As part of rap outfit UGK—his partner was the late Pimp C—the Port Arthur rhyme veteran has earned many a peer admirer in the notoriously prideful hip-hop world. He is working on his second solo album, II Trill, and appears this month at Austin’s South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival.
Most of our readers probably have no idea what your music sounds like. How would you describe your sound to them?
My sound is not what people would classify as typical hip-hop or rap music. It’s Southern by the tone of voice of the people that are speaking. It’s Southern by the sound of the music, with the bass and the live guitar—definitely a lot of bluesy influence, a lot of jazzy influence. Both of us being Texas boys and Louisiana boys, you definitely hear the influence of both lifestyles. Basically, it’s the soundtrack to your present day barbecue.
UGK has always received universal love. Why do you think you’re so respected worldwide?
I think because we’ve always shown respect to everyone. And the fact that everything that UGK has achieved they’ve achieved by their own standards. We’ve never compromised ourselves just to gain a few more sales and make a little bit more money. We’ve always tried to maintain the integrity of not just the group but us as individuals and as artists. And the fans and our peers have always given us our due respect for that.
Two people who are fans of yours are M.I.A. and Diplo because they chose you for her “Paper Planes” remix. Can you talk about how that came about?
I met Diplo and M.I.A a few years ago when we all did a Halloween party for FADER magazine. It was like some real late night kind of crazy stuff. We all had a common love for music and performing and definitely entertaining the people. Diplo and I have stayed in contact. I see him in different places, either New York or L.A. or different festivals, even different countries. But we definitely stayed in contact. And when it came time to do “Paper Planes,” it was something he reached out and asked if I was interested in. I told him of course. I had always thought the beat was sick and just the whole theme of the song was something I wouldn’t mind being a part of. And then he told me Rich Boy, who’s another young talent that I have a lot of respect for, was going to be a part of it, and I just thought it was going to make a great combination. Diplo has a good ear for putting different people together, different sounds, and making it fit.
I read that you’re supposed to appear on his upcoming solo album.
Yeah, I’m still waiting on my track. He doesn’t want me to do just a basic rap song, he definitely wants to