It's the end of an era. Bun B, Houston's prolific wordsmith and graduate of the UGK legacy, will drop the final piece to his Trill set on November 12th. Over the course of the four-part series, he's offered clear reminders that he invented the terminology: 2005's Trill, 2008's II Trill, 2010's Trill OG (collectively known as the Trill-ogy) and now The Epilogue, which was previewed with the recently release torch single "Fire" with Rick Ross and 2 Chainz.
There's a reason why the album isn't called the Trill Epilogue: Bun B is retiring the word (if not its meaning). In a world where Internet vernacular and cyber-colloquialisms run rampant, perhaps he shouldn't have been so secretive about the true meaning of the word, because now everyone is using it incorrectly. Rolling Stone caught up with the artist and college professor about what he has coming up next and why you probably won't find any more Pimp C beats or vocals on his future recordings.
It feels like you're completely closing the chapter on "trill" itself with this upcoming release.
Nah, I wouldn't say that.
Nah, I'm going to continue to represent "trill." You know, the "trill" was just putting a stamp as far as really representing it and showing people what it meant to be trill. I don't have to overtly do that anymore, but I still am the walking embodiment of what trill is.
Do you feel like people misrepresented it?
I wouldn't say misrepresented, but people tried to co-opt it, use it and define it in a way that they feel it represents them. And I can understand that, because when you're fighting to be trill, you're fighting to really claim your identity, really show who you are. But when we started the thing coming from the streets of Port Arthur, Texas, there was a definite concrete definition as to what being trill was and what it represented. As far as trill is concerned, as far as I'm concerned, as far as anyone else should be concerned, that original definition is what trill is. So as far as people trying to make it mean what they are, they need to try and be more of what trill already means instead of trying to make trill mean something else. In other words, they need to step their trill up.
It seems like people who don't understand the various subcultures of Southern hip-hop will lump things like "trill" and "trap" together.
Trap is more of a sound; trill is a state of being. So it's two totally different things. It's apples and oranges. Trill is not like a sound, trill is not a musical movement. Trill is an identity movement. Trill is an ideology, whereas trap is just a sound. It's music people are producing. Keep in mind, there's trill shit worldwide and there's trap shit worldwide, and you may have people who weren't here when we started defining what trill was 20 years ago that maybe heard the term from someone else. If you don't wanna represent trill as it is, then go make up your own word.
So once the final chapter closes, what will happen next?
I'm still going to continue making music as an artist, also as a CEO – I'm putting together my label, Too Trill Entertainment. When we came up with the idea of The Trill-Ogy, it was just a play on words moreso than anything. It was always only meant to represent three albums. I don't have to name my album Trill anything for people to know that it is trill and I am trill. But it did work for those three albums.
Do you think you'll be playing on that word going forward?
No. I don't think there's any need for me to do it anymore. I carry trill on my back – there's no need to carry it on my shoulder. I think I got the point across after 20 years that I'm trill. If they don't know by now, then they don't wanna know.
For those who still don't know how to define "trill," how do you define it?
Just look at me.
With The Epilogue, did you make sure to get certain songs you missed the last time on the album? Like "Fire"?
At the time, with ["Fire"], there was another element that I wanted to put on that record, and we never found that element. So because I never really felt I could release the song 100 percent at the time, I chose not to. Now, most people who would've had a Rick Ross [or 2 Chainz] verse would've found some way to put it out on their album, but when you've got good music, good music is timeless. So I wouldn't rush it.
So what changed?
Well, now it doesn't have to battle the other records that were on my last album. And that's the key.
You also have a track with Big K.R.I.T., Pimp C and Lil Boosie called "Cake." Is there a lot of Pimp C material that hasn't been out?
Well, I don't have any of the material. One of the biggest misconceptions is that I'm in possession of Pimp C beats and Pimp C vocals. The estate controls everything, so any verses or beats or whatever that are still around are in the control of the estate. I know [Pimp C's] wife is putting together a project right now with Juicy J, I think, but she has all of that stuff.
So you have a rap-coloring book, you're a professor, and you're venturing into the world of foodie journalism. Is there anything you're not doing right now?
Well, we're also performing with the Houston Symphony on November 14th – the first rapper ever to perform with them. It's the 100-year anniversary of the Houston Symphony and the 100-year anniversary of the Anti-Defamation League, so they're partnering together for a concert presentation honoring Houston heroes of civil rights and people who have stood against injustice, against hatred, and against violence, specifically in the city of Houston. So they wanted to put together a musical accompaniment, and they thought it was the perfect time to incorporate a hip-hop element, and my name came first on the list. I wasn't going to let them get to the second name.