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Bun B Reflects On Jay-Z Borrowing His Rhymes For ’99 Problems’

Southern rap legend Bun B joined People’s Party with Talib Kweli last week as the first solo returning guest outside of Yasiin Bey. The conversation spanned rap music, Pimp C, hip-hop’s therapeutic elements, and his new hamburger concept. Plus there was talk of a Kweli-Bun full-length album:

Bun B has paved his own path as an entrepreneur, college professor at Rice University, and a respected thinker in the culture of hip-hop. The music he made as half of the duo UGK altered hip-hop’s understanding of the power, scope, and potential of Southern rap. But even as UGK’s renown grew they needed a little extra light shone on them with bi-coastal audiences. Kweli noted that few people know that Jay-Z did exactly that — sourcing the opening four bars of the third verse of “99 Problems” from a Bun verse.

“People be like ‘Yo, Jay-Z took a piece of your rhyme. I didn’t know that was your sh*t,’” Bun recalls. “I’m like dope, it’s all good bro!”

Bun B then discussed how many artists display lyrical admiration and tribute by dropping these lines. Sometimes, it is taken as it is meant. Other times, an artist may have to compensate the person who was quoted. Bun stresses he never pursues cash from rappers who have quoted him.

“Hov has shown love,” he noted. “So much love to UGK. ‘Big Pimpin’’ is my international calling card. This is a record that is 22 years old. We can go to any country on the planet where people go to a club and dance. You can play that record and everybody that came to party will party to that record.”

To check out more of this incredible conversation about music, culture and art watch People’s Party with Talib Kweli and co-host Jasmin Leigh.