Bun B Talks ‘So Far Gone’ 10-Year Anniversary, The Making of ‘Uptown’ & Why Drake Is All-Time MC


On the eve of Valentine’s Day 2009, Drake unleashed his third mixtape So Far Gone. Though the burgeoning MC was then identified for his performing prowess on the teenager hit-series Degrassi, his latest endeavor birthed a formidable rap star. Hungry to usurp the throne from the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, and T.I., Drake concocted a mesmerizing mission which captured his will to succeed (“Successful”) his insatiable need for the women (“Houstatlantavegas”) and his dexterity on the mic (“Ignant Shit”).

Though Drizzy deftly executed a masterful mission, his co-stars helped propel the tape to increased heights with their noteworthy assists. On SFG’s standout, “Uptown,” Drake enlisted rap virtuoso Lil Wayne together with revered Houston legend Bun B. The rap triad pummeled the Bo1ida-produced beat with fury, led by Drizzy’s enthralling hook.

“[Drake] was in a position to go from a really laid again supply to a fiery supply with ease,” Bun B tells Billboard. “Most artists are both or, they’re fiery lyrically or very heavy on wordplay, or they’re a laid-back participant fashion. It was fascinating how he can commute not simply via a mission, however within the midst of a single verse.”

After the discharge of So Far Gone, Drake bloomed right into a perennial rap titan, and partnered up with Bun B on a plethora of cuts, together with “It’s Been a Pleasure,” “Put It Down” and “Miss Me (OG Remix).” With Drake flirting with rap immorality, Bun B believes the 6 God is now an all-time nice on account of his stout resume. 

"I wish to say he’s prime 10," Bun B opines. "There will likely be only a few artists who will ever be as impactful as Drake is. Game-changing."

For the 10th anniversary of So Far Gone, Billboard spoke to Bun B about his relationship with Drake, how "Uptown" got here to fruition, So Far Gone’s impression on the mixtape circuit and why Drizzy cracks his prime 10 all-time listing for MCs. 

Billboard: Take me again to if you have been first launched to Drake.
Bun B: I really recorded [“Uptown”] earlier than I even met him. The music got here to me via Jas Prince. He had been asking me for weeks. [I] had identified him for a number of years rising up, and he by no means requested me for something. He was like, “I would like you on this mission I’m engaged on.” I used to be like, “Alright, cool.” At the time, I used to be working with my very own album. I used to be within the studio and I used to be actually on the brink of stroll out the door and he calls me like, “I would like this. I would like to show on this mixtape tomorrow.” I used to be like, “I’ll go in and knock this out for you. I used to be going to go away however when you want this right now, I’ll get it to you right now.” 

I performed the report and was like, this ain’t that unhealthy. He had already laid his verse and Wayne had laid his verse. This child is a brand new artist, and I knew Wayne and Jas had a relationship on the time. He was in a position to get Wayne on the observe as effectively so I used to be like, he should actually, actually consider on this child. 

You type of simply did it off the energy, not even figuring out Drake on the time. That’s type of ballsy, particularly with somebody of your stature in hip-hop taking an opportunity on one thing like that.
Like I stated, I’ve identified Jas for years and Jas by no means requested me for something. I didn’t wish to let the child down on his first massive push into the music trade and he requested me for an artist that has official expertise. You’ve acquired Wayne on the report, this may work out for me, too.

When you first heard “Uptown,” what stood out to you essentially the most? Was it his supply, his hook, or his lyrics? Which a part of his sport?
He was in a position to go from a really laid again supply to a fiery supply with ease. Most artists are both or. They’re fiery lyrically or very heavy on wordplay, or they’re a laid-back participant fashion. It was fascinating how he can commute not simply via a mission, however within the midst of a single verse. It’s a kind of issues the place he has what he wants for the blokes to wish to be a fan, however he’s additionally acquired what he wants for the ladies. 

On So Far Gone, he had the “Best I Ever Had,” “Ignant Shit,” and extra. Outside of the “Uptown” report, what have been your favourite songs?
I actually loved the one with him and Trey [Songz], “Successful.” That was actually a distinct type of report — a distinct method. It was a humble method. This younger child was in a position to inform his story. If you seen all through his profession, he’s carried that. From that music, he’s speaking about folks he used to roll with and telling folks he had a dream. Some folks believed in him and supported him and a few folks didn’t consider. It’s been this recurring theme all through Drake’s profession. Always going again to the early days and remembering the homies that rocked with him and the ex-girlfriend. Some have been like, “You’re going to be well-known” and others have been like, ”You’re not.” He nonetheless remembers these moments and nonetheless remembers them as an artist. They come to play in his thoughts.

I agree with you wholeheartedly. You stated it from the soar, you had heard “Uptown” earlier than you guys even met. Talk about that preliminary assembly you guys had. What occurred? What stood out to you about him?
The child was very humble. It was the early days, however there was nonetheless this very sturdy response to him. He had performed his first present in New York at a university and everybody confirmed up, singing his songs, and the gang was primarily ladies I believe. He went from there to Atlanta to a present at a university, and it was much more intense. When he acquired to Houston, there was simply this fever behind him and all these younger girls began to fall in love with this new rapper Drake. But once more, he was very humble, and I believe that’s what stood out essentially the most about him. Him being that sizzling and he was undoubtedly displaying like to all of the native guys, not simply me. I bear in mind Chamillionaire displaying up and attempting to see it and seeing there was loads of momentum behind it. 

He was additionally singing, not only a rapper that was singing his hooks, however a rapper that was taking moments to vocalize. It was like he wished to be revered as a rapper and vocalist. It was a really fascinating dynamic that has come in brief spurts in hip-hop. It was very refreshing for lots of people as a result of loads of artists do have this double expertise and so they don’t take alternatives to point out it. 

If you may break down 2009 Drake versus present Drake now in 2019, what stands out to you? 
The degree of readability. Being in a position to actually see this sport and this tradition and with the ability to transfer accordingly. To are available very younger and to have that sturdy of a buzz, however then have the ability to maneuver this trade like an actual businessman. Not simply promoting a t-shirt, however constructing a clothes line. Not simply with the ability to get seats on the basketball video games, however being an envoy of the crew. There are loads of various things he has been in a position to navigate. Owning eating places, OVO shops world wide. He’s been actually good at managing and maneuvering this trade and this world. 

How would you describe So Far Gone’s total impression 10 years afterward the mixtape sport and on the whole?
It undoubtedly was a game-changer. This was a comparatively new artist, however he has sturdy options and that clearly comes with relationships and friendships with loads of totally different folks. There was a transparent distinction very early of the place he wished to go and the way he wished to be seen. Most mixtape guys they’re younger to it and so they don’t actually perceive it very effectively in order that they’re simply attempting to rep their hood and are available off in the way in which they arrive off. I believe this child was attempting to be very open with everybody, as open as doable. If you have a look at loads of artists after that, they’re open about their experiences, their life, and so they’re attempting to allow you to in a little bit bit extra.

With us speaking to a legend like your self, I gotta ask you the large query: Where does Drake to you rank all-time in hip-hop?
In phrases of lyricism?

We might go total. All-time.
Impact, supply, lots of people who’re within the prime 10 had ghostwriters as effectively. I wish to say he’s prime 10. There will likely be only a few artists who will ever be as impactful as Drake is. Game-changing. Someone that actually has persistently elevated and there hasn’t been a decline in music from him but. The music retains getting higher and it’s all the time forward of the curve. He could soar on the remix of a sizzling report, however he’s not attempting to do musically what everybody else is doing. It’s all the time a distinct method, however then he may come again and do one thing and incorporate the New Orleans sound and never look like he’s being a cultural appropriator. He can incorporate some Houston components with out being a cultural appropriator. It’s a ravishing method of being an artist and a fan, and with the ability to specific each of these.

I believe Elliott Wilson was the primary one to deliver it up years in the past. I believe that is when Thank Me Later got here out and also you spoke about that historic night time you guys have been within the studio and also you guys cooked up “Put It Down,” “It’s Been A Pleasure,” and that’s when “All Night Long” was flipped to “Miss Me.” Can you replay that studio session and the vibes from it?
We have been each in an excellent artistic place on the time. We all the time had an excellent chemistry. We come from two totally different viewpoints the place we’re not going to step on one another’s toes and we might speak about the identical factor and he’s going to method it from a technique and I’m going to method it from one other method. I’ve all the time been a really fast employee. Most of the data you’ve heard me do, they’re normally performed inside an hour. It was only a matter of placing on music and “All Night Long” was in all probability the primary music we did. It had that vitality and it set the tone for the remainder of the night time. By the time we acquired to “It’s Been a Pleasure,”  it’s reflective of my profession but additionally the time we as people have had with one another. It was a music to the trade, but additionally my relationship with him as effectively. 

Any final phrases?
I’m simply completely satisfied to be alongside for the experience watching this entire factor occur. I say to myself what if I didn’t try this in that second? I might have been watching this all from the skin.