Friday, March 11, 2011
Class Is In Session With Bun B
By Mikaila Johnson
TAKEN FROM ALLHIPHOP.COM
Bun B, the Trill OG, has entered in a brand new environment as a professor at the prestigious Rice University in Houston, TX. Professor Freeman is part of a revolutionary movement of real-life intellectuals, mentors, and musical geniuses alike who are stepping into the classroom scene. We saw Jim Jones teaching Music Business 101, 9th Wonder teaching Hip Hop Sampling Soul, and now our remaining half of UGK is co-teaching a Religion and Hip Hop Culture course alongside Religious Studies professor Dr. Anthony Pinn at Rice. The course has been successful thus far, and the numbers of enrollment and those interested in enrolling in the course have snowballed in size. Listen up, class is now in session.
AllHipHop.com: How were you approached to do the course?
Bun B: It was a course I was a guest speaker at about a year ago and had a great time speaking at the course, had a great connection with the professor of the course, Dr. Anthony Pinn. Over the next couple months, I was invited out to a couple of functions at Rice University and his assistant, Aundrea brought up the notion of bringing me on to teaching the course. So when they brought it to us, we were a little hesitant and really tried to make sure we could bring justice to the course. Eventually we realized it was something that we could make happen, we went forward and the rest is history in the making.
AllHipHop.com: What should a student in your course expect to learn and explore this semester?
Bun B: Without giving too much away about the course… I think the thing is people hear religion and hip hop they think that I’m in there talking about what Hip-Hop has in common with Christianity, what it has in common with Catholicism. You know most people think that religion and Hip-Hop have nothing to do with each other. Religion has to do with everything that happens in life, either you’re embracing or your rejection of religion comes into play with every decision that you make, and that’s no different in the culture of Hip-Hop. But also the fact that when we speak of religion, we talk about the questions that religion asks of the individual: the who, what, where, and whys of the world. Hip-hop poses these same questions, it asks the individual to express himself in his own way and that’s kind of what religion is about. Different religions may vary, but it’s all about you basically. You choose religion or you choose your fate based on the way you personally feel about things and situations. And you kind of choose your music and your Hip-Hop in the same way.
AllHipHop.com: How do the students interact with you? Being a professor and being Bun B.
Bun B: In the context of the course? Yea, I’m the Professor, they’re not allowed to have that kind of situation with me in the course, and that’s just the respect of the situation you know what I’m sayin. I’m the professor in this course, I’m the educator, and college classes in general are not that kind of thing, this isn’t public school. It’s a structured course. And when I speak, I speak from the viewpoint of the educator, a professor and not necessarily from Bun B, the Hip-Hop artist. I can incorporate some of the experiences of Bun B the Hip -Hop artist, but I’m not in class rappin’ and s**t. (Smiles)
AllHipHop.com: Is the course what you expected? Do you enjoy it?
Bun B: I love it, it’s even greater than I ever thought it would be. The experience itself is humbling to be able to speak into these children’s lives.
AllHipHop.com: What does the connection between religion and Hip-Hop mean to you?
Bun B: Well people keep asking about the connection between Hip-Hop and religion, and I think that’s the wrong way to look at it. You have to look at what you identify as Hip-Hop, and I think the majority of people identify a rap video with Hip-Hop, and Hip-Hop as a culture is much more than just a music video. And all rap music isn’t apart of Hip-Hop. As far as I’m concerned religion comes into play with all decisions that I make. Keep in mind there is no perfect person on this planet, so even though I may make a wrong decision every now and then, I’m no different than anyone else in the world. That doesn’t make me any less connected to my faith or my higher power than anyone else. Sitting in front of the church don’t get you closer to God, that’s just the reality of that.
AllHipHop.com: What do you tell your students about the notion there are satanic forces in rap music?
Bun B: I don’t know what you mean by satanic forces. There are devilish messages in the world period. I’ve never seen where Hip-Hop is just telling people, ‘Don’t embrace God!’ I’ve never seen an instance where Hip-Hop tells people ‘Your church is wrong, walk out of your church, forget about religion.’ To limit yourself based on the perception of something is the absolute wrong way to approach things. For every artist that sends a “satanic” message, there are people who express positivity. But the reality is, the media doesn’t choose to exploit that, record companies don’t choose to exploit that, even most Hip-Hop blogs don’t choose to concentrate on that kind of thing. They tend to promote what people are talkin about. If I go to jail today, the conversation will just switch from what positive I’ve done, into basically just me going to jail and the negatives. But the reality of it is that the positive messages in Hip-Hop far outweigh than the negative messages, we just don’t choose to exploit those messages.
AllHipHop.com: And why do you think Hip-Hop tradition has embraced Islamic religion most openly?
Bun B: I think that has to do with the proximity of Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop was created in New York, in the Bronx. At that time, there was a spiritual awakening of the Islam faith, particularly the tenets of the Five Percent Nation, founded by Clarence 13X. Because this evolution happened in NY around the same time that Hip-Hop evolving as well, both of these different cultures, The Five Percent Nation as well as Hip-Hop became so melded together that you couldn’t even separate it, such as the cypher itself. The original cyphers were young black men building about the tenets of Islam and mathematics, according to the Five Percent Nation. Because so many people in the Five Percent Nation were also rapping and vice versa, the cypher transferred from religious expression into lyrical expression, but the idea of a circle and the inside of the circle being a place to express yourself has been around since slave times.
AllHipHop.com: So in your opinion, if Christianity is the number one religion in this country, why aren’t there more popular Christian rappers?
Bun B: The reality of Christian rap as far as rap music goes is not the message in the music, but I think the environment. The reason we have more secular music is because there are more places in the world where secular music is entertained. Most people are only used to listening to gospel music within the church. Outside of Christian rap there isn’t a lot of gospel activity as much as you see with secular music. Yes, there are gospel artists for religious acts in the shows, but it’s not always promoted in the same context and through the same places as a hip-hop show.
AllHipHop.com: I’m glad I’m taking notes! What projects are you working on outside the classroom?
Bun B: I’m still working, writin, recording. I had a show last week, have a show next week, and I’ll be at SXSW in Austin. You know what it is, RIP to the Pimp… UGK fa life.
ALONG WITH BEING ONE OF THE COLDEST TO EVER SPIT, THE TRILL OG IS A VERY INTELLEGENT MAN, TAKE IT FROM SOMEONE WHO HAS FACE TO FACE CONTACT WITH THIS GUY. HE HAS A VERY DEEP MIND. BEING THAT HE IS FROM TEXAS LIKE ME, HAD A CHANCE TO GO TO COLLEGE ON A SCHOLARSHIP BUT CHOSE TO PURSUE MUSIC IS A GREAT THING FOR US THAT GOT TO WITNESS THIS ART. IF YOU PAY ATTENTION YOU CAN SEE HOW HIS INTELLEGENCE REALLY PLAYS INTO THE WAY THAT HE SPITS, YOU CANT BE A DUMB DUDE AND AND SPIT THE SHIT THAT BUN SPITS. ALL WHILE KEEPING THE MEMORY OF HIS FALLEN COMRADE THE LATE GREAT PIMP C. NOW THATS TRILL