Bun B II Trill

II Trill is Bun B’s second "solo” album but Bun B is by no means a solo artist. One half of Port Arthur, Texas’s Underground Kingz, Bernard Freeman has been recording influential rap tunes for two decades, and seldom is his the only voice blessing the slab-thick tracks. Only to keep the UGK brand active, in light of the incarceration of his potna, Pimp C, did Bun release his first solo LP, 2005’s Trill. And only now, in the tragic wake of Pimp’s death last December, and following the group’s first number one album, 2007’s self-titled double CD, does the imaginatively titled II Trill arrive, complete with 20(!) guest appearances and 17 different producers. The family-affair vibe is no surprise, considering Bun’s knack for moulding his buttery drawl to rap’s varying styles and regional movements — he briefly held the crown of Cameo King of the South before Lil Wayne started recording 47 verses a week. While some of the studio sharing is immediately forgettable (the Mya-assisted chick song "Good II Me”), some of the more unlikely collaborations are downright epic. Bun touches all the T-E-X clichés on the Enigma-produced thumper "Swang on ’Em,” referencing the Dirty South, purp, candy paint and guns before passing the mic to Lupe Fiasco, who eats up the scrunch-your-face beat. You’ll be chanting, "We ride 22s or better!” even if your rims are forever 21 inches or less. Ironically, when Bun actually goes for self, as he does by lashing out at corrupt cops and politicians on "Get Cha Issue” and eulogising Pimp C on "Angel in the Sky,” he proves that he can get by on his lonesome. He simply chooses not to. (Rap-A-Lot)