Bun B

Trill O.G.: The Epilogue

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Fly back in a time machine, back to the days before Pimp C passed and back when UGK were still a going concern, and the idea of Bun B having a successful, and even fruitful, solo career would be somewhere between odd and outlandish, even amongst the Houston hip-hop faithful. After all, the chemistry between the cold, hard Bun and the snaky, snide Pimp was just too good to ignore, but since the release of his first reluctant solo album -- 2005's Trill, recorded while the Pimp was locked-up on gun charges -- Bun has been banging out one solo surprise after another, this Epilogue being no different. The fourth, and according to Bun, final, Trill gets away with being a little more loose thanks to that "Epilogue" tag in its title, but once "The Best Is Back" kicks open the door with some bold, unfiltered putdowns ("My third leg long and your bitch is a lumberjack/You'd a killed that ho if you knew what I done to that"), the overall messiness of the album doesn't hurt nearly as much as the word "final." Schooling fools in that merciless UGK style, the DJ Khalil-produced and Raekwon-featuring "No Competition" provides a soulful right hook, while the stomping anthem "Stop Playin'," with Royce Da 5'9" and Redman, provides the left hook, and still, it's the ghost of the Pimp that helps Bun supply the finishing move on the great "Don't Play with Me." Archival tapes of the Pimp's verses are also woven into the slippery strip club number "Cake," where Lil Boosie and Big K.R.I.T. (the latter doing double duty as the track's producer) join the UGK crew in a funky, mutual drool over big booty; then there's the always amusing Devin the Dude, who proves a Pimp-like foil on the snarky highlight "On One." The ambitious surprises come when modern dancehall star Serani joins Bun, Rick Ross, and 2 Chainz on the reggae wonder dubbed "Fire," then there's the all-star posse cut "Legendary DJ Screw," a wonderful tribute to the Houston DJ who invented the syrupy sound of the screwed 'n' chopped remix. It could have stopped there as the simple "Bye!" hangs off the album like an OK extra, but fans can consider this the Trill they didn't see coming and be grateful this scattered dispatch generally lives up to the solo Bun's high standards.

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