Photo by Jacob Moore. Bun B and Mayor Parker declaring Bun B Day in Houston. August 2011
Bun B is an absolute boss, a fact reasserted in the Texas Monthly article on his influence. I find it interesting how much cultural change Bun B has been involved in. UGK were crucial in convincing the world to appreciate southern hip hop. Bun B is a great example of community minded hip hop leader, as Katy Vine explains:
Bun B’s life these days is so deeply intertwined with Houston’s that he is often referred to as the city’s unofficial mayor. He has been featured in anti-texting public service announcements. He helps publicize drives for the Houston Food Bank. He hosts a twice-weekly segment on the TV station CW39 called Bun’s Beat (recent installments include “Bun B’s Thoughts on the NFL Banning the N-Word” and “Bun B’s Advice for Returning College Students”). He has been a regular guest on networks such as Comcast SportsNet Houston to discuss the Astros and the Rockets. He attends nearly every major concert. He promotes the city’s food and culture actively on his Twitter feed, where he can seem, at times, like a one-man chamber of commerce. “If you want to find out the best sushi spot, barbershop, or club, he would probably be the person with the widest Rolodex,” Houston rapper Chamillionaire told me. “You could ask him something crazy, like where to find left-handed scissors in Houston, and he could probably point you in three different directions.”
Let us note that place has been one of the most significant parts of hip hop culture (where are you from?). What if there are creative hip hop intellectuals in every town in the world, who love where they are from so passionately that they will become positive leaders in their own places? It’s going to take some forward thinking municipalities to get the benefits of including hip hop intellectuals.
I don’t have any particular expectations that an entertainment medium like rap music should be political.
All music speaks to the politics, ideology and identity of the forces that create them. In 2012 hip hop is a particular series of almost mockable ultra-capitalist tropes. It makes sense that right wing pundits would continue to amplify moral panic out of rap music because most of music and imagery is created to be increasingly outrageous.
The fun part is that twenty years of cultural saturation has shared the tools to make rap music with millions of young people. Quite a few of them grew up and made rap music. Some of them currently make excellent rap music.
The people who make rap music have a certain investment in the art form. Stalley’s new video “Live at Blossom’s” from the Savage Journey to the American Dream mixtape is a good example of the internal reflection about materialism, violence and sexism in hip hop.
Edward Said would call this kind of poetic monologue autocritical. To encourage the listener to layer their own political awareness against books, movies, videos, songs, and unpack the politics represented in the media artifact.
Killer Mike’s rant rap is always excellent. You can basically buy anything he has put out or download any of his mixtapes and you’ll get something quite entertaining from it. Here Killer Mike represents his deep seated loathing for the Reagan era in “Big Beast,” a horror movie/jacker/gore fest. Assists from Bun B, T.I. and El-P in this almost ten-minute mini-movie. Not safe for work.
You could argue that the cannibalism of T.I. and Killer Mike is a thinly veiled mockery of consumers of violent hip hop. David Banner makes those arguments explicit, calling out rap music in a particularly dramatic fashion. Enjoy “Malcolm X” for that critical perspective on hip hop.
Killa Kyleon and Bun B. I would have bet all my money ($63.50) that Killa would wreck this track, but I’ll be damned if the slow loris of hip hop — Bun B doesn’t ride this Lex Luger beat to greatness.
I’m a vegetarian tree hugger, but I’m still feeling this. “When you see B comin’ around the corner/sittin’ in the foreign that you never heard of/leather seats so fresh that the cow just died/ and PETA want me for murder/and the wood inside that bitch brand new cuz we just killed a tree/so you already know the EPA ain’t feelin’ me. ”
Of course Bun B doesn’t need to prove anything. It is just a pleasure to hear him rhyming so tight.
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