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Music Review: UGK – UGK Underground Kingz

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Coming deep from the dirty south, Bun B and his partner in rhyme Pimp C have returned with a double disc album. The Texas rap veterans are known to the world as UGK. They have delivered one of the most anticipated albums of the year, complete with their trademarked soulful sounds and slick turf talk.

The new album UGK-Underground Kingz is a celebration of sorts for the two, as they have overcome personal obstacles to return to the game as a duo. Pimp C, recently released from his jail sentence, is finally back on the block, bringing a fire in his vocal delivery that is determined and undeterred.

While he was away, Pimp C’s name became legend in the rap world, as “Free Pimp C” became the mantra of the mixtapes and the word on the street. Bun B took the opportunity to do feature work on damn near every popular rap song coming out of the south, with each guest vocal appearance outshining the last. The ploy worked, as Bun B's solo album Trill reminded everyone why he is in the game, with his effortless performances and memorable metaphors.

Now that Bun and Sweet Jones are back together, you know the level of trillness is about to go through the roof!  UGK recently won BET Music Awards for Best Collaboration with Outkast "International Players Anthem" and Video of the Year for the same song!  The song is the first single off the UGK double disc.

In case you are new to the underground sound of the south, be forewarned. This is not the east coast, backpacker version of underground, nor is it the west coast, sun filled, care free, underground flow. When Bun & Pimp C take it to the underground, it's more like the criminal side of the underground. Their tales of hustlers, crooks, and drugs is a look into the world of the average, local D-Boy. What else would you expect from a man named Pimp C, but “real talk”, as we say. 

UGK are pioneers in rap, as their mix of blues rhythms, Hip-Hop, and tales from the hood have influenced several of today's top rappers.   They have been a cornerstone of Southern Hip-Hop since the beginning, a fact they feel many overlook. Hip-Hop heads and UGK fans will not be disappointed by the package. UGK ride out dirty as ever on this one!

The blazing Three 6 Mafia produced “International Players (I Choose You),” featuring Outkast is here, represented with both the Three 6 Mafia version, and a chopped and screwed version. “The Game Belongs To Me” is a perfect example of the UGK sound, with wah-wah guitars and a sung chorus declaring the royalty of the street scholars. UGK have held the spot of the slickest hustlers on the mic, with their pimped out, slow riding music that has won them fans worldwide. This album is a perfect addition to the UGK collection.

The legends were joined on this project by many top notch rap celebs on production and on the mic. Jazze Pha brings his party vibe to “Stop & Go,” Slimm Thugg chops it up with UGK on “Take The Hood Back,” and Rick Ross helps seal the deal on the mesmerizing “Cocaine,” giving the overplayed subject matter an amazing twist and mournful music track.

Too Short, Z-Ro, Dizzie Rascal, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G. Rap, and Three Six Mafia are just a few who join the party, giving props to UGK and putting work in on this album. It clocks in at close to two hours, with a few tracks that can catch the fast forward button. Yeah the remix has that Keith Sweat smoothness, but two versions of "Like That" might not have been necessary. 

"Heaven" is a cool look for UGK, showing a insightful side of the southern OGs, with Bun and Pimp trading verses about the afterlife.  They go in the opposite direction and return to the sinful ways of the streets with the pimped out "Two Types Of Bitches," a song that's too groovy to ignore.  Dizzie Rascal and Pimpin' Ken both share their insights on the varying degrees of bitchdom in high fashion, sure to delight the O'Reilly factor fans and such.

Pimp C brings his musical side to the album, producing "Underground Kingz", and "Real Women", with Talbi Kweli and Raheem DeVaughn on the mic with a track that seems to aim to redeem their previous joint.  The song is yet another sonic knockout! Pimp lets it be known how he feels about those who look down on southern rap artists on the unapologetic "Quit Hatin' On The South," with Charlie Wilson of the Gap Band, and Willie D of Geto Boys fame adding in on the new southern anthem. 

The way they re-work "Let's Straighten It Out" shows the opposite sentiments they feel toward their detractors in the rap game.  The album ends with a banger in the Dungeon Family inspired "Living This Life," with the Texas boys sharing their thoughts on living the life of kings of the southern underground of Hip-Hop.  All in all, UGK deliver one of their finest packages to date, marking their impressive history in music!

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