By rap requirements, Bun B’s aged like merlot. Throughout a prolific profession, he’s worn a lot of hats—Gulf Coast underdog, chart-topping ambassador, grieving flagbearer—in the end assuming the mantle of elder statesman. Now in his fourth decade of recording, he’s eased into the function of goodnatured mensch, an avowed spouse man who’s comfortable to share the highlight with youthful Houston-area acts. (There are Trillburgers to maneuver, in spite of everything.)
Bun’s post-UGK catalog continues to develop at a gradual clip. By means of no fault of his personal, he suffers an identical conundrum as Massive Boi, whose commendable solo tasks are outshadowed by OutKast’s cultural milestones. Ridin’ Soiled and Underground Kingz stay unsurpassed for his or her uncommon collision of genius; Bun’s latter-day information are distinguished by songwriting and beat choice, even when they lack the barbed humor and knotty inside rhymes of his groundbreaking work. For higher or worse, they’re workmanlike, hard-hat-and-lunch-pail rap albums.
Trillstatik 2 leans into Bun’s blue-collar ethic. Recorded throughout a 12-hour marathon, it’s his second reside outing with Statik Selektah, the tireless DJ, producer, and satellite-radio host. Staged in a Decrease East Aspect storefront fragrant of its common tenant, a fried-chicken joint, the session featured upwards of a dozen rappers hopped up on complimentary tallboys of Monster Vitality. Round 8 p.m., the road entrance was choked by 100 thirtysomething males, clouded in fruit-scented vapor and angling for glimpses inside; you’d have thought a brand new Foamposite colorway dropped. By midnight, the spectacle had mellowed to a simmer, red-eyed technicians hovering whereas a saxophonist recorded interludes. Within the center was Bun, perched on a desk chair and scribbling right into a lined pocket book, 10 hours in and no worse for put on.
The completed product—uploaded to streaming not even a day later—bears little proof of its spontaneity, a feat reflective of Statik’s broader philosophy. A religious disciple of DJ Premier, he’s maintained high quality requirements throughout a packed launch calendar by programming vibrant samples into contemplative loops. Whereas his cookie-cutter method makes for a structural uniformity, his punchy melodies inject life into inflexible drum patterns. On “Solely Life I Know,” Statik wrangles a bedeviling guitar lick into an association dour sufficient to make Harry Fraud blush; “Constructing Bridges” contrasts Paul Wall’s marble-mouthed couplets with ceremonial horns. The place the wistful chords of “Ain’t No Tellin” might need been overly maudlin, Statik slows the instrumental to a somber tempo appropriate for 38 Spesh’s animated verse.
Statik’s beats undergo for his or her lack of edges. His layering method makes for an uncanny digital polish, every pattern clipped simply so; the snares really feel like an afterthought. It’s an identifiably East Coast method, but the music itself is shorn of regional character. On “Devastating,” Bun is shoehorned between Types P’s precision and Propain’s Texas drawl, their idiosyncrasies sanded away in pursuit of some holier hip-hop splendid. It’s a neat celebration trick, however the impact is flattening: There’s no thematic coherence past a shared devotion to bars.