Today, we’re watching Houston legend Bun B receive his flowers, both as a musician and entrepreneur. At 49, the entertainer is on a high — last month, he made his debut at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, was named grand marshal of the Art Car Parade, launched his smash burger concept Trill Burgers and, to close out March, he headlined Rock the Bells’ Road Less Traveled concert.
Rock the Bells is rapper LL Cool J’s flagship brand centered around hip-hop and the legends that propelled the genre forward. Founded in 2018, the media conglomerate creates content from written stories to podcasts and curates live experiences honoring hip-hop culture. Bun B’s partnership with Rock the Bells began in 2021 with the launch of his radio venture, The 2 Trill Show, and has expanded to performing at the brand’s private concert series with Toyota.
“It's amazing to see Rock the Bells be a conduit between corporate America saying they want to do things in communities of color and empower and amplify Black voices,” the music mogul tells Houstonia before going on stage. “Rock the Bells [is] taking the initiative by not only putting me in the right direction, but making sure I live up to everything I say.”
When listening to Bun B’s debut album Trill, you'll hear the Southern rap legend give his testimony, detailing a timeline of his pain and triumph. As one half of the rap duo the Underground Kingz (better known as UGK), during his solo release, Bun B was determined to keep the group afloat while his counterpart, the late Pimp C, was incarcerated. Trill, released in 2005, would give us the autobiography of his life — from the rapper’s early struggles with Jive Records to getting hit with massive tax debts.
Little did he know that bearing his soul in his music would propel him into the Southern rap legend that he is today. With nearly 30 years in the music industry under his belt, Bun B has now traded in time in the studio to be an executive. As a businessman, he’s managed to expand his portfolio by launching his smashburger concept Trill Burgers, most recently making a pop-up at Coachella, along with assisting in creating the world’s first Bored Ape NFT restaurant.
“When you’re dealing with those lows, it’s easy to feel like there’s no way out of it. But if you look at life on a graph, what looked like such a deep dark crevice was really only a blip on the screen. Every time that you thought you were really at the bottom, when you look back, you realize your trajectory was still going up.”
Bun B has solidified his musical legacy and while he plans to continue his first love, he wants to explore the business side of the industry. He finds himself fired up about new ventures and forging a new path. “I'm finding a new passion and it's exciting. It's something I haven't really been a part of before. I'm anticipating a roller-coaster ride.”