Did you get the chance to meet 2Pac before his death?
No, I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting Tupac Shakur. But I was able to find out that he was a fan of UGK. Scarface put him on to UGK while they were recording “Smile.” We made a nice impression on him. And E.D.I. and Fatal [of the Outlawz] have always been good friends of mine. We recorded something for a Pac tribute that didn’t make the album, but the song ended up being tucked away in a vault and someone found it. Then someone reached out to us and said, “You know, ya’ll still got this song from the Tupac tribute album. Let me know… I can get that music back to y’all.” The rest is history. E.D.I. made sure that we wouldn’t have any problems getting the record cleared. That definitely let us know that Tupac’s estate was behind us. It’s really a dream come true.
How does it make you feel to be on the same record with someone who has meant so much to so many people? That’s a heavy voice on your record.
Absolutely. But I had a lot of practice. I have recorded the majority of my career with Pimp C and he’s another person who is loved and adored all over the world. So it didn’t throw me all the way off. But when I hear it and realize that I did a song with Tupac, that’s a major moment. Not many people can say that.
Is there a song on the new album that embodies your underlining statement?
I think the song that symbolizes not just my album, but the movement I’m headed towards with the whole II Trill/Rap-A-Lot movement is “Church.” The first line of that song opens the album: “I’m back, baby, and better than I ever been…” And that’s so true. I’m reinvigorated; I’m refocused. I feel like I’m in the best lyrical shape of my life. Now physically, I’m sure my wife would disagree [laughs].
The term people are calling Trill O.G. is grown man music. It sounds like you are very comfortable in your own skin.
Well, everybody calls me Uncle Bun and all that. I hear the, “Oh, you are a legend and you are the O.G.” And to tell you the truth, I fought against that for a long time because to me that just meant I was old. So I kind of fought against that title for a long time. But as I got older, I realized that it’s a term of endearment. It’s a term of respect—especially in the black community when someone is not really your uncle and you see them as such. Now when you look in the ‘hood the problem with a lot of the young men and young women face is they don’t have any big brothers pulling their coattails and hollering at them. A lot of young cats don’t have that uncle and, more importantly, a father who can come through and tell them what’s up. With me, when I grab a kid and give them advice I’m not trying to belittle them. I’m just trying to tell them what’s real. I think people know my words come from a very real place.
Another topic that you have shown a serious interest in is politics. What grade would you give President Obama?