, “Look, if I’m going to be with one person, this is the one person that
I want to be with.” Right, and that’s how you do it. Yeah, and there was a lot of growing up I
had to do because, you know, Queen had kids, you know what I’m saying, so I had to…
I’m not just a boyfriend, you know what I’m saying. So, there was a lot of things to adjust
with having a young girl growing up in the house, but I think we did a good job, man.
Her kids are great. The grandkids are great, everybody’s healthy. You know, we’re blessed
over here. That’s beautiful, bro. It’s a good transition too. It’s a good transition
in life. Now we make music kind of because we want to, not because we have to, right?
There’s no big contractual obligations that force me to go and have to make music and
punch the card, so to speak. I’m not phoning it in or whatever. I’m really enjoying what
I’m doing and I’m finding different ways to make the process enjoyable. I get to work
with friends now. Like, the first album we did, “Return of the Trill,” we did with K.R.I.T.
K.R.I.T.’s a good friend. So, we did pretty much all of it with K.R.I.T. The second album we
just did, “TrillStatik,” you know what I’m saying, me and Statik, good friends. You know
what I’m saying, you a part of that. Great album. You’re always around if we need you. Jov called in. That was crazy, right? Right, Fat Joe came from the crib because
he seen it on live stream. It was fun because we didn’t expect anything
out of it. We just wanted to see if we could, like, actually make it happen. It was really
more of a passion project and just an exercise in hip-hop, you know what I’m saying, but
I feel like I painted myself in a corner now because everybody’s going to want their album
in a day. I have an Instagram clip that I didn’t post
yet. I might just put it in my documentary of the moment when everybody listened to Fat
Joe for the first time and it was just you and him vibing and the hook came on and he
starts doing this dance – Yo. Joe’s a very, very ill dude, like in hip-hop
– Yeah, man. Shout out to Fat Joe. And in the culture. He’s a very ill dude. I say that if you want to get to the root
of what hip-hop is, you can’t get closer to the root than, like, a Puerto Rican gangster
dude who used to be “Digging in the Crates,” from the Bronx. Like, that’s most hip-hop
shit ever. In the moment, I was like, “Okay, this was
the DITC Fat Joe,” right? Yeah, that record feel like DITC. And we didn’t think that was… in the moment,
when we were playing beats, we didn’t think… because Joe came in and there was no music that was
attributed to him. There was no, like, “Okay, Joe’s going to rap on this song,” or whatever.
So, we’re playing him different songs and based on a lot of the music that Joe’s known
for right now, we thought he would bite on something that was a little bit more commercial
or something like that. Yeah, he does hit records very well. Yeah, you know what I’m saying, but when he
heard that track, he was like, “Yo, that’s the one right there. That’s the one I want
to rap to,” and I was like, “Okay. He picked this beat. We fixin to get “Digging in the
Crates” Fat Joe. This is a very, very unique verse we’re about to get.” You don’t get that
all the time. Most people are trying to get radio-pop, pop hit Fat Joe. But he knew that he had to give you that verse.
That’s why he drove over there. That’s why he was in the crib, like, “Yo, that’s the
vibe right there.” That’s what hip-hop is really all about. When
you create an environment where emcees just want to rap – That’s what we really wanted to do at the
end of the day. We have to… you can invite people over to rap, but you got to create
an environment that’s conducive to it. You got to put the right people in the room that
can be around each other and build off of each other. A lot of people didn’t necessarily
know each other well, but they knew each other well enough. Right. I just ran into Smoke DZA a week ago,
a week before that in L.A. Right, and I had just saw him like two weeks
before Johnny’s Spot, you know what I’m saying, and even people like, you know, Meth, who
I’m just now really getting to build a relationship with, but Meth was one of the first people
I called. He’s a good dude. He was like, “Yo, I’m with it,” and I never
asked Meth for a verse or anything before, and he was like, “I’m with it.” The funny
thing was he came a day early because he thought it was the day before. So, he called me the
day before – Yeah, he’s a good dude, man. He was like, “Yo, I’m outside, Bun. Tell me
what button to push.” I’m like, “Yo, I’m in Houston. We ain’t even… I ain’t even there
yet.” Right. You and me, how many records we got
together? At least four, right? Yeah. So, we got one with K-Salaam and
we just did this one with Statik, Strangers with Hi-Tek. We have Country Cousins and we have Real Women.
That’s five records now. Five records we got together. So, we got a
mini-EP. Right. We should just do one. Why don’t you drop a collab. We should. Something else we got in common
is we both smoked with Biggie. This is true. I would like to hear your… because I heard
about that you smoked with Biggie, but I hadn’t heard the story. Okay. So, we were on promo. This is our first
promo run and we’re at the BMG offices in Atlanta. At the time, Chaka Zulu is like – Shout out to Chaka Zulu. One of the guys… I think he might’ve still
been an intern at this point, right, but he was the guy riding us around, driving us around.
So, we go to the BMG offices and the big deal about the BMG situation was the fact that
Craig Mack had just went gold. So, “Flava in Ya Ear” had just went gold. Juicy I think was
still I think at 460, 465, something like that. So, everybody in the room is making
a very big deal about Craig Mack. I’m a rapper. I remember the Ready to Die album leak. Like,
it was eight joints or something like that, that leaked before the album came out, but
I want to meet Biggie Smalls. So, we see him over the table kind of off to the side, away
from everything – We go, like, “Yo, I’m Bun B. This my brother
Pimp C. We’re UGK,” and he goes, “I know who y’all are.” I’m like, “Word.” He’s like, “Yeah,
the ‘Pocket Full of Stones’ joint from ‘Menace.'” He was like, “I used to ride that all the
time.” He was tuned in. That’s why he had all like
Houston metaphors in his raps. So, he was like, “Man, I fuck with y’all.”
We was like, “We fuck with you.” We’re fixin to go outside and smoke, if you want to smoke
and he was like, “Yeah, cool. I’ll come, I’ll smoke.” So, we go out to the car and he’s
a big dude. So, you know, Pimp was in the driver’s seat. I’m in the passenger seat.
So, I offered him the front passenger seat. He’s like, “No, I’m going to chill in the
back.” I’m like, “Yo, there’s a lot more room in the front.” He’s like, “Nah, I’m good.
I’m going to sit in the back.” So, he got in the backseat and he left the door open.
We were like, “Yo, close the door. We’re going to hot box, keep the smoke in.” He’s like,
“Nah, I got to keep the door open. I need the air,” or whatever. It wasn’t until later
that I realized he didn’t want to sit in the front seat because he didn’t want anybody
sitting behind him and he didn’t want the door closed in case he needed to bounce because
he didn’t really know us, know us like that, you know what I’m saying. It took me probably
a couple of hours after the fact. I was like, “That’s why dude didn’t want to sit in the
front seat,” and I had even more respect for him as a man, outside of the music. I was
like, “Okay, I can see this cat moves in a real way out there,” but we smoked and we
chilled and he was just a very, very good rapper, right? Like, there’s a lot of people
– Yeah, like one of the best, one of the most
natural. A lot of people are going to make rap music
and rap songs, but a lot of us are not really going to be that good. Only a few of us will
ever be really, really great at it and he’s one of the few guys that were really, really
great at it and this is coming from a guy that’s really, really good. Like, I’m pretty
good with it, right? I’m not going to fuck around. You’re good, man. You’re no slouch. I’m pretty good, you know, but this dude was
really… for dudes that write and know what it takes to put a rhyme together and piece
words together and really manipulate the English language, you know that dude was different,
still different than anything that anybody was doing. Yeah, very organic. It would’ve been really interesting… I think
that’s what people miss the most, is that we didn’t get to see the evolution of it,
right, the growth, the maturity, even though he was very mature for his age and very deep
in his thoughts. But it would’ve been good to see, you know, Biggie getting older, his
kids getting older, being married longer and seeing more of the world, having traveled
all over the world. It would’ve been good to see Bigs reflection on life, you know what
I’m saying. Absolutely, absolutely. Your story is more
interesting because you got a real introduction, you know what I’m saying. I was working for
Jessica Rosenblum in New York, a party promoter. She used to manage John Forte. He used to
hang out with C-Note from Digable Planets – Her name always comes up, always comes up. Yeah, Jessica was official. Jessica was in
the mix. She was doing parties with Puff. There was a party at the country club. Biggie
and Tupac was rolling around together and I remember it was John Forte’s birthday. It
was a club they was doing, but it was John Forte’s birthday. So, we were just smoking
and it was the type of thing where I was let behind a velvet rope for a second and I was
just sitting in the booth, you know what I’m saying, as a kid, like not even old enough
to get in the club at that point. But that’s my one memory of smoking with Big. That’s amazing, that you guys got to smoke
with Biggie. I think it’s pretty amazing, man. It’s, you
know… for me it’s a New York privilege. You was coming to New York. So for me it was a
proximity, like I felt, as a hip-hop artist, a great privilege growing up in New York and
I think New York has been – Oh, yeah, for sure. We take that privilege for granted sometimes,
you know what I’m saying? Well, I think the key thing that New York
had as an advantage over everyone was the outlets, right? The record companies were
based there. The record companies and the – The media outlets. And the transportation system. Not just the
record companies, but that we could hop on the train and, literally, hop on the train
and not pay for it, but hop on the train – You shouldn’t be promoting that. That is illegal
activity – You can’t do it no more. No, it was very ill because I – That’s the only way we was able to do it. If I had a problem with my record company,
I had to literally get on a plane and fly like four hours and go to the office building and
try to get upstairs and all this kind of stuff. But if your A&R was from Brooklyn, you could
find him in Brooklyn, you know what I’m saying, and that was the thing I felt like… and then
the other thing was if my A&R is from Brooklyn and he’s got two artists on the table and
one budget, he’s probably going to pick the New York kid over the southern kid not even
because of talent, though. Save money. Not even because of proximity. I think they
just didn’t have the frame of reference for UGK. Like, many A&Rs fell trying to A&R UGK
project, right? Like, we didn’t need any help from a 32-year-old kid from the Bronx. Like,
“What are you going to tell me about growing up in Port Arthur, Texas. What can you do?
This kid makes all the beats. He makes all the music. We don’t need any help. Just put
me and Pimp in a room. We’ll bring you the album back. Just keep everybody else out the
room.” But yeah, one of the things that I always say to people is that proximity is
key in life. I go through life, more and more, it makes even more sense. Just being in the
right place, around the right people and having a line of communication or access to the right
people in the right places, man, changes everything. I’ve seen people with real superior
talent, right, who just could not, I don’t know if you want to say schmooze, or just
did not know how to talk to people. Right, networking. No networking skills. It’s a package deal. You have to have both. You have to. You know what I’m saying, like
talent will get you in the room, but networking keeps you in the movement. So, people come
into hip-hop and, Kweli, I know you’ve seen it like I do, people come into hip-hop as
an emcee. Like, “I want to be a rapper,” right? They want to impress other rappers. Right, but maybe your skill set is better
built for management, right, or promotion or marketing or radio. So, people come into
hip-hop with, you know, a dream of being this and the culture says, “Well, we’ve got that
guy right now,” but we could really use somebody right here and you know enough from being
around certain things to handle this spot right here. Can you do that? Some people made
those decisions and they’re great people now. Look at Andre Harrell. He’s a legend because
he wasn’t scared to step away from the microphone – Used to be Jekyll and Hyde. And go on to other stuff. I always talk K.P.
who was a DJ when L.A., L.A. Reid started LaFace Records, offered him a spot, like come
in on this side, you know what I’m saying. He wasn’t scared to do it and he was able
to bring that back to the Dungeon Family. Now he just threw his first festival. So,
it’s a skill set and he still DJ’s too. I’m not saying that you can’t still DJ, but sometimes
you’re called to things that are greater than what you even think for yourself and you can’t
be scared to take advantage of those opportunities. Similar to you in a lot of respects because
you are not scared to be a professor. You’re not scared to go teach to babies. Yeah, I mean, look, I tell people all the
time, a lot of my opportunities come because Chamillionaire is busy, right? A lot of my
opportunities come… it’s kind of like Harrison Ford and Tom Selleck. Like, I got this movie
because Chamillionaire was busy. So, Chamillionaire was asked to speak, of
course, on hip-hop and religion at Rice University. He couldn’t make it, but he said, “But I know
who you might want… if you’re looking for somebody to talk about that kind of stuff,
you should probably reach out to Bun B.” So, Professor Pinn calls me and asks me if I’m
interested and I’m like, “Sure.” I go up and I’m kind of sitting in his office before I
speak and I look at his books on the shelf and I go, “Okay, I read that. I read that.
This is interesting,” and it’s not just religious books. There’s some hip-hop books too, and
I’m like, “Okay, this could be interesting.” So, we speak in the course and we talk for
like an hour and a half and it’s just a very, very fluid conversation. After the course,
he was like, “You know, we could really use your input in this classroom. We should talk
about you coming in more,” and a couple of months go by and he’s like… he actually asked
me if I would like co-teach the course with him at Rice University. So, this is more than
just kind of popping in and giving up a little game. This is a very real commitment. Like,
Rice University is the number one university in Texas, the number 15 university in the
country. So, I’m not just teaching at your local community college. Like, this is a very
prestigious university. So, my concern was not messing up his tenure. He’s the most tenured
professor of color on campus. So, I don’t want to come in with my street shit and everything
that I’ve done, right, and fuck up his reputation on campus. But then two, the other thing is
I don’t want to misinform the youth because these are some of the brightest minds in the country
that come to this university. Their parents spent a lot of money. There’s a very, very
big scholarship, if you’re on scholarship. There’s a lot of money involved, on the line.
We would get kids who were religious students… because people assumed this is a music course, but
it’s not. It’s a humanities course. It’s a religious course. I went and did it with you. It was Lupe and
No Malice and it wasn’t a lot of music talk at all. Nah, and so with a different perspective on
the culture, right, and the lived life within the culture, like not just what you do, but
how it affects your life, how you have to adapt some of your life to it, how it has
to adapt to your life and what is the ebb and flow of this thing that we do. It’s beautiful
to be able to have these young minds engaged on this because a lot of these kids, they
don’t even listen to, like, urban radio. So, their curiosity isn’t based on Little Wayne
or Drake or anything like that. They’re like, “What is this, because I hear some of it and
it’s positive and it’s reaffirming and then some of it, it’s a lot of the ‘N’ word and
I just don’t know what’s going on?” So, we have to basically put everything in its own
historical perspective. We have to put the Black experience in its historical perspective.
So, before we get to hip-hop, we’ve got to get through a lot of music and a lot of culture.
So, we start at the Negro spirituals and work our way all the way up. From that perspective,
they can see, okay, lifestyle influences, lifestyle influences, lifestyle influences.
We’re going through blues. We’re going through jazz. We’re going through soul music. Lifestyle
influences all these different things and this begat this and this begat that. So, that’s
how we get to hip-hop. So, Caribbean influence, Jamaican, DJ type of thing. So now we’ve got
that. Okay, so here’s the music. Here’s the cross-Bronx expressway situation. This is
how people get displaced and that’s how all these cultures get there and this is the beginning
and it starts here. It’s just a party. It’s just a way to get away, right, but then we
understand a deeper way of getting away and how to keep that momentum of learning to live
through your experience collectively, right, being unified based off of, “Yeah, we’re at
a party, but we’re really all at a party because life is kind of fucked up and work is hard
and where I live is crazy and there’s a lot of crime and I just want to go somewhere and
have a good time.” Chill out. And god bless Zulu Nation for being this transformative
hand that takes these gangs and says, “Hey, look, if you want to beef or battle with someone,
let’s put the knives down. Let’s put the guns down and let’s do it this way,” and thank
god that some people accepted that. Then that becomes this formative shift and it goes from
borough to borough to borough and then from city to city. We see now, “Okay, people in
New York live like this. I’ve never been to New York. I don’t know nobody from New York.
It sounds like they going through what I’m going through.” Then you hit people in Chicago
and people in Florida and people in L.A. and then y’all hear people from Texas and then
Nelly starts talking about St. Louis. You start to get an idea of this world that you
live in. So, when the Ghetto Boys make “The World is a Ghetto,” everybody gets it, right,
because at that point we have information about all these other cities and we find out
that crack is there too. We didn’t know. We thought that was just here, right. We thought
that was… so, you start really understanding how this world really works, right. So, we’ve
been able to educate people about the fact that, yes, there are other people’s lives
who reflect yours, but then there are also people who have beaten the struggle too. So,
you can play it how you want to play it. We were just talking about that the other
day, how social media gives you a glance to other people’s lives. Whereas before, you
didn’t really know what was going on across the world because you didn’t leave your little
area. It’s the same thing with hip-hop. You started learning more about everybody’s lives
because you started hearing, “Oh,” exactly what he said. “Their life is just like mine.” The problem is, is that people can present
their life any way they want to on social media, right. They can fake, perpetrate a fraud. And this is really about… it was always about
clarity, right, about giving people a deeper understanding and being like, “Yo, this is
exactly what happens in my neighborhood, like for real. I don’t know if you’ve been here,
but this is the kind of shit that happens in my neighborhood and the shit’s wild.” Yeah, hip-hop is uniquely regional like that. Absolutely. So, we connect with people and
we reflect through their struggles, like, “Yo, I’ve never been there, but I had roaches
in the cereal box.” When Ghost makes that song, everybody cries because if it wasn’t
you, it was your cousin, but you knew that person. So, for somebody that had always been
so flamboyant and seem to have everything figured out, such a great writer and part
of this amazing collective – Oh, you talking about Ghost. Yeah, exactly, and then you hear his life
and you’re like, “Man, I remember being down bad like that, you know what I’m saying. My
mom left my dad and we had to go to my auntie’s house,” you know what I’m saying and stuff
like that. So, you get it. hip-hop can be as personable as it wants to be and sometimes
as it needs to be. It’s these shared experiences that bring us all together, you know what
I’m saying. That’s why the biggest hip-hop song, I think, of all time is “They Reminisce
Over You,” because everybody finds themself in that unique position of, “Man, I love my
boy, I love my girl, I hate this, it’s gone, but I don’t always want to cry about it. I
want to remember the good things about it and I want to remember –” and then when
you lose friends and you lose family, just like the beginning of the song, you know,
the first two verses is really just reflecting on family and what life is about. That’s what
you do when you lose people and you really understand what death is about. You start
to really deal with your own mortality. Then you start putting your life in perspective,
you know what I’m saying. It’s one of the best written songs ever, period. Absolutely. And the emotion hits every time. Every time
you hear those horns, you go right back to that same place. P-Rock. That’s my favorite hip-hop sample
of all time. He really nailed it with that, but CL Smooth, he just… yeah, man, that’s
a great record. And I talked to CL for the first time, like,
a week ago and I really… it was very awkward because, like, Statik was there and he’s like,
“Yo, this is CL Smooth,” and I had never talked to the brother and I didn’t really… a very
underrated writer, right, very underrated. Such a unique way of speaking, right, never
got his real credit for that. I didn’t really even know how to express that in a FaceTime
video, for the first time ever conversing with the brother. He literally wrote one of
the greatest songs. Not just hip-hop songs, but one of the greatest songs – Yeah, absolutely, any genre. Ever written, ever, you know. So, my father’s a professor too at TSU. Oh, that’s crazy. Yeah, he teaches music in Houston, but Houston
has really good food, right? Oh, yeah, Houston is one of the most diverse
food cities in the country right now. Yeah. I love eating in Houston. I’ve never been, but when I visit, what are
the five places that I need to go. So, there’s a lot of different food in Houston
that’s specific to Houston. Barbecue is a big thing in Houston. You definitely are want
to go to, like, a Burns Original BBQ. That’s like Black BBQ, right. Okay. Burns. That’s like real hood BBQ. Smells up the whole street. Right. For seafood, most people are going
to go to Pappadeaux. Yeah, I mean, Pappadeaux’s my favorite. Cajun, creole kind of food. Sauteed crab fingers. Queenie likes those. That’s the one. That’s the meal right there. They got the lobster egg rolls, lobster shrimp,
like egg roll move. That’s good too. But not every Pappadeaux’s got the sautéed
crab fingers and I’m upset with that, man. That’s a regional thing. Yeah, it’s got to
be closer to the coast. Because Pappadeaux in Atlanta and Ohio, but
only the Texas one got them crab fingers sautéed. Crab fingers? Yeah, because otherwise, they’re going to
be frozen and you want that fresh. You definitely want that fresh. From the Gulf. Fried chicken. I would say go to Frenchy’s.
There’s a new Frenchy’s in Third Ward. There was one… so, the location was there for many,
many years – Probably 30 years and then they kind of bought
the block because they’re redoing that whole…obviously, they’re gentrifying another hood in America.
So, they moved them across the street, but it’s a brand new building. So, if you come
to Houston, you should definitely go to Frenchy’s. Mexican food, you’re going to want to go to the Original
Ninfa’s on Navigation. That’s kind of where… I want to say that… is that where the fajita
was born, I want to say? Ooh, I love fajitas. Fajitas an American thing. Fajitas a Tex-Mex thing. Tex-Mex, right. I’d rather have American Mexican food than – What is American Mexican food? Like Taco Bell.
Did you just say taco bell? I need cheese on my tacos, I’m sorry. Did you just do a Taco Bell commercial on
my show? No. You just said it again! I feel like you just alienated every Mexican
listener of this podcast, talking about American Yo. We’re going to strike that from the record,
sir. I can’t help it. I eat what I eat. What is American Mexican food? That’s like,
I want some Italian Japanese food. I don’t even know what that means. Out here, you go to the food trucks and they
have just the meat, cilantro and onion and I’m like, “Where’s the lettuce, the tomato,
the everything else, the cheese?” That’s a traditional Mexican street taco. That’s Mexican. Yeah, that’s Mexican. That’s not American. Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. I want the American
one that has all the extra stuff in it. You want Taco Bell. You want Taco Bell. So, you’re going to get all the cheese and
the onions and everything, but I don’t know if you’re getting meat. That’s the problem. I know, but you know what you don’t know doesn’t
kill you. This weed is crazy by the way. It is, it is. L.A., man. It’s good to have proximity. Like I said, proximity
is key. Proximity. Proximity is key. Tell me about your proximity to Chad? It was very close, probably my first, like,
long term friendship because I had older brothers, but two of them… I had three older brothers,
but two of them were in and out of jail. The other one had a bunch of kids at a young age.
So, he was constantly working, working, working to take care of his kids. And you were in a group, right, so you know
there’s only certain things that you and your counterpart really understand. There’s some
things that you guys went through together and as you get older in life, there’s only
certain people you can go to about certain situations. There’s only certain people really
understand on a very base level what it is, because it’s not really easy being a public
figure. I won’t even say an entertainer or whatever. It’s not easy being a public figure,
you know what I’m saying. There’s a lot of complexities that go into how you have to
present yourself to the world and kind of come back down to earth. At any given time,
you got to rise up to the clouds and be whoever it is they believe you can be and then go
right back to who it is you know and the people around you know that you are. Sometimes that
can be a conflict of interest. He and I, there were times when I didn’t want to do this shit
anymore and he would have to reassure me about this shit, that there’s a higher purpose and
vice versa. There were times he didn’t want to do this shit anymore. I had to tell him,
“This thing is actually bigger than us now. UGK is not just a group. It’s a movement.
Like, people are living through us,” you know what I’m saying – Right, for life. And we have to… the victories that we achieve
mean a lot to a lot of people. That was something that he held very, very close to his chest
because nobody loves UGK more than he did. That was really the heart and soul of the
group and the movement. It was amazing to be a part of it. I’ve written a lot of rhymes.
I’ve done a lot of songs, but there’s a distinct difference if you listen to the songs where
Pimp and I are rapping together. There’s a whole other level of lyricism that I go to
because there was no one else I was more comfortable engaging with in the process than him. That
was something that we shared for many years and once we figured out how to make it work,
you could do it blindfolded at that point and we had so much fun. We never argued about
music. We never argued about lyrics. We never stepped on each other’s toes. It was beautiful
because we were the perfect yin and yang, right. We didn’t have the same kind of friends.
We didn’t like the same kind of women. We didn’t wear the same kind of clothes, cars,
none of that. So, we never bumped heads on anything. We were very individual and never
felt like we needed to wear matching jackets or shit like – you know what I’m saying.
People really love you because you’re you. They love me for me and we don’t need to mess
with none of that. Just keep being you. Sometimes I agree with it. Sometimes I don’t, but I’m
never going to get in the way. If that’s how you feel, I’m with you a hundred percent. Ain’t that the secret for making good music? It really is. You got to just give over to
the process, right, and to the other people and allow them to go as free and as far as
they fucking feel because it may not hit the right note with you, but as you travel through
the world, you realize that they’re actually hitting other people. That’s not maybe the
message that you’re meant to get from them. That’s not maybe the way that you’re meant
to connect with them, but you know that person is special, right, and sometimes you can get
in a group… like, I remember with Pimp, I would be like… he gave “Having Things” to
Big Mike, right. It was a beat that he gave to Big… it was the first beat that he gave,
like, to another rapper that I wasn’t there when he gave him the beat. I was like, “What
the fuck did you give that man the beat, man. That is a badass song,” right? He’s like,
“Man, because I want that man to win. I want to give that man he best I got.” I was like,
“Man, but that shit would’ve been so good.” That’s a great song. He was like, “Man, I’m going to tell you,
man, that’s what Mike needed. Mike asked me for something jamming. I gave him what he
needed. I can make this shit all day. Man, don’t worry about that beat.” And I was like, “Yeah, I guess you right,
but next time, just let me know ahead of time before you give somebody a beat,” because
I knew he was special. I knew what he was doing was special and every time he did it,
it was special. I was very comfortable having that all to myself. I was the only person
rapping to Pimp C beats for a long time and then once other people started to recognize
his genius and come and get beats, I’m like, “Hold up. That was my thing,” you know what
I’m saying. I don’t think people understand, really, how
ill he was with the beats, really, people in hip-hop. Because people didn’t know that, right. People
didn’t know that Pimp produced a lot of the UGK records, you know what I’m saying. Ninety
percent of something that you heard me and Pimp rapping on was produced by Pimp. Right, and he’s not just making beats. He’s
playing instruments. Yeah. Man, we had a B3 and a Leslie. We like
a whole band in there. We had a B3 and a Leslie and Hammond in the living room with a
bass player and a guitar player and he’s playing the drums live on the drum machine and we’re
just… just jam sessions, you know what I’m saying, in the same house we selling weed
out of. It was very, very crazy. I mean, even “Ridin Dirty,” right, the title song, I was
just talking to somebody about that the other day, the title song on “Ridin Dirty” was Wes
Montgomery, right. So, he’s pulling from very, very deep, distinct places musically, but
sonically being very true to the sound that he’s trying to create. He flipped that sample. Nah, I was like… and I remember hearing the
record. I remember there was this time where he was going through – I love that Wes Montgomery record, like he
flipped it. Jazz… the jazz era is where like “It’s Supposed
to Bubble” and different songs like that kind of come into play in our soundscape. It was
just amazing to be like, “How could he take that, which is nothing like that and not supposed
to be like that, and we fixin to talk about this shit on this record. It’s fixin to be
crazy. People fixin to lose they minds,” but it was always… he was always ahead of the game. There’s a lot of singing, right,
like kind of what Drake and Future and what a lot of guys are doing now. There’s a lot
of that in Pimp C. His influence continues His hook’s crazy. His influence continues to live on right here,
man. I was very, very blessed to have had him as a partner in this music game. I’ve heard him described as the Tupac of the
South. I believe that. I think if you look at Biggie
as being this Greek tragic figure, right, for the East Coast and Pac being that for
the West Coast, then you almost have to look at Pimp C as that for the South, you know
what I’m saying. Biggie’s in his prime when he dies. Tupac’s in his prime when he dies.
We had the number one album in the country, Grammy nominations and everything when Pimp
dies. Right. So, like I said, these Greek tragic moments
where people rise to such great heights and then to see… that was always the crazy thing
about Pimp. For maybe two or three years, a lot of us still spoke of him in the present
term because you couldn’t really wrap your mind around the fact of someone who was so
alive wasn’t alive anymore, right. His opinion and his thoughts on things were always kind
of taken into consideration – He was considered, like, a moral compass. He was and he had a – Which is interesting because he’s Pimp, he’s
talking about pimp shit, pimp and gangster shit, but people looking at him like, “What
would Pimp C do?” I mean, there were moments, and this is very
funny that you say that, because there would be moments where we would talk to Pimp about
something and he would look at the picture of Tupac on the wall and he made a lot of
decisions based on what he thought Pac would do in a situation. So, his moral compass is
very genuine because of who he’s looking to for inspiration, right – Right, right. That’s the line. You know, and he used to always mess with my
kids because in the videos he would always be on his phone, in the video, and my kids
were like, “Uncle Pimp, who you talking to?” He’s like, “I’m talking to Screw,” but Screw
had already passed away, right. Like, “I’m talking to Screw.” My kids… they had to just
back up for a minute, right, because they didn’t understand that and they were like
– and as my son got older, my son was like,
“Man, I’ll never forget when that man said that.” He was like, “That’s what I do. I take
pictures on my phone now,” and they like, “Who you on the phone with?” “I’m talking
to Uncle Pimp.” Talking to Pimp. You know what I’m saying, that kind of a thing.
It’s beautiful. You talked to me once about how Pimp C… so,
on a national level, obviously, Big Pimping was a huge record. Oh, of course. That’s when I knew about UGK. Yeah, that record introduced the world to
UGK on a lot of levels. Jay-Z… it’s funny that you tell that Biggie story. I never heard
that Biggie story, but it makes sense because Big, “I’m not from Houston, but I rap a lot.”
Big was very in tune with… he was a hip-hop fan. Oh, you don’t get that good without loving
it. He loved it. So, he’s the type of dude that
at that age, I’m reading The Source magazine. I’m reading every advertisement. I’m not just
reading the articles. I’m reading the ads. I’m reading… I know the whole magazine inside
and out. Jay-Z was paying attention on that level. Absolutely. And so he reached out to y’all. Well, Clark put him on. Clark says he put
him on. Clark Kent? Absolutely. Which doesn’t surprise me, which doesn’t surprise
me. Yeah, Clark knows what the fuck he’s talking
about at all times, you know what I’m saying. He’s one of my favorite people. Right, and that’s why Chaka Zulu comes in
again because – Chaka Zulu again. he reaches out to Chaka Zulu… that’s who he gets the numbers from. I heard that Pimp C maybe wasn’t feel that
record. Nah, he wasn’t. He made it very clear. Like,
he did not want to rap on that record. So, there was no maybes? Yeah, nah, nah. So, he was actually supposed
to be on “Just a Week Ago,” right, with Jay-Z and Too $hort, he’s supposed to be on that
record before. Pimp had just bought a brand new house. He just put a full studio in. So,
he told Jay-Z, “Yo, come to the crib and we’ll do the record. Fly down to Atlanta, hang out
and we’ll do the record.” This was in the middle of the East Coast/West Coast beef and
Jay was like, “Yo, I’m not leaving New York right now. And this is also before Pro Tools and Flying
Beats back and forth. So, if you wanted someone on your album, they either had to come to
physically where you were and record on your reels or you had to send reels across the
country, like on Delta Dash or something like that because FedEx and UPS wasn’t really – Sending reels on Delta Dash? It wasn’t popping like that. You have to really
have been in the music industry to really understand what I’m talking about. This is
how this stuff got done. Now it’s just an email, right, or even a text. You can get
a two-track instrumental from a text right now. Yeah, my daughter be doing that. She just
walked in. But they were, like, neither one of them wanted
to leave. So, that record never got done. Then it came back around and we ended up doing
the Big Pimping record, but he was just very concerned because at this point he had gotten
his music right the way he wanted it, right. He had a very clear idea of how he wanted
to be received and he felt like we achieved that with “Ridin Dirty.” This was so far removed
from what we were doing, not just sonically, but thematically, this whole idea, it was
just very different. He was like, “I’m not opposed to doing a record with the man. I
wanted to do the last record with the man, but why it got to be this record?” you know
what I’m saying. The other thing is, you know, he’s a producer, he’s like, “If you want to do a record with UGK, let me do the beat.” Come do a UGK record. Yeah, come do a UGK record, but I was like,
“This is a really great opportunity and I think we’d be crazy to not do this record
with this man. It’s some real bread on the table, for one, and I think this is going
to open us up to a whole new audience, people get to see who we are, what we do.” “Yeah,
but this what they going to see. They not going to see us the way we do us. They going
to see us like this and I don’t want people to get it twisted.” He had a very good argument – He was a visionary. Pimp’s whole thing was, you know, we had lots
of opportunities to sign with record companies, a lot of people, Rap-A-Lot, Bad Boy, No Limit, Cash Money and all that. Pimp would always say, “Why go be number four over there and number five
over there, even number three over there when we number one right here with us? We going
always be number one with us,” and again, he had a real idea of how he wanted to be
received and how he wanted to really represent what life was like and the kind of real life
decisions that people had to make in this world that I think people didn’t really… people
didn’t really have that bird’s eye view on what the drug dealer does after the drug dealer’s
done and the money is counted and he goes to bed. Like, what are people dealing with
when they go to bed at night because everybody go to bed at night, right, and everybody can’t
just sleep comfortably after they do some fucked up shit. If you’ve done fucked up shit,
you know it’s not that easy. You don’t just shoot somebody and go home and go to sleep.
It doesn’t really work like that. So, he wanted to deal with those… for people to have an outlet
to deal with those demons and not be scared to go to god and ask for forgiveness
and pray to some higher power because we’re all works in progress, right. So, never lose
that and never think that you can get so far away from god that you can never go back.
That was really at the core of that shit. That’s the life you tried to live and look,
this is what it’s like. If you’re fixin to go out here and sell dope, people will try
to rob you. People will try to kill you. Not everybody wants to pay for dope. Some people
want to get dope in other ways and you got to be prepared for that, and if you’re going
to do it, do it like this because when you do it wrong, you kind of fuck up the whole
system. That’s how people really get killed and that’s what really fucks up everything
and bring the police around. That’s when crime becomes unorganized, right. All these different
kind of scenarios that people around him that he knew growing up were really dealing with.
So, he wanted to have – like a musical outlet for people to go in
and think about. So, yeah, we would do records about partying and all this other crazy shit,
but then also not be scared to confront the elephant in the room, like what does… because
most of us in the South, we growing up in the church. We’re growing up in Baptist churches,
Methodist churches, that kind of a thing, but we really believe in god, but sometimes
we can get detached from it. You can use fucked up preachers and prosperity passes or whatever
to make an excuse for not going to church, but that doesn’t excuse you from connecting
with a higher power. So, at some point you still got to talk to somebody about all this
heavy shit that you going through, which happens at night. Right. You just had a situation that could’ve
been very traumatic. It was traumatic. It was traumatic? Yeah, my wife is still very traumatized by
it. Yeah, man. When I spoke to you about this
home invasion and I spoke to you… how long had it happened when I spoke to you? Probably it was the second day after. The second day after. You said to me that
you were so glad that you did not kill this man. Yeah. And you said that because you were essentially
saying to me… you were talking about your spirit, you were talking about your karma. Yeah, because in the moment, I was really
trying to kill this man, right, because of… the thing I’ll never forget is hearing my wife’s
voice, this deep fear in her voice and I just really felt… I have never felt more violated
in my life. Not because of what’s been done to me because I’ve had guns in my face. I’ve
had crazy shit happen to me before, but to think that you could do this to my wife, right,
and again, he didn’t know that she was my wife in the moment. This was a random attack,
but still, I know this is my wife. Yeah. and I also know that certain men freeze in
these moments and after the attack, I told her, I was like, “I don’t know if you know,
but every night I go through this scenario, every day. I think about if somebody comes
in this house to fuck with us. I will do what I need to do. You will be safe. I don’t know
if things you see me… because I watch a lot of ‘The Office’ and ‘West Wing’ and shit like
that and I go see all the Marvel movies – I don’t know,” and my wife’s seen me get into
scuffles, but no gunplay. She hasn’t been privy to any of that since we’ve been married.
But I never want her to get it twisted. Like, I will protect you, you know what I’m saying,
and my thing was the violation comes in… because she never answers the door. I never let my
wife answer the door because if there’s a threat coming, the threat has to see me first
and I’m always prepared. I’m ready to address the threat in the moment, no problem. But
that’s the thing that I can’t get back from that moment, is the fact that in the moment
she had to address the threat and she had to do what I’m willing to do, which is put
her life ahead of mine. Her whole thing is in the moment she thinks this guy has come
to get me. She doesn’t know it’s random when it’s happening. So, she thinks this guy is
coming to get me. So, her thing is, “I don’t have a gun, but I know Bun can get to the
gun. So, I have to do whatever I need to do to stop him from going up the stairs before
Bun gets to the gun. So, if he kills me, that’s fine. I know Bun is going to kill him.” That’s
what’s in her mind. She shouldn’t – Right. She should not have to think of dealing
with that at all. She should not have had to deal with that
and that’s the trauma that we have to work on with her, you know what I’m saying. That’s
all I want her to do, is to get right from this moment, because no person, but specifically
no woman should have to go through this. If I hadn’t been there – I don’t know if he would’ve tried to take
advantage of her. You said he was in the basement? Well, we live in a three story spot. So, she
was on the first floor and I was on the second, but the gun was on the third. So, I had to
get up to the third, get the gun and get back down to the first floor and when I started
coming around the corner of the second floor, to go to the first floor, I couldn’t hear
anymore and I didn’t know what had happened. So, I made sure that there was a bullet in
the chamber and she was right there, kind of like cowering near the door. She was begging
me not go outside, but this is the primary responsibility I have once I take you as my
wife. The varying levels of how I provide for you, that may happen. You may have good
days and bad days and all that kind of shit, but the primary thing that I have to do as
a husband is protect you. That’s it. If I give you a nice house and a nice car and jewelry
and all that shit, well that varies. We’ll figure that out. Some people are doing better,
some aren’t, but at the very least, I have to protect you as a man in this world. She
knows that I protect her, but I also know that she’ll protect me, which she did. So,
we’re just working through it. It’s a process. Anybody that goes… having a gun to put to
their head and being told, “I’m going to kill you if you don’t do this and don’t do that,”
that’s a lot for her to deal with. Yeah, man. You being from Texas, guns are a
lot more a part of the culture… Oh, man, yeah. …than a lot of other places. Well, it’s allowed to be a part of the culture.
Like, we’re open carry. So, my lawyer said when we did the radio interview, you know,
it was like if I had done what I did in Houston in New York, I’d be in jail. That’s what I was thinking because as a New
Yorker, you have to make a conscious decision to sort of involve yourself in just even knowing
gun laws and knowing about it. I feel like in Texas, it’s more of a chance of you being
raised to know what’s up. Yeah, and that’s why I didn’t shoot the guy
when I saw him outside of the house, because I already know once he leaves my house, he’s
no longer the threat and I go after him, I’m now the threat. How important do you think it is for people,
especially Black people, to understand gun laws and to know really – not just gun laws
– but just their rights dealing with the law. I think it’s very important because unfortunately
we’re the group of people that will often find themselves in a confrontation where a
gun will come into play. So, if you’re going to carry a gun, right, and you know that at
any point… like, what happened to me at my house was very… it was a random act. It wasn’t
a threat that was coming directly for me, but the threat found me, right. So, I believe
in karma. I believe in positivity, all of that stuff, but again, this wasn’t somebody
saying, “I’m coming to hurt Bun.” This was a random person trying to do whatever they
could do in the moment. So, you have to be prepared to protect yourself, but then also
be very smart. I remember when I talked to my mom about it. I called my mom and I said,
“Momma, sit down. I got to tell you something.” I said, “First of all, I’m okay. We all right.
Everybody’s good. Somebody tried to rob us today and I shot him.” She was like, “Where
did it happen?” I said, “It happened at the house.” “You shot him in the house?” She immediately – I said, “Yeah.” “Okay. Okay. So, you didn’t
shoot him, like, outside nowhere?” I said, “No, he was in the house, in the car.” “Oh,
okay, okay. So, you probably not going to go to jail for that, but y’all all right through?” That’s some Texas shit right there. Even my mother who has never had to shoot
a gun. I hope she never has to. She know, she had the knowledge. But she already knows, like, my brothers,
unfortunately, were not the best kids growing up, got into a lot of stuff. So, unfortunately
my mom is very, very familiar with the penal system and the laws that apply. Once she knew
I wasn’t harmed, she just wanted to know if I was in the right or not. She raised me right. Yeah, she did. Yes, she did. What are your feelings on the NRA? I don’t think that you need to be a card carrying
member of the NRA to want to own a gun to protect yourself. I feel like there are a
lot of things that the NRA stand for that I don’t necessarily stand for. I feel like
at times they do try to manipulate and pervert that particular amendment, but that being
said, I’ve always had protection for my family. I don’t need an amendment to tell me what
I need to do to protect my family. I have always understood the environment and the
element out there. You have to be prepared for these things because at some point, something’s
going to happen if you’re Black. At some point, I’m sorry, it’s a very unfortunate thing and
I know some people out here have no frame of reference for what I’m talking about, but
as a Black man, you just… you anticipate there being a wrongful confrontation. We walk
past brothers in the street. If you don’t get that head nod, you don’t know what’s going
to happen. Right, that official Black man head nod. Right, if you don’t get that… that’s just
to let you know I’m not a threat. I’m like, “Me either, brother.” That’s interesting, too, because as a Black
man, I know exactly what you talking about, but I never framed it like that let’s you know
that I’m not a threat. Yeah, no. That’s exactly what that lets you
know, right. It means, I’m not… I don’t have any problem acknowledging you, you know what
I’m saying. Maybe I’m not fixin to dap you up and all of that, but you’re not a threat.
I’m not a threat. That’s really what that’s saying, like, “What’s up? That’s what’s up.
Okay, well, he not fixin to try nothing and I’m not fixin to try nothing. So, we both
good,” right. That’s interesting. It’s very comforting. It’s very comforting.
There’s those very small gestures in the moment, one on one or in group settings, where Black
people can acknowledge that, you know, “It ain’t me.” “Me either, brother.” You know
what I’m saying, kind of thing. Right, right. That’s beautiful, man. I want to thank you right now, give you your
flowers while you’re here, especially for having me on that last UGK album. That’s one
of the milestones of my career, to be on that UGK album with you and Pimp C. I mean, even
Pimp’s verse on “Country Cousins,” he raps about you introducing him to Black Star – Which is a true story. I know. I’m going to tell you, he didn’t receive everything
the same way. There were a lot of people, I was like, “Yo, Pimp, you need to listen
this.” “Man, get this shit out of my car,” but he was receptive, man – That monkey shit. Yeah, he was receptive. Shout out to Cory Mo. I meant to shout out
Cory Mo because that’s the homie and I put out music with him and I met him through Dave
Darr. I met him through my engineer, Dave Darr. Shout out to Dave Darr, but I got
to know him through y’all. Well, you’ve always been a very genuine person
with me, right, and you’re one of the more dependable people in my life. So, if I have
something that I need done, but in a very… I need a very… because I don’t call you for
just anything. When I call you for a record, it’s a very specific theme that we’re talking
about and I feel that you can bring over the emotional… god, it’s very hard to talk about
what you do, right. No, it is, right, because you’re a student of structure. You’re a very
disciplined writer. You know that there’s a space that you exist in. There’s a flow
that you own, right, that’s you’re very own. So, it’s really all about how deep do I need
to get into this subject. Is this surface or do I need to get deeper on this, right?
So, it’s always interesting to see where you tend to go because you’re very informed about
a lot of things. So, again, we can do this on a very surface level or if you think the people… I
would imagine that you have to do songs with people and be like, “Okay, am I going to be
over his bassist’s head in this moment?” – or “Do I need to give them… do they need
to hear this,” right? It’s a very unique position that I imagine you find yourself in because
you’re very open to working with everybody and you have worked all over the genre. But
again, you’re very, very informed. So, if I tell you, “Look, we’re going to do a song
about our wives. We’re going to do a song about the women in our life –” Right, right, which is what you told me. Right, and you know how I feel about my woman.
So, you know I’m going to go there. So, it allows you to be able to go, like, “Oh, I
can go all the way in. I can say all the good and the bad things and the crazy things that
make love beautiful,” right? Yeah, that’s one of my favorite records. And it’s because you’re allowed a freedom
on that record and I am too, because sometimes I find myself in a position. Like, I did a
couple of songs with people and I’m like, “It’s a good record, but I shouldn’t have
put them on that record because I shouldn’t have asked them to go there because that’s
not really where they go,” right? I like to challenge myself and I like to challenge the
people that I work with, but everybody don’t have to go there. Some people don’t want that
out of this. Right, right. Some people just want to do what they do and
keep moving. Like, that Real Women record, what’s challenging
to me is I remember you telling me that in order to clear the sample, we couldn’t curse
on the record. Exactly, which is beautiful. It was beautiful. It made me write different. Yeah, of course. It always does. Lil’ Wayne,
I remember watching his evolution and for many years, he was doing very gangster, hardcore
music, but he couldn’t curse. His mother wouldn’t allow him to curse for many years. Right, right. So, if you go back and listen to those first
Hot Boy albums, they’re very gangster in tone, very aggressive in nature, but very PG, right.
I told babe, I said, “This kid is going to be…,” I said, “Do you realize that there’s
a whole other level of vocabulary that he’s not even accessing now, but emotionally he
can get across everything he needs to say. Wait until he gets to open the whole book
and say everything that he wanted to say. The kid is going to be a problem.” Right, man. Right, man. That’s what beautiful about this thing that
we do, is that you can go as far as you want to go if you want to go there. I remember,
you know, Clark Kent saying, in the Sneaker Game he was like, “B, you ready to go there?”
I was like, “Nah, I’ll go there. I got some pairs. I got some things.” He was like, “Yeah,
but there’s a whole other side to this. Are you ready to go there?” and I had to think
about that. I remember writing for Puff during the Press Play. I think you were doing those
sessions too – I was writing on that session too. in Miami, and I remember I wrote a song for
Puff and I was like, “Yo, I got the record that’s hot.” He never got up out of the chair.
He was like, “Is it though?” I was like, “Yeah. No, it’s hot.” I’m like, “It’s crazy record.”
“Is it though?” I was like, “You know what, I’m going to go back and listen to it again,”
right, and I’m like, “You know what, you got to walk in a room with confidence,” you know
what I’m saying? Yeah, man. You gotta be ready to go there – Fucking Puff. And the next record I was like, “Come on and
do this,” but I’ll never forget that. Word up. I’m better for that. Word up. And I’m better for knowing you too, Kweli. I’m so appreciative that I have a relationship
with you. Likewise. It’s really influenced and inspired my career
and the same for you. Whenever I call you, you right there, you know what I’m saying,
and that’s rare in this business. Well, we’ll have friends, we’ll have associates,
but we’ll have very few contemporaries and that’s what I feel like you are. Like, you’re
an actual peer. Like, I feel like you perform on the same level that I perform on in terms
of effort, right. We don’t always get what we’re trying for – That’s a huge compliment, brother. But I feel like you try to give every… and
that’s in life, not just in music, you know what I’m saying. That’s why I stay close to
you because I feel like our paths are always going to be reflective and you’re going to
go through this. I’m going to call you. I’m going to go through this. You’re going to call
me and we’re always going to be there, man. No doubt. It’s good to have a friend like you, brother. You too, brother. Bun B, ladies and gentlemen.
People’s Party. That’s how we doing it.

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100 thoughts on “Talib Kweli And Bun B Talk UGK Legacy, Meeting Biggie, & Menace To Society I People’s Party

  1. Ol girl really just kept interrupting the damn interview like for real could have done without her! Interview was fucking tight tho

  2. Fajitas are TexMex..no wonder I don't like them. She's so wrong for the Taco Bell comment. Street tacos meat, cilantro, onions, radish and maybe salsa verde. Holla!

  3. That was very humbling, reassuring and educational. I can’t think of an interview where I received all of that in an hour. Thank u.

  4. Kweli, out of love, make that table smaller. The reason people love podcasts are these conversations are intimate and exposing. Physically, the set does not show that. Love this inside look. Trying to get this to pop off! Love you breh.

  5. Bun B for president!! 🙌🏾…..Talib still a busta for his disrespectful antics on Twitter. Bet he won’t leave this up

  6. I love your channel!! Please give us more content to watch, your perspective is something we don't normally get and its DOPE!

  7. As a Hip Hop junkie from the 80's, This was an oral history lesson that should be archived at the Smithsonian!!!!

  8. Just think, Smoking with Biggie (and some of our other legends) is our modern day of shaking hands with Sinatra. I'd imagine on a music level the people that were involved in each of their careers are similar to each other also in level/legend. That's something you must give MJ, he did have much of a full life in the music business. In all aspects, these legends affected more than most of the musicians around them…in their genre and outside of their time too. Dope interview/conversation!

  9. I grew up listening to these guys when I was a teenager. Heard rumors of Bun B teaching awhile back. Enjoyed watching this episode, growing and evolving with these guys. Appreciate the show Talib Kweli, thank you.

  10. Yo Talib propz on da show Bun B Propz on Trillstatik official Album. Yo get Mos Def on da Next Episode!

  11. Y’all need to get a shorter table lol. Great interview. Now I’m about to jam Real Women from Return of the Kings.

  12. Waaaaaay better podcast with the legends !! No unnecessary interruptions…. Great flow I'm subscribing !! Salute from Detroit

  13. I really had fun watching this video, I hope that other people are just as entertained when they watch one of my own video's.

  14. This was a great interview and to see 2 lyricist from different regions come together on this informative interview, which seem more like 2 grown men having a conversation, was beautiful. Well done Talib & Bun on showing people and more importantly, that you can have a mutual respect for each other without the ego getting involved. 🙏🏽👍🏽

  15. One of the greatest voices in hip hop history. I am indebted to you for this oneTalib🙌🏽….and by the way the OG is Uber intelligent…TrillStatik is the album of 2019 in my humble opinion

  16. You ask about the places you need to go for food then proceed to out yourself as having trash taste talking about you basically want a hamburger in a flour tortilla. I’d fire her live on air.

  17. I would love to listen to him do music with Dj Premier again. He did a great song when Dj Premier produced hi song.

  18. I fuck with Bun B heavy , I love UGK especially when they got on Big Pimpin with Jay Z . That was a huge huge classic hit !!!!!!

  19. Look at all of the talent that came after the geto boys , ugk & the rap a lot movement . Niggaz in the north was listening closely and now you got Trae The Truth who I’ve seen grow from a local artist into a international superstar !!!!!!

  20. When I first heard ‘Murder’ I reminded Bun verse at least 15 times so I could learn it and spit it to my homies at school 😂

  21. So many great verses from Bun it’s hard to name a fav. The Murder verse was a banger for real but I have to say Bun’s Hi-Life verse is my fav

  22. This is a great interview with bun b he is very humble and cool and i gotta say thats a very beautiful young lady you have on the show.

  23. I'm just gonna throw this out there. How about a size L table instead of a XXL. Would make passin blunts a little smoother.

  24. Interesting what B said abt hip hop rap reflecting the lives ppl were living in their cities. From another perspective…some ppl want their lives to reflect what they hear in hip hop..otherwise they feel they are not "real".

  25. Talib & Yasmin Bey ARE the most underrated MCs EVER!!! Talib has some crazy politics though. He is very active politically with Democratic Party which I find strange for a black man. We usually don’t involve ourselves in gov’t bull but he will fight u on twitter over the most mundane things

  26. Talib Kweli should teach a class on how to present a good interview. I watch other podcasts but a lot of times I lose interest halfway cause the hosts get out of the proper professionalism. I salute you brother

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