Bernard "Bun B" Freeman: Born: March 19, 1973
Chad "Pimp C" Butler: Dec. 29, 1973 - Dec. 4, 2007
Underground Kingz (UGK) was an American hip hop duo from Port Arthur, Texas, formed in 1987 by Chad "Pimp C" Butler and Bernard "Bun B" Freeman. They released their first major album, Too Hard to Swallow, in 1992. This was followed by their second and third major-label albums Super Tight in 1994 and Ridin' Dirty in 1996. Both charted in the Billboard 200 and received critical acclaim. The duo was featured on hit singles by other artists, including "Big Pimpin'" by Jay-Z and "Sippin' on Some Syrup" by Three 6 Mafia.
Pimp C was incarcerated for an aggravated gun assault charge in 2002. Throughout his incarceration, Bun B carried on the UGK name by making numerous guest appearances on songs by other artists, with every appearance either mentioning Pimp C or featuring a "Free Pimp C!" or "Free the Pimp" chant. Many of UGK's peers did the same and mentioned Pimp C in their own songs with or without Bun B. Pimp C was released from prison in 2005.
Rap-A-Lot Records released Pimp C's solo debut, Sweet James Jones Stories, in 2005, which featured tracks recorded before his incarceration. Bun B released his solo foray, Trill, which opened at #6 on the Billboard Hot 200, and peaked at #1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-hop. After Pimp C's release from prison in December 2005, he put out his second solo album, Pimpalation.
UGK's self-titled album Underground Kingz debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in August 2007. Featured guests included Talib Kweli, Too Short, Rick Ross, Z-RO, Three 6 Mafia, Slim Thug, OutKast, and hip-hop legends Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane on a Marley Marl-produced track titled "Next Up ." DJ Paul and Juicy J produced the second single, "International Player's Anthem (I Choose You)." The album received positive reviews both commercially and critically, garnering a 4-star rating from Allmusic, and reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 album charts.
On December 4, 2007, Pimp C died of an accidental Promethazine/Codeine syrup overdose combined with sleep apnea. In 2008, "Bun B" released his second album, II Trill. The first single was "That's Gangsta," featuring Jamaican American artist Sean Kingston. It debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200, selling 98,000 copies. Other singles were "Damn I'm Cold," featuring Lil Wayne, and "You're Everything," featuring Rick Ross, David Banner, DJ Corbett, and 8Ball & MJG, the latter was dedicated to the late Pimp C.
Bun B's third album is Trill OG. In an interview with MTV Live, Bun B stated that 2Pac was set to feature on the album, claiming "It's a brand new verse." The album was released under Universal Music Group on August 3, 2010.
At the start of the Spring 2011 semester, Bun B joined the faculty of Rice University as a Distinguished Lecturer. He taught a course in the School of the Humanities on Hip hop and Religion.