16 Years Later, Bun B's Debut Album 'Trill' Is Still a Southern Staple
On October 18, 2005, Rap-A-Lot Records released Bun B’s solo album, Trill.
Best known for being one-half of the iconic rap duo, Underground Kingz (UGK), the Port Arthur-born emcee helped place his small hometown on the map. Working to maintain UGK’s imprint while Pimp C was incarcerated, Bun B was featured on a slew of singles that paved the way for his eventual solo effort. When the album was released, Trill dominated the airwaves alongside Slim Thug’s Already Platinum (2005) and Paul Wall’s The People’s Champ (2005).
Bun B’s solo project placed him in a new sonic lane, pivoting from the soulful, gospel influence he shared with Pimp C. His approach to the album was gritty, true to his Southern roots, and laced with hypnotic baritone and country grammar. The record’s opening track, “The Inauguration,” features Rap-A-Lot CEO J. Prince, who introduces Bun B as the “new president of the South.” The intro interpolates the auspicious “Hail To The Chief,” by James Sanderson and institutes Bun B’s reign. Songs like “Trill Recognize Trill,” “I’m Ballin,” and “The Story” present vivid imagery and offer an in-depth look at the trials and tribulations of UGK.
Naming the project Trill introduced a distinct Texas flair; as the term was popularized by UGK. “Trill,” a combination of the words true and real, is used to describe someone or something that is genuine and authentic. In an interview with Noisey in 2013, Bun B explained the term’s etymology saying, “Trill started in the penitentiary from the homie Spoon Guy. When he came home, he started using the word, and for a long time was associated with the West side of PA [Port Arthur]. At the same time, the northside of Houston and the southside had beef, but because we weren’t from Houston, we could go to the south and the north and do our thing, and that’s how it spread.”
Although the project never received any major awards, it earned a Southern stamp of approval for its production and hard-hitting features; including contributions from Mike Dean, Mr. Lee, and Mannie Fresh, as well Atlanta frontrunners T.I., Ludacris, and Jazzy Phae. Not to mention, posse cuts like “Draped Up (Remix)” featuring Houston All-Stars Slim Thug, Paul Wall, and Chamillionaire, as well as “Get Throwed” which enlisted vocals from Pimp C, Z-Ro, Young Jeezy, and a verse from Jay Z.
Sixteen years later, you can hear the album’s influence on the music of today–literally. Tracks like “Get Throwed” have been sampled on songs such as Drake’s “N 2 Deep,” Big K.R.I.T’s “What U Mean,” and Action Bronson’s “Bird On a Wire,” featuring Riff Raff. With Trill, Bun B set the standard high for lyricism and storytelling and situated himself as a well-respected rap legend.
Listen to Bun B’s Trill album on streaming platforms everywhere.