When his musical partner Pimp C passed away 15 months ago, rapper Bun B vowed to make sure the public would be able to hear the final songs they'd written together. "We weren't trying to take a new direction with this album; we just wanted to solidify the legacy we've set up," Bun says about "UGK 4 Life," the act's last studio album, slated for a March 31 release.
"Pimp would always come up with raunchy, strip club music that would make you wonder, 'How did he come up with this stuff?,' but we always had to hold back some. On '4 Life,' we decided to go full blown with the type of music that UGK is known for but also that he really, truly loved. This album is the meat of what fans have come to love about us as a group."
The first single, "Da Game Been Good to Me," which has a sound that mixes country twang and dirty South, is No. 1 on Billboard's Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. According to Bun B, it was a good way to reinforce the reflective thread throughout the album. "I thought the titled summed up everything I wanted to get across to people," he says. "UGK had a very long, successful career, with lots of ups and downs, but at the end of the day, we're still here, still viable, still making music. The game's definitely been good to us." The highlight of the duo's victorious musical run is its last album, 2007's "Underground Kingz," which has sold 458,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Another track that supports the sentimental tone is "Used to Be," which features 8 Ball, MJG, E-40 and B Legit, who Bun B considers "members of the UGK family," he says.
But fans shouldn't think the duo has gone soft. There are still plenty of sex-filled tracks, like the frisky "Harry Asshole," and "She Luv It," which features a woman moaning throughout.
"Feeling You" and "The Pimp & the Bun," which features Ronald Isley, are both being considered as the second single, while the guitar-laden "Everybody Wanna Ball" and the drum-based "Still on the Grind," featuring Raheem DeVaughn, also appear on the album.
Bun B is currently on a promotional tour, which includes stops in his hometown, and is featured on numerous upcoming albums including Red Man and Method Man's "Blackout 2," Raekwon's "Built 4 Cuban Linx: Pt. 2" and producers Play N Skillz' debut. Bun also is working on a solo album slated for a summer release, while Pimp C's widow, who has the rights to his estate, is planning to release a Pimp C solo album a few weeks after "4 Life" debuts.
"I'm trying to make myself as visible as possible, but not trying to take advantage of the situation or the people," Bun B says. "I'm not interested in blood money-just trying to memorialize a dead friend through our music. It's still hard every day, but I really want fans to understand it still is UGK for life."