06:00PM ET August 3rd, 2010
Contributor: Todd Williams
A Rocky Williform Company
Bun B is focused and Bun B is inspired. The southern rap legend's Trill O.G. stands as an outstanding summation of all that has made the rapper one of the most beloved figures in hardcore hip-hop and a Houston rap godfather. But this third in Bun's Trill... series also finds the rapper willing to take risks.
So most of all, Bun B is ambitious.
The Steve Below-produced opener "Chuuch!!!" is a thumpingly metallic anthem, with a bluesy riff and wailing organ giving the former UGK rhymer's flows a bigger-than-life punch; while his pairing with Autotuned robo-crooner T-Pain would simply be a calculated pop crossover in the hands of almost any other rapper, but Bun's at his most brash and it shows that he can appropriate the tropes of 2010 popular music on his own terms. "Put It Down" features Drake, and the youngster plays off of and pays tribute to the veteran well. Bun B's versatility is best showcased on the R&B-tinged "Ridin' Slow"--a sure smash single featuring a Sean Kingston hook and quad-knocking groove; and on the DJ Premier-produced "Let 'Em Know"--a song that could have just been a pleasant genre-exercise instead is the hardest-hitting song on the album and a masterpiece of a collaboration between the two legends.
The most exhilarating moment on the album is hearing Bun swap verses with the his deceased UGK bandmate Pimp C and a winning archived verse from 2Pac on the infectious "Right Now." The Trey Songz-sung hook is the album's catchiest and the two posthumous appearances are both used perfectly and the moment never feels exploitative. Again, an example of Bun taking an audacious musical approach and turning that risk into rousing success.
Pimp C's ghost is all over the album, with Bun reminding the listener that UGK's legacy and name are very much a part of the spirit and approach of the music. But his willingness to push past his history while simultaneously playing homage to it is the greatest success of Trill O.G., giving Bun his latter-day opus on par with Scarface's The Fix or Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...Pt II and may be the pinnacle of a summer that saw a number of hip-hop veterans (including The Roots and Big Boi) releasing inspired, resurgent albums.