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Five Spot: A Crap N.O.R.E. Track Reminds Us of Bun B's Better Days

Welcome back to Five Spot. Every Friday, we'll examine a recent bit of music news and list five reasons why it's either brilliant or dumb-assed. Send tips to [email protected].

Yesterday, N.O.R.E. released "Set Trip," a wispy, "Look How Tough I Am," available-via-Internet track that nobody's going to care about in four or five days. We mention it though, because it features a swift contribution from one of Houston's hip-hop archetypes: Bun B.

We actually saw Bun B not too long ago backstage at a concert and finally worked up the nerve to talk to him.

Now, we'd seen him out at concerts plenty of times - he has an unofficial residency at House of Blues - but we always panicked ourselves into silence around him. This one time we were at his listening party for II Trill and he came up to us just to quickly say hello while he was working the room. He was all, "Hey, I'm Bun B. Thanks for coming out." It was like, here's the guy who put together the most dynamic three-song set from any rapper we've ever heard (his work on "One Day," "Murder" and "Pinky Ring" from UGK's Ridin' Dirty is amazing), and he's just walking around telling people what's up? It blew our mind.

In our head, we were thinking of all this slick shit to say that would make him want to take us on tour with him or to his house to play Nintendo Wii or whatever. But what we actually said was nothing. Not one single word came out. We literally stared at him until he walked away.

At any rate, we saw at this past show - we toyed with the idea of walking up to him and being all, "Hey, remember us, we're the guy who creeped the crap out of you last year at your listening party" - so we wandered over to him and mentioned the countdown that we're doing of the best Houston rap albums of all time. We told him he was on it once or twice. He smiled and said, "Don't tell me where." That's the exact opposite reaction that every other rapper we've mentioned the list to has had. That has to mean something. But back to the N.O.R.E. song. It's really just not very much fun. Here's five Bun B guest spots that are way, way better.

Jay-Z, "Big Pimpin'": In hindsight, this is probably the most important UGK guest appearance of all time. "International Player's Anthem" won them a Grammy, but Andre 3000 was the guest feature there.

Dizzee Rascal, "Where Da G's": There's nothing you can say that can convince us that Dizzee Rascall is not six kinds of cool. We'll even concede that 90 percent of that has to do with his accent. Whatever. It doesn't matter. It doesn't make it any less splendid. We mean, he's actually got a song called "Dance Wiv Me." Every song we hear of his immediately brings to mind Snatch.

Chamillionaire, "Picture Perfect": Gets the nod because Cham sampled "One Day." God, that is such a good song.

Self Scientific, "King Kong": This is some super underground nonsense right here. We mean, the video has less than 70 views. We found a video of a guy tying his shoes that had three times as many views. High-five to Rizoh from The Rap Up for passing this one along.

Ludacris, "Down In The Dirty" (also feat. Rick Ross): This is good, clichéd fun right here. Oh, and "Have a bitch nigga sliced from his eyes to his taint"? Nutsos. How would you like to be the henchman that had to carry that order out? Do you think "taint cutting capabilities" is listed as a job requirement when you apply to work as Rap-A-Lot muscle? How crazy would it be if it actually were? J. Prince would just be sitting there in some big, lavish chair looking over someone's resume like, "Oh, I see here you have taint cutting experience. Good, good."

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Shea Serrano