The Orange Leader
PORT ARTHUR —
Bernard “Bun B” Freeman makes it a habit to come back to Port Arthur to see his mother, but he said coming back Sunday to be inducted into the Museum of the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame was different.
“Who would’ve thunk?” Freeman said as he accepted his certificate of induction.
The other half of the hip-hop/rap duo, Chad “Pimp C” Butler, died in December 2007 at the age of 33. His death was ruled an accident caused by sleep apnea aggravated by the use of prescription cough medicine. More than 2,000 people attended his funeral at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center.
But Sunday was about remembering UGK’s accomplishments and honoring those memories as the Port Arthur Historical Society inducted the rap duo, Underground Kingz, into the Music Hall of Fame. The induction came almost five years to the date after Butler’s death.
UGK, or Underground Kingz, was a hip-hop duo from Port Arthur that formed in 1987. Many considered the group to be pioneers of Southern rap and hip-hop.
UGK released its first major label album, “Too Hard to Swallow,” in 1992 after signing with Jive Records. Several other albums followed, making their way onto the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. The self-titled album, “Underground Kingz,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in August 2007.
The group has been featured on hit singles by other artists, as well, such as “Big Pimpin’” by Jay-Z and “Sippin’ on Some Syrup” by Three 6 Mafia. UGK’s guest appearance on “Big Pimpin’” earned the group a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 2001. During this time, Butler also founded UGK Records in late 2005.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that just because you’re from a small town that you can’t make it,” Freeman said.
Freeman concluded by thanking the people in his life who have helped him along the way. He paused after he mentioned the passing of his “brother, Pimp C” and cleared his throat.
“UGK for life. Long live Pimp C,” he said as he walked off the stage.