On the single, “got ur self a…” from 2001’s stillmatic lp (sony, 2001), nas explained a dilemma that continues to plague scores of would-be superstar rappers; should first-time youngsters feature a slew of “famous guest appearances”— or, like nas, refrain from doing so in order to be “crowned the best lyricist?”
Often times, a long laundry list of featured performances on an artist’s debut solo album can make the trained hip-hop critic weary—if a rapper has the sort of skills to carry an album in the first place, why would he need the aid of so many celebrated jewel droppers on his project? In the case of Bun B, the aforementioned quandary proves about as relevant as an MC Hammer greatest hits disc.
Bun B makes no bones about why his solo jump-off offers such an impressive array of talent. “I’ve been lucky enough to be in this game for a sustained period of time,” he says. “In the case of most of the people on my album, they are people I’ve worked with before or in lots of cases just friends, some of them, very close friends who I’ve known for quite some time.” Trill (Rap-A-Lot, 2005), which debuted at Number One on the hip-hop and R&B charts and Number Six on Billboard, showcases a veritable “who’s who” in urban music, with verses from Jay-Z, T.I., Mike Jones, Mannie Fresh, Young Jeezy, Paul Wall, and Scarface to name a few—well, more than a few.
As one of the most venerable and respected veterans in the game, no wonder Bun B would be able to pull such an enormous pool of people with which to work. Bun B describes the disc as “the soundtrack to the South,” and such an estimation would seem fair, especially after listening to bangers on the CD like “Draped Up” and the monster record “Get Throwed,” featuring none other than President Carter himself. And, while the tone, pace, and lyrical content of Trill definitely denotes a sub-Mason-Dixon Line focus, the diverse roster of guest MCs and producers hopefully will translate into an appeal that stretches beyond that of the typical drawl and bounce infused offerings.