Bun B House of Blues August 4, 2010
Ed. note: See a slideshow of last night's concert and BunB's Tuesday meet-and-greet.
9:24 p.m.: An R&B femme is performing as one of the opening acts. She has some dancers with her, which is cool. Some of them are men, though, which is not. No matter how hard you grind on a girl or grasp at her body while you're dancing with her, you just can not look masculine doing that body-roll dance move. It's like trying to look tough while you're eating an ice cream cone.
9:30: A kid has worked his way in front of us just now. He has the biggest head in the history of big heads. Seriously, it's huge. It's like he's wearing a sombrero, only he's not. It's just his normal, hat-less, humungous head. You know how when someone gets in your way and you just sort of lean to the side a bit to see around him? You can't do that with this guy. You literally have to take a step over. This is crazy. Time to find a new spot. Peace, Craniusauras.
9:32: Three tables appear to be sponsoring the show. There's a table for Strapped condoms, a table for Boost mobile and a table for Allstate Insurance. That pretty much covers all of the things one might need after the show tonight.
9:36: So the ticket shows that the show tonight is going to feature Bun B and some "special guests." Who do you think it'll be? He shows up to just about every show these days, so he's certainly got some favors to call in. It could be anybody. Ro, Slim, Cham, Keke, ESG; they're all in play. Maybe even some out-of-staters like Drake or Jeezy?
9:38: They're playing that "Gangsta" song from Thugga's new album. 'Ro crushes that hook.
9:41: Just Brittany is about to perform. Isn't that a weird pick for a name, "Just Brittany"? "Just" doesn't exactly carry the greatest connotation with it. It's really not that far from calling yourself "Meh Brittany" or "Plain 'Ol Brittany" or "It's Only Brittany."
9:44: Hmmm. So JB decided to come dressed like a big red bunny. Cool, cool.
9:53: Brandi Garcia walks out onstage. Somebody immediately shouts, "You can't ban the truth!" Nice.
9:54: Lil Keith, who's helping MC tonight between sets: "Y'all ready for Bun B!?" The crowd is getting pumped.
9:59: The DJ calls up that "Hit 'Em With The Flex" song to try and rally the crowd. A group of four or five white girls immediately start dancing on each other. The immediate response from the black guy standing next to us: "I didn't know they really did that. I thought that was just on TV."
10:23: Lil' Keith and Brandi Garcia are still onstage, trying to keep the crowd from realizing that nothing has been happening for the last 45 minutes or so. Keith shouts out to J-Mac from The Box, who's standing near the edge of the room by the merch table. Garcia then shouts out ABN about a minute later. Wonder if that was intentional?
10:23:04: By the way, His Mac-ness was wearing one of those black shirts with all of the sparkly things on it. It has wings on the back that sparkle. We typed in "shirt with sparkly wings on the back" in Google Images to find it to show it to you, but this was the first picture that came up. No kidding.
10:37: Lil' Keith: "Y'all ready for Bun B?!" Yes. Jesus Christ, yes, we're ready.
10:38: Do you know the phrase "T-Lady" or "T-Jones"? Both are slang terms used to mean "mother," as in "I don't know what to get my T-Lady for Mother's Day this year." Can someone please explain where that came from? The only explanation that we've ever received was that the "T" stood for "tummy" because "that's where you lived as a baby." That can't be right though.
10:50: You've never heard anyone sing "Wanna Be A Baller" until you've heard an Indian guy with a lisp sing it.
11:01: Yet again, Lil' Keith is onstage talking about, "Y'all ready for Bun B!?" It's like, that's the fourth or fifth time he's said that. The sad things is we still kind of believe him each time. This must be what it feels like for girls in relationships with guys who beat them.
11:05: Bun! Excellent.
11:08: In between songs somebody in the front row points out to Bun that he forgot to take the tags off of his new jacket. Even if that was planned, that's a cool as shit move.
11:12: It's funny that some of the girls in the crowd were nattering on about how Just Brittany's "Call Me For That Good" was derogatory, but as soon as Bun let's loose on "Let Me See It" those same girls go bonkers. Fuckin' Bun B transcends misogyny.
11:12:15: We hadn't noticed until now, but he brought a live band with him for the show. Cool. Their name: The Trillionaires, of course.
11:15: Oh Christ. Bun just said that J. Prince is in the building. Quick, someone draw a pentagram on the floor and then throw some chicken feet inside it - that way he won't be able to peek into our souls.
11:22: Oh shit. The drummer just murdered the intro to "Get Throwed." Well done, sir.
11:25: There are a lot of things that you should hope to see at a rap concert, chief among being the "Oh, Oh You're Rapping Right Now? My Fault. I Thought You Were Trying To Say Something To Me" move. Not familiar? Here's what it looks like: Two guys are at a show together. A song comes on that one of the guys really likes. He begins rapping the words. He looks towards his buddy to be like, "Look at me, I know the words to this song," only his buddy doesn't realize that he's rapping, so he leans in closer to hear what's being said.
Then the guy that was rapping leans in to because now he thinks his buddy is trying to say something to him. Then they meet in the middle waiting for the other person to talk before the buddy realizes, "Oh, oh you were rapping right now? My fault. I thought you were trying to say something to me." It's beautiful to see happen in the wild, like spotting a snow leopard or something.
11:30: "Pocket Full Of Stones."
11:39: Bun: "I feel like the motherfucking Rolling Stones up here with this band."
11:44: "One Day." Name one line from a song that is as uniquely simple and complex as "One day you're here, the next day you're gone." It has to rank on par with Hemmingway's six-word story, right?
11:48: WTF? Steve Francis is up onstage. Is that the special guest? Up until now, nobody else has been out to perform. This is the one show we would've laid money on that there'd have been a bunch of guests. Crazy.
11:49: Francis is just sort of wandering around a bit, periodically saluting Bun. Hmmm. Maybe he's just killing time until the shot clock is about to expire so he can chuck up a 20-foot fadeaway jumper?
11:53: Bun's doing "International Players Anthem." That song is the Bun B equivalent to a victory cigar. When he pulls it out, you know the festivities are just about over.
11:58: Here's the most important thing that everyone should take from tonight's show: For the braggadocio in Bun's music, it kind of always felt like, at times, he wasn't completely comfortable with the Rap Legend status that people were trying to pin to his lapel. Like maybe he felt like it implied that his career was over or something? And that makes a lot of sense; you saw Michael Jordan express similar feelings right before he was elected into the Hall of Fame. But these past couple of years it really seems like Bun's embraced that tag, and it's been a remarkable thing to watch.
Technically, Scarface was always, and will likely remain, the better rapper between the two. That discussion is negligible. But Bun has an exponentially greater understanding of the fact that being a rapper is about more than just rapping, and that's why he has matured to be the most important rapper in Southern rap's history. They're both icons and should be measured as such, but Bun's dedication to hip-hop as an entity, and the subsequent devotion to its advancement he feels compelled to uphold, can not be dismantled. Not even by 'Face's sledgehammer baritone.
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Personal Bias: Bun is one of the very best live performers in Houston. That's less a personal bias and more statement of fact, though.
The Crowd: Per every Bun show, the crowd was very eclectic. And, judging by the pungent clouds of smoke, very high.
Overheard in the Crowd: On that note, two Asian guys were smoking pot right in front of us. One of them turned and offered it to us. We declined, then he leaned forward and offered a hit to a girl standing in front of him. She didn't smoke it, but did take it and pass it forward. It never made its way back, and he looked heartbroken.
Random Notebook Dump: The Chile from The Box was also at the show. That guy's cool. He basically landed his job at The Box by calling the station just about everyday and showing up whereever they were and pestering them jilted ex-boyriend-style. Respect for that.