After leaving the Gumball 3000 afterparty in Las Vegas, I made it back to my hotel at about 4:30 a.m. The plan was to sleep for a few hours, then head to Los Angeles, where the rally was set to arrive at the finish line on Hollywood Blvd.
Originally, I was going to hitch a ride with one of the Gumballers, or rent a car, making the infamous 200-plus mile drive between the two cities of sin. Ultimately however, not wanting to be a burden to anyone, or pay the high gas prices, I decided take a cheap flight.
On the plane, I kept thinking about something that Bun told me the night before: "If you need anything, let me know."
As a part of Rocks Off since June 2009, I've run into him at countless of events and concerts over the years. I distinctly remember saying hello to him at a Fat Tony listening party years ago and having a "holy crap, he knows my name!" moment. I mean, this is Bun B! Of the legendary UGK!
I remember listening to him back at Jones Senior High School in South Park in the '90s, and following his (and Pimp C's) career with the highest degree of admiration. My very first assignment for Rocks Off was a Bun B and Friends concert at Warehouse Live.
So yeah, the whole "call me if you need anything" dynamic with his man is not one that I will take lightly or abuse. As a great man used to say, "With great power comes great responsibility".
The setting for the end of the rally was the historic Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Blvd. What better way to end "the world's most audacious international car rally" than in the land of rock gods and movie stars.
One by one, the Gumballers streamed towards the finish, each with a sense of accomplishment after driving from sea to shining sea. Seven days and seven nights of driving full speed ahead and turning the dial up to 11.
The pool at The Roosevelt was alight with the Gumball 3000 logo, and the whole section was reserved for the Gumball. The official Gumball media pass I was wearing got me past security. Inside the velvet ropes, I found all kinds of Gumballers: pro athletes, musicians, television stars, dot-com millionaires, lawyers, sheiks, mafia-types, all brought together by Maximillion Cooper for the 14th edition of the rally. The event has grown though out those years, and is now a multimillion-dollar lifestyle brand with offices in London and Los Angeles.
I found Bun near the pool, mingling and taking pictures. He was reveling in the sense of accomplishment after finishing another long road rally with the people he calls his Gumball Family. In a very intimate moment, I witnessed Futura 2000 give Bun a small souvenir from Death Valley.
It was a small and kind gesture (Bun skipped that stop and drove straight to Las Vegas), but one that was very much appreciated. "Fuck my shoes, and all of my other stuff... This is probably the best gift ever!" proclaimed the Trill OG.
I asked him if he was staying the whole night. He told me his flight home left LAX at 1:30 a.m., so he was going to leave the party soon.
"That's my thing," he said. "I like to party with and see my friends have a good time, and leave before it's over, because in the end, those are the memories I cherish the most."
Wise words from a wise, accomplished, and well-traveled man.