Yes, the title is true, one article, one interview, one post. All for the low low price of nothing. I am nothing if not bargain-minded. Act now while supplies last and before I run out of cliches to spew. Nonsensical gibberish aside, I may not be as a big a UGK fan as others on the Internet, but I’m not about to deny that they made a lot of great music, nor will I argue with anyone who wants to ascribe classic status to Ridin’ Dirty. Plus, Bun B is one of the world’s great interviews and it was an honor to speak with him. The link to the Times piece is below, the interview with Bun is below the jump.

LA Times: Bun B’s Birthday Has Him Thinking of Pimp C’s Death

Q: How was SXSW?

A: It was phenomenal. We performed the first night and the fire marshal came out three different times trying to shut us down because too many people were trying to get in. But it wasn’t their fault, there were just so many artists there, so much energy. Being in the building was incredible, it was off the chain.

Q: Had you played it before?

A: I’d played it two or three times as a solo artist.

Q: Does playing SXSW feel like a home town festival in a way, considering it’s Texas’ biggest festival?

A: Not really. But in respect to other music festivals, there’s a lot of stuff going on. Usually, it’s just two big stages, but at SXSW every venue is unique, there’s so much going on over so many days. But really, we take all of our shows seriously.

Q: Your music is steeped in a strong sense of regionalism, when you’re performing do you feel the sense that you’re repping Houston?

A: Definitely. But I try to impress that to all the artists out of Houston. I tell them all the time not to lean on me just because I’ve been around longer. It’s not just being from Houston, when you leave the hood and your community, you are the community. Everyone from Houston has that responsibility to it when they leave it.

Q: So tell me about the new album, Trill Il, how does it stand apart from the rest of your catalog?

A: There’s a purposefulness to this album. We’re trying to get across there’s a lot of things that need to be said, that people are living too comfortably in their skin and that the truth needs to be heard.

Q: Is it a political critique?

A: That’s part of it.

Q: What did you think about Obama and his recent speech on race?

A: It was very brave of him. Especially acknowledging that his grandma was a white woman who occasionally said racist things. Race is a complex issue, its been addressed but it’s always skated around. Everyone treads very lightly on these debates, Do I think it was his most impressive speech? I don’t know. I think he still has a few more things to say to the nation.

Q: Like what?

A: Class needs to be addressed. I think it’s becoming more evident that America is losing its middle class. To me, the middle class is the living breed embodiment of a Democratic nation. When America loses that middle class it becomes a third world nation. This administration has failed the people in America by allowing corporate entities erase the common man more than ever. We don’t hold them accountable and we need to.

I come from the philosophy of thinking to put all your shit out there. You’ve got to leave your enemies with no ammunition to shoot you. If you already put your flaws out there, there’s no skeletons left in the closet. That’s why Barack was smart to put his drug use out there. The truth is, if your life has been that perfect, I don’t want you to have to deal with your first mistakes when you’re running your country. It’s like having a preacher that’s never sinned and I think that’s what we’ve been having. Bill Clinton was a real person, you got the sense of it.

Q: You mention preachers, your music has always seemed to deal with notion of mortality and the concept of an after-life. How big of a role does religion play in your music and life in general?

A: A big role. I’m from Texas, we live and operate in the bible belt. Its almost impossible not to incorporate that. People here have a strong sense of religion. At the end of the day, we shine and we ball and have our ups down with god, but everything is good, we find the strength. The music industry is cut-throat and now we have a recession. And even if it it didn’t affect me, which it does, it still affects my family and friends, I’m a musician but I live in the world. We need to make more happen with less; that seems to be the mantra of America right now.

Q: Are there any songs off the new record that stand out for you?

A: Songs like “Get Ya Issue” address the state of the hood. The way things would be if it was up to me. It’s a state of the community song that says that things that are fucked up. It’s the shit that you see if you live in any urban community, if you’re black or Mexican or a Middle Eastern or European or African, it’s hard out here, it’s fucked up. Unfortunately the America of 2008 doesn’t offer the promises of life and liberty that it so proudly holds as ideals.

Q: So do you see everything as progressing in a downward spiral or is this just a cyclical blip?

A: America has definitely had its moments of prosperity prior to 9/11.The state right now has a lot to do with the administration. We’ve spent $500 billion dollars spent on this war. Imagine what it could do for the state of affairs of America, if we took $50 billion and threw it towards education, another $50 billion to health care, another $50 billion to after-school programs, or to hospitals, or AIDS research or cancer research. Our mentality is fucked up.

Q: Are you concerned about John McCain winning the election?

A: From here all I can see is that he’s down with George, so I don’t like that at all. However, John McCain is a war hero and he knows so many things that many of us will never know or learn. To think of the pain and torment he’s gone through is astonishing. I have an extreme regard for him in that way and I think anyone who enjoys American liberties has to give him credit and due respect. The thing is my grandpa fought in Vietnam too, a lot of people fought in the war, but it doesn’t mean they are qualified to lead the country either. Ultimately, I’m looking for someone who is independent and willing to stand up to their party. At the end of the day, I’m an American a tax payer, I want to know who is going to represent me and not just their party. If a Democrat wins, we need one willing to work the Republicans too.

Q: Do you have a favorite record that you’ve made?

A: I really couldn’t say, it’s tough to pinpoint a specific one. UGK had some great moments. Keep in the kind there’s some stuff that people haven’t heard, there are songs that we were saving for the next UGK album that are incredible.

Q: What do you attribute your success to?

A: I attribute it to being real to people. You can’t lie to the people, they’ll find out the truth about you, especially in the Internet age.

Q: Do you read a lot on the Internet?

A: Hell yeah, I read all that shit.

Q: Is that how the whole beef with Byron Crawford started?

A:, I really hate to give that dude any kind of any kind of promotion. He’s like an 8th rate Howard Stern of the Internet. It was an issue of him trying to assassinate my partner’s character when he couldn’t defend himself. That guy doesn’t go anywhere but to Panic at the Disco! and New Pornographers concerts. He’s like one of these NPR guys saying things to get a bite.

Q: What do you think about blogs in general?

A: At the end of the day, a blog is just about one person, usually not doing any research. To validate what people call journalism, the media jumps the fence and does whatever. I’m not hating on the media either, the difference is blogs print how they feel about a situation and it doesn’t necessarily have to be corroborated by information. Ultimately, shame on me for getting mad about it. I should know better.”

Q: This promotional tour that you’re currently on is sponsored by Zune. Do you feel like the fear being of selling out to corporate entities is less of an issue now because record sales are so much lower?

A: Definitely, it doesn’t exist the same way anymore. A lot of people actually owe Hammer an apology because he wasn’t really selling out, he was killing it. Hammer was showing people how far hip-hop could go if we wanted to take it there. Look at people like Master P, these people went as far as their imagination let them. I remember P telling me early on, ‘I’m going to sell movies, toys, albums whatever I can sell. Because at the end of the day we’re parents, we’re husbands and we’re fans. There are more opportunities than ever for musicians musician to capitalize off the art. Now as far as compromising yourself artistically, that’s a a personal and moral issue. At the end of the day, we all make music for people to listen to.

Q: What about downloading?

A: I think about it. Everyone has to think about it, it’s a very real thing. The reality is that it’s not just a downloading issue. The consumer understands how long it takes to make stuff, they understand if you’re productive or lazy and they’re onto the bluff that labels have perpetuated for years, the days of releasing albums with only one or two hot songs are done. It’s up to the companies to demand more of their artists and their artists to demand more of their goddamned self. If you don’t have to do better, you won’t.

Q: What about the your future, are there any goals left for you?
A: To spread the message that Pimp was a great person as well as a great artist and to help his name live on.

MP3: Bun B ft. Scarface & Young Jeezy-“Pushin'”
MP3: Wale ft. Bun B & Pusha-T -“Back in the Go-Go”

MP3: UGK-“One Day”
MP3: UGK-“Belts to Match”

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