With an O.G. flow and to-the-point lyrical content Bun B has established himself as one of the South’s elder statesmen on the microphone. For his second solo CD, II Trill, he doesn’t stray too far from the southern comfort zone of heavy 808s, synths and hi-hats but there are several surprises that help it stand out.
Ironically some of the strongest beats on the CD come from outside the south. Boston’s Clinton Sparks opens things up on the title cut with some frantic hi-hats and claps establishing Bun B’s sense of urgency. Self Scientifics DJ Khalil bangs out “Another Soldier” with some waling guitar and drums that have lived a hard knock life. And Chops blesses 3 cuts with “Keep It 100” being the best of the trio. His slithering bass on “Damn I’m Cold” would have done great with Devin The Dude on the hook, (maybe because it reminds me vaguely of my favorite DTD track, “Just Tryin To Live.”)
Enigma brings the marching band brass attitude on “Swang On ‘Em” and on “Get Cha Issue” Bigg Tyme lays the bed for one of the most quotable songs on the CD. Funky keys and guitar give it a pimptastic modern day western feel.
Sample wise the choices are a little too obvious for my taste but they serve the purpose of broadening Bun’s audience. Mr. Lee flips Jodeci’s “Cry For You” on “You’re Everything” and on “Good II Me” Bigg Tyme replays what else? “Just Be Good To Me” by the S.O.S band. However, “Underground Thang” gets some 70s swagger thanks to Cory Mo’s use of “Stepping Out” by Steel Pulse. The only one I can’t hate on is the “Angel In the sky” that tweaks Stevie Wonders “Ribbon in the sky” because its a tribute to the late Pimp C.
Big namers like Jazze Pha, J.R. Rotem and Scott Storch will get Bun his radio and club spins but sonically, 2 Trill belongs to the underground kings behind the boards.
-Jerry L. Barrow