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In this week’s show, we have a hip hop legend, Bun B. Best known as one-half of the Southern rap duo UGK, Bun along with Pimp C formed UGK in the late ’80s when their former crew, Four Black Ministers, fell apart. Based in Port Arthur, Texas, UGK signed with Jive, and with 1992’s Too Hard to Swallow began a series of Southern gangsta rap albums that were successful sellers.
In 2005, Bun B carried on solo, and released both the mixtape Legends, and his debut album Trill extending his presence into the 2010s with Trill O.G.: The Epilogue and Return of the Trill, just as a generation of younger MCs looked up to the influential veteran for inspiration. Since then he has continued to experiment and always try what’s new, specially in the technology field, to take full advantage of it.
We have an insightful talk on what he’s doing with NFT’s and Web 3.0, and discuss broadly about the metaverse. Tune in to discover how Bun has positioned artists and himself in this incredible space!
[02:50] Bun’s insights about NFT’s and EulerBeats
[05:09] Technology advances in the music industry: Vinyl, cassettes, CD’s, mp3
[06:36] Bun’s wallet and the genuine aspect of being someone that is producing art and trying to consume it in space vs the cash grab
[13:26] How NFT’s shapes the way Bun chooses to release music in the future
[17:01] Bun’s outlook about putting himself in the frontlines for all types of things
[20:41] Pimp C and testing technology in 1995 with the Ridin’ Dirty album
[24:00] Doing more metaverse concerts for more artistic interpretation
[29:42] The real advancement of technology with the Nintendo Wii.
[35:02] Hip hop artists in Houston
[38:49] Hip hop entertainment media becoming more democratized
[40:40] Bun’s perception of how to take full advantage of what the metaverse and web 3.0 have to offer
[41:28] Bun’s Trill Burger Restaurant
[48:20] What Bun wants the “Trapital” audience to know about
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Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.co
Guest: Bun B https://twitter.com/BunBTrillOG
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How Bun B Has Positioned Hip Hop Artists in the Metaverse Space
Bun B 00:00
All of this different stuff. I do believe that you can do things in a metaverse concert that you maybe can’t do in real life, right? Levels of production interaction, people communicating to you in real-time, right? In ways that you probably couldn’t do in the middle of a fully organized and fully produced concert.
Dan Runcie 00:27
Hey, welcome to the Trapital Podcast. I’m your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from the executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip-hop culture to the next level. This episode is with hip hop legend, Bun B. This man needs no introduction. But everyone on this podcast is going to get one, especially a legend in the game, like Bun.
It’s wild to think this is coming up on 30 years since Bun and Pimp C dropped their debut album as UGK. And each evolution of his journey Bun has continued to experiment, continue to try what’s new. And what he’s been doing recently with NFT’s and with Web 3.0 is a great example of that. He recently linked up with Cryptopunk Rapper Spottie WiFi. And Bun and I talked all about the releases that they have planned what their strategy has been with NFT’s and we talk more broadly about the metaverse. What does that look like for hip-hop artists? How Bun has positioned themselves in this space, and what UGK’s approach to NFT’s would have looked like. We also talked about what Bun’s been doing in the restaurant business, Houston, hip hop artist, who his NFL comparison is, and a whole lot more. It’s always great to host the legends on this podcast. And it was an honor for him to join me on this one. Here’s my with the Trill OG.
All right, we got the Trill OG with us himself, Bun B. Welcome, man. It’s great to have you on the pod.
Bun B 02:02
Likewise, man, thanks for having me. I’m excited to have this conversation today.
Dan Runcie 02:06
Yeah, man, this is dope, because I feel like there has been so much movement lately going on with NFT’s and how artists are making moves. And you’ve been making a bunch of moves in this space, you recently teamed up with another artist, Spottie WiFi. And it’s been dope just to see how you all have thoughtfully planned out what you’re doing. And all of these steps the past year where I feel like most people are just gonna wrap their heads around what an NFT actually is and how to do it. So yeah, it will be good to hear. What was your entry point to this? Like, when did you first hear about this stuff, and then something clicked when you’re like: Okay, I’m gonna make a move in this space.
Bun B 02:50
So I got approached last summer. A good friend of mine used to be my video producer advice many years ago, reached out to me and he said: Bun, I know you’re a forward thinker. I know you’re, you know, relatively open minded guy. Have you heard of NFT’s? And I was like, vaguely, but because of the fact that I was I was a little late to crypto, so I wasn’t, you know, big on Discord and all of that kind of thing. So I was very unfamiliar, to be honest, seems like well, I have a guy, he’s, you know, very fluent. And, you know, he’s doing these different kinds of things called EulerBeats, and I was like, what, what is a EulerBeat? And the way it was explained to me, and I’m definitely paraphrasing here, it’s like a computer algorithm is put in and it kicked out beats or whatever. So basically, these were beats that were kicked out by because some kind of computer program or algorithm by some scientist named Euler. And so different people were were buying these EulerBeats, doing remixes to them and so forth.
So one of the guys that owned one reached out to my friend and was like, you know, if you’d like to collaborate, I’d love to see if you would want to rap over one of these beats, you know, so I did something, it was very minimal. It was really only like a hook and a verse and it was called going crazy over crypto. And I just use a lot of different terminology from this, as I did my research, talking about Foundation, and open sea and stuff like that, you know, very, very surface level terminology. And it did fairly well it because the guy that I partnered with was already well known in the space. And so that went well, and I guess the word kind of got out. So then I had another friend reach out to me and he was like: Hey, I have a good friend. He is a crypto punk owner, and he’s actually like, the first crypto punk rapper. I’m like: Well, I don’t even know what that means. But, you know, let’s let’s get us all on a call. And that’s when I was introduced to Spidey and Spidey explained to me the idea of the crypto punk NFT and him putting like an identity to his and turn it into like this character, which I thought was like really cool, real cutting edge and some next level shit. And being an older artist, you know, I’ll be celebrating my 30 year anniversary this month. And so I’ve watched the music industry changed from vinyl to cassettes, cassettes to CDs, CDs to mp3. So you know and watch the record business go from the traditional model of record stores into these online stores, right? So for me, it’s it’s vital that I’m prepared to change with the time when this technology advances. And so when I started to find out more and more about not only NFT’s but cryptocurrency and this whole idea of Web 3.0 in the metaverse and where everything is going, I was like: Man, I really hope I can find my way into this. And luckily, people who are already in the space reached out to me, so I didn’t have to do that much initial heavy lifting, right? These guys kind of carried it for me. But then once they brought this stuff to me, I got very intrigued and I started to do my own research. And now like just watching these different brands and different people being associated with different stuff and seeing how you know, this board API club society is expanding, you know, through all facets of entertainment, man, it’s really cool to watch. And it’s really fun to be on a certain level a part of everything that’s happening, right?
Dan Runcie 06:22
Yeah, definitely. And I mean, you mentioned it a few of the names there. Obviously, we’re talking about crypto punks board, API club. I feel like even outside of music, you must have stepped up your own collection as well with this stuff. What’s your, what’s your wallet looking like right now?
Bun B 06:36
It’s looking pretty good. You know, I had the full set, Medicard, somebody talked to me about that. I think my first really, really good purchase for me was an In-Betweener from Gianpiero. He’s a digital artist and he’s also the designer behind Drew, which is Justin Bieber’s clothing line. So I was able that was like the first thing I was able to met Tristan Eaton, who was a good friend of mine. He’s an amazing artist and muralist. He released some, some art called Gemma. So he gave me an NFT of his, and that allowed me to be able to meet stuff. So it’s been really, really cool. Hundreds I bought an atom bomb from the Hundreds for Bobby Hundreds. And I caught it, like, at a really good price. And the ceiling is like two and a half times what it was when I got it. It’s just been fun to get my hands on some of this stuff and just watch it grow, you know, but I’m trying to hold on to as much of it as possible, personally. Yeah, I did it for like, you know, quick buys and flips because I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t fail to understand the industry enough to know what to buy and when to buy it. Whatever.
I’m finding some cool stuff. I have friends that tell me about some cool stuff happening. I go on, I check it out, you know, works for me people that, you know, sometimes I’ve been lucky enough to get whitelisted other times, I got to get in that thing and met like everybody else, you know, but it’s been fun and exciting. You know, especially like I see now B.o.B is now getting into the metaverse, that’s going to be a drop coming soon. Really interesting man to watch out for; all these brands are finding their way into the metaverse right now. But yeah, my wallet is, it’s okay, you know, it’s not crazy, because I’m very reserved about, like, I have crypto that I already have. So I’m just kind of playing with house money, if that makes any sense. Like I don’t want to look into you know, dumping a lot of my personal income into it, you know, if I make the right decisions in the right choices and make a couple of bucks cool. And if not, you know, they’re not going to cut the lights off over here anytime. So, but, but it’s fun, it’s fun to have a lot of friends now like Everlast, a recording artist Everlast. I talked to him all the time. And he’s been an art collector for almost 30 years now of all different mediums of art, whether it’s sculptures or toys, or paintings or what have you. And like he’s like, very, very engaged because he just loves art, and he loves to appreciate art. And he has many friends that are artists that are releasing NFT’s, and then other things that he sees that are you know, maybe based off of hip hop characters or something culturally that he has an attachment to, and he was just copied something you know, it’s relatively, you know, most of these things meant typically around .01 Ether, so it’s only a couple of $100 that you really have to invest. Again, like I said, I’m not I’m not sitting around trying to spend crazy money on some of this stuff. But it’s been fun man. It’s really fun to have some of this stuff and you know, you could send your friend a link to your wallet and show him what you got.My good friend, Clyde Edwards from sneaker box. He was hitting me. He’s like: Yo, I see you got to In-Betweener about one to check out my wallet, and I sent him my wallet. We just kind of compared different stuff that people got man. It’s, it’s a different thing that people can bond over too. You know, like, I have a lot of friends that are into sneakers. There’s a lot of sneaker based NFT’s Nikki Diamond sent me over some crypto downs that he’s doing, you know. I’m saying and now other people that I didn’t even know were hidden and she’s like: Yeah, kind of crypto down to like worry. Yeah, it only cost me .01 Ether, so it was like nothing. It’s fun, man. It’s really fun and interesting to see how the space is connecting with people and how, how different people’s entry points vary based on their cultural cues, you know.
Dan Runcie 10:06
Yeah! And I think your approach with it in terms of you’re trying to buy these things and hold them, you’re not trying to flip them. That’s what separates the genuine aspect of being both someone that’s producing art, but trying to consume it in the space versus the cash grabs. And I know that’s something that both you and Spottie have been focused on making sure that the stuff you’re putting out isn’t just a cash grab. You’re trying to put out something that people should want to buy and hold the same way you do with others. And I’m curious, are there certain things that you did to make sure that that was the image that was being presented, or the way that people would see it if they wanted to buy it? Because I know that with something like NFT’s that can be a delicate thing to balance.
Bun B 10:53
I think I do a lot of this, you know, especially with particularly with this collaboration with Spidey. I kind of followed his lead, and I didn’t want to put too much of myself on it. Because I was new in this space. I didn’t want to overtalk myself. I didn’t over one want to overstep my boundaries. And I didn’t want to mess up Spidey’s reputation. He’s very well known, and very well respected in the space. So for the most times, I just kind of took his lead on a lot of this stuff. He would recommend certain things to me, I would approach things from a very typical traditional release standpoint and engagement standpoint. He was like: No, well. I was like, should we go on Instagram Live? And he was like: Well, no,these things tend to work better on Twitter spaces, you know. So little things like that helped me connect and figure out the space a lot quicker. But Spottie, I mean, he was already releasing music as NFT’s prior to our collaboration. So the system was already set up, I just tried not to step on anybody’s toes, get in anybody’s way. But I was curious about a lot of things as far as intellectual property and ownership. And, you know, it’s very interesting how some of these things work, depending on what you’re releasing, whether it’s video or it’s music, you know, different rules apply. So it’s been educational for me as well. And now that I have this information, I have a lot of other artists, typically from my generation who are curious about it, who don’t have a Spottie that they can go to. So I can kind of give them a very base entry level instructions, I try to point them in the right direction. But it’s not the easiest thing for people to navigate to discord if they’ve never really been on one before, and don’t really know the terminology, and how the communication is happening in the space. So and that’s for me, like, I was just talking to a friend last night like: Yo, how do you monitor these discords? Like, how do you know who’s meeting what and where? And he was like: Man, it’s a language, you just got to figure out how to talk it. And once you figure out how to talk it, it’s, you’ll see everything happening. So I’m still learning, it’s a process for sure. Because this is the space that I naturally operate in. But I’m always up to learn something new.
Dan Runcie 13:02
Right. And because I think that’s the perspective that obviously separates you from someone that would even want to try to do this as a cash grab to begin with. You already had a clear understanding, and then you have someone that’s willing to ride it with you. And then you can help do other; help support other people with that, too. But yeah, it’s, it’s a lot I could imagine. And now that you’ve got in yourself up to speed with it, I wonder how this will shape how you choose to release your music in the future overall, with NFT’s but then obviously, traditional album releases and things like that.
Bun B 13:37
Well, it’s just a further extension, right? It just gives me a deeper way of connecting with my base and with people who appreciate my art. So typically, we would only sell music to people, we would only be able to communicate to people through social media. But now in the metaverse, right? Like I can sell tickets to a virtual concert. While they’re at the virtual concert, they can buy virtual merchandise, right? There’s so many different ways that we can connect with people, and it doesn’t all have to be monetary, right? We can have very real conversations. It’s, you know, these Twitter spaces have been very interesting in terms of learning how people view art that don’t necessarily have an entry point to me as a musician, right? So in determining, like in the future, what kind of NFT’s we want to be involved with and how we want to present it. It has to be true to me and my art and what I represent. So a lot of those things won’t maybe necessarily connect,and they won’t be something that I could sell for a bunch of money even if I wanted to. But the reality is, is that, I can’t afford for this to be a cash grab, because I’ve got 30 years of reputation on the line, right? And I’ve always been upfront with people about what it is I represent and what I’m presenting. And so for me, this is just fun, right? It’s very, it’s fun. I’m trying to not try to sell stuff at an expensive price. I just want people to have a deeper experience in something that they’re already enjoying, which is my music. So, we can create these remixes, right? Or like what I’m doing with Spidey where we’re allowing people to remix the song, and present it, right? Like that’s, that’s fun; that’s dope. But it’s not something that would traditionally only play through a DJ or on a radio station, right? This thing will live and breathe on an entirely brand new platform. And it will inspire other people to approach these things from a different aspect or a different angle. And that’s all I really want to do. As the OG, I’m typically the one that has to bite the bullet on this stuff; jump out there first, see if it’s viable, see if it makes sense. And then, show other people: Hey, this is cool. Come on, you guys, it’s safe to go this way. That’s really all I’m trying to do. Now, you know, not necessarily for a lot of young people, because they get it: Younger people are more tech savvy than, say, my generation is, right? I want to let them know that this is a safe space, that they can operate it. But you can’t jump in here and look at the money because these people can smell a poser a mile away. They can tell him to rug pool, they know what’s going on. Because they were here first, you’re the new guy, you know. So but it’s, it’s, um, it’s encouraging, I will say that it is encouraging as an artist, you know. What new ways can I find to make this experience with the people that are appreciating my art and my music deeper? You know, how can it go further? How can it last longer? That’s, that’s a beautiful thing.
Dan Runcie 16:19
Yeah, and that’s a good point. You mentioned earlier, you, especially within your generation, have always been the experimenter, you’ve always been more willing to put yourself out there and then see what it’s like and then put others up on game. How do you think that developed? Like, where did that, you know, dynamic come from for you?
Bun B 16:38
Well, you got to understand, I started rapping 30 plus years ago, when it wasn’t even a viable job, right? People weren’t rich from rap when I first got into it, but it was new. It was, it was amazing, right? The graffiti aspect of it, the breakdance aspect of it, watching the DJ, manipulating the records, and watching these guys create songs, impromptu like right in front of you. It was amazing. It was something I wanted to be a part of. And back then, you know, my mother was against it, a lot of people didn’t think I would make it, it’d be successful. But I was like: Look, I’ll give it some time, I’ll give it a shot, I’ll at least take a chance. You know, for me, I’ve always been open minded to take a chance on things and not everything works out. But typically when they do, they work out big. So you know, no risk, no reward. That’s always been, you know, my personal motto. And you know, as long as it doesn’t hurt somebody physically, as long as it doesn’t compromise my family’s financial and physical security. I’m open for you know, I’m willing to test it and from where I’m from, if I don’t try it first, some people will never give it a chance, you know. So again, if you, you know, if you call yourself an OG, then you have to put yourself on the frontlines for all types of things, you know, not just music and hip hop or street related stuff. But even with, you know, technology and finance and all this type of stuff. I want people to get the best experience they can out of life, you know, and if I can live life and show people: Hey, this is okay to do this is safe, you know, encourage people to take a chance and jump off that cliff and see, you know, saying the biggest one when they land, I’m with it, you know, because it’s worked out for me. And I know, there were a lot of things I was able to accomplish that people said I couldn’t do. So I want to encourage as many people out there as possible to take chances as well.
Dan Runcie 18:21
Yeah, you mentioned there earlier with that, your mother in this and just you know her maybe not necessarily seeing it. And I think I heard you say this once that she didn’t think that this was real until you were in Big Pimpin’. And that’s when it, like, clicked for her. She was like: Oh, okay, like this is real now.
Bun B 18:38
Yeah, a little earlier than that. But right, right around the same time, like we were, we had the number one album and jet magazine. And that was like a big deal, right? Because that was for her generation, the only way to gauge that kind of stuff. They really weren’t into Billboard magazine, they didn’t, you know, charts and all of that type of stuff. So that’s where people will look at it back, a jet magazine, you’d see the top singles and the top albums. And when I have the Top album and jet magazine, she kind of had to look to take notice. She was like you really do make music because there was no way for her to really gauge it. We didn’t have a lot of music videos, we didn’t have a lot of media exposure. You know, a lot of it was really word of mouth; our earliest use as recording artists, even though we were signed to a major label. So nothing in my life showed that I was like a recording artist, I didn’t really have, you know, the money and the cars, you know, to really show that I was doing all this stuff. I couldn’t point at this magazine and say: Look and see me. I couldn’t point at this TV show and say: Hey, there goes my video. So it, you know, it was these small little moments that my mom could relate to because a lot of hip hop culture, my mom didn’t have a frame of reference for, you know, me. That’s a good thing too. Because, you know, this is a very different environment sometimes that we can operate in pimps. My mom was always deeply involved in our career. And I wasn’t always crazy about that because there’s a lot of rooms that I felt she shouldn’t have been in because things can get very aggressive sometimes. But saying all that to be said, once I did go out and show my mom that I was capable of doing this, she was all in. She’s one of my biggest supporters now, but again, sometimes you just got to go out there and throw caution to the wind. And that’s always been this recurring theme in my life where, you know, I have no idea where the next road is going to leave me. But I have to be prepared to take that step regardless, you know.
Dan Runcie 20:25
Definitely. And I think with that, you mentioned Pimp C earlier. I feel like you and him together, just imagining what you all would have done and what USK’s, NFT approach and Web 3.0 approach would have been like, it would have been crazy.
Bun B 20:41
Well, Pimp was very big about interaction, right? He was really, you know, we would have concerts, you know, we’d be done on stage, say, you know, 1:30 and we probably wouldn’t leave the club till 2:00 o’clock. Because taking pictures and signing autographs and just talking to people. Pimp was really big on wanting to, like, stick around after the show and, like, actually communicate with people. He was always curious as to what was on people’s minds. And right now, he would have been all over; I believe, like, the metaverse and this idea of. Because I remember, he was, he introduced me to LaserDisc, right? Like, I had no idea what LaserDisc was. And I was the movie guy. That was a crazy thing. I was a big movie buff that watched all the films. And he was like: Man, I think you would like this, because you can watch the movie, and the director will talk to you like the commentaries and all that stuff. So he was, and he was a producer, he worked with a lot of, you know, recording equipment. So he had to be on the cutting edge of technology. Many people don’t know that Ridin’ Dirty is one of the first albums to actually be recorded in Pro Tools. So it’s one of the first rap albums to be recorded fully into digital format, you know, and we were using a, a beta as a beta version. So we were testing the technology. And this is back in 1995, back in 1996, you know, so we were always trying to take advantage of advances in technology throughout our career. So it would be no surprise that this would be something that he would be trying to be a part of as much as possible. And I mean, he was, you know, he was already a very animated person. So a cartoon character with Pimp C based on it in these, you know, NFT world, you know, you could have put different hats, different color mink coats on him, he would have had a ball with it. I guarantee.
Dan Runcie 22:18
I could have, I could only imagine. I’m thinking about a clip of you all from international players Anthem Music Video, that would go crazy.
Bun B 22:29
Oh, yeah, definitely, you know, and again, you know, you never know what people gravitate to, right? That’s why it’s important to just throw it all up against the wall, I talked about this yesterday. I was just like: Man, you never know what it is people like about what you do. So you just give them everything you got, present yourself fully, you know, saying be open, but be as transparent as possible, and let the people decide what it is they love about you. And once you find that connection point, you can expand on that and grow that connection. I think NFT’s is the perfect place for that, because it allows multiple interpretations of a theme that’s already associated with you.
Dan Runcie 23:06
Right, right, for sure. I think with this, too. There’s so much that’s already known. And I think to a lot of people, you’re definitely on the cutting edge with this. And I think naturally, you’re probably: Like, okay, well, what is that thing going to be like three years from now, five years from now that everyone’s gravitated towards? Do you have any ideas on what that could look like in music?
Bun B 23:27
Well, I think for one in music, I think a lot of,especially, we look at, you know, with, with social distancing, and a pandemic, and how people had to start doing like online concerts and versus and all of this different stuff. I do believe that. You know, if you remember last year, Travis Scott, and I think Justin Bieber both did virtual concerts, right? Travis did one on Fortnite. I think you’ll see a lot more of that because it allows for more artistic interpretation for the performer, right? So you can do things in a metaverse concert that you maybe can’t do in real life, right? Levels of production interaction, people communicating to you in real time, right? In ways that you probably couldn’t do in the middle of a fully organized and fully produced concert.
I just think it allows people who appreciate what you do to have more access to you and what you do. And I think that for me, is where things are going to go. I think, I think there’s going to be more. I think not only are we going to spend more time in the metaverse, I think we’re going to be concerned about how we look in a metaverse, how we present ourselves in a metaverse as far as technology. And I think it’d be a lot closer to Ready Player One in the virtual sense, but not in the real world being this dystopian future kind of thing. I think we’re okay for the next couple of years. I don’t think mankind is going to, you know, turn into Mad Max that quick, right? I do think that people are going to spend, want to spend. I want to say that, everyone will want to spend more time. I think for me In the next three years, there’s going to have to be some type of technological advance in the way we enter the metaverse because VR headsets for many people can be a very cumbersome thing to deal with for an extended period of time. And for me, that’s the only thing with being in virtual reality for more than 20,30,40 minutes is the fact that the headset can get hot, especially if you’re playing like Fruit Ninja, or boxing or working out, right? It gets hard to get sweaty. It’s a lot. You know, I think as, I think as the technology starts to advance on that aspect, people will be more willing to get into it because it’s, it’s kind of awkward, this big headset and these paddles and all of that. I think at some point, you know, if you look at who it is that is working with Oakley. Is it Facebook, or Google? That has the glasses, or is it not YouTube? Yeah, it’s YouTube, right? We’re with Oakley, where you can film things directly from, from the glasses. I think technology is going to lean more in that direction, I think we will be able to incorporate more of the metaverse on top of the real world so that you will be cognizant of where you are in the real world at the same time. So you’re not tripping over the coffee table or something because people are going to want to incorporate this more into their everyday life. You won’t be able to drive with it or maybe walk down the street with it. But I think you can move around and share spaces a little bit better, you know, but that’s just me. I just want this to be a more pleasant experience and easily accessible experience. I think at some point, the metaverse will be as easily accessible as WiFi. If you can find a WiFi connection, you can jump right into the metaverse to connect with people in places. That’s awesome. Starbucks is gonna look a lot different in three years. I could tell you.
Dan Runcie 26:47
Yeah, I think, I think that’s it. Because when I think about the VR companies like Magic Leap, or Oculus, where I think their growth slowed a bit was exactly what you said. Having that headset on for a long period of time does create a barrier and friction on so many levels. And I think that’s why for that moment, we saw faster movement and growth in AR as opposed to VR, right? So I think, the next motion of that is like what you’re saying with glasses, it’s like a hybrid of those. You still have the thing over you, but it’s still layered on top of the real world, you can still interact with whatever’s happening around you.
Bun B 27:25
The only problem is his peripheral, right? Like you have to figure out where the peripheral would stop with glasses, right? At some point, you still have to have simple coverage, right? In order to fully be constant in this space. But that doesn’t, that’s not always going to work. So I think, as long as someone can like with the click of a button, like, tablets have a real space in the back of their metaverse like the in and out, right? The accessibility, I think, to and back and forth, that’s going to be the thing that I’m sure there’s somewhere in, in the r&d departments trying to figure out right now. Definitely, I think this would be amazing, like on flights, like, just think if you have, like, a long international flight, right? You know, you get tired of watching movies, and listening to music and food. You can jump on, you know, the same phone, if there’s like a WiFi experience, you can jump into the metaverse right there, you know, and interact with other people on a plane, right? Without, you know, without having to get up and go there. You can find out somebody in 34C is interested in the same things as you, you know, it could get sketchy too. You know, that could get sketchy too. I’ve been on planes before where people were randomly air dropping pictures to people that maybe they didn’t want airdropped to them. Like that. But the world is full of wonder. I’m excited about the future , always have been, always will.
Dan Runcie 28:36
Yeah. And I also think we’re still in the early days of this too. I mean, it’s very real that I know that. I know that Facebook changed its name to Meta, and they may seem like the leader, but these companies, especially the new ones, they’re growing fast. Every new social platform grows faster than the one before that. And like we’re saying five years from now, just think about, like, how quick Tick Tock blew up, or how quick Clubhouse blew up in that, you know, few months, right?
Bun B 29:01
And prevalent, not just that it grew up. It’s prevalent, and it’s accepted, you know, across the board, you know, different cultures, languages, gender identity, everybody’s getting it the same way. I talk about this all the time, every now and then technology comes to people or an idea, or some level of artists presented and everyone receives it generally the same way, right? And I think that the metaverse is going to get to a point where it can present itself to the average consumer who isn’t tech savvy, who doesn’t have cryptocurrency, who doesn’t have a metamask wallet with, with NFT’s and tokens in it. But will still want to interact and engage. You know, I saw with the Nintendo Wii, I think the Nintendo Wii doesn’t get enough credit for being a precursor to this. You know, that was something that everybody wanted to see what their face would look like, what their avatar would look like on the game and we could bowl and play tennis and all of that, right? I think that’s going to come back around. I think we’re going to see a happy medium between what we know VR to be, and what we want VR to be very soon. I think there’s too many companies investing in a technology. There’s too many upstarts. And there’s too many people whose minds are not focused on this. It’s happening. It’s not about a matter of if, it’s when it’s happening right now. And everybody’s getting on board, all these big corporations that you see creating NFT’s and trying to sell up cheese. I remember when I saw the massive Thanksgiving parade floats were being sold as NFT’s. I’m like, okay, and like, this is massive, right? Right. You know, saying like, get on board, like everybody can get on board. And you can hold out if you want, I held out on Twitter, I held out on Instagram and social media. And I’m pretty sure it cost me It cost me money. At some point. It cost me connectivity at some point. And you know, it cost me relationships because I wasn’t there early, right? A lot of people that got there early, were able to take full advantage of it. And you know, a lot of us are still playing catch up with this kind of stuff. So as far as the, you know, Web 3.0 in the metaverse, I want to be, if not ahead of the game, at least I have my finger right on the side and on the cusp of what’s to come.
Dan Runcie 31:11
That Nintendo Wii example is a really good one for a few reasons. Because I think it also signaled what people think is the real technology advancement, if that makes sense. Because up until that point, everything was about graphics. How can the Xbox One be upgraded graphics and the Xbox 360? Or a ps4? Whatever it is.
Bun B 31:31
How close to reality can it look, right?
Dan Runcie 31:34
Right, and their whole thing was like: Okay, maybe if it’s less about that, but more about like: Okay, what is the actual experience that you can create with other people and making people do things? And that’s why, we blew up when it did when it did, you know, let’s take a quick break to hear a word from this week’s sponsor.
Bun B 31:52
Yeah, so what’s the goal, right? What was the goal of the Nintendo Wii for people to enjoy it together, right? So they focused on that, instead of how pretty the picture was going to look? And how sharp the animation was going to look and how fluid everything was going to be? No, it just, you know, the avatars just like the Apple avatars, right? They’re fun, neat, animated character caricature versions of who we are, right? It’s like spending the day at the pier or something, you know, and it allows the kids to play a game with the parents to play a game with the grandparents, you know. Nintendo Wii changed Thanksgiving weekend and changed Christmas and New Year’s, right? Because now the whole family can gather around the television. And instead of watching a movie, we can all do Nintendo Wii bowling. I feel like technology is going to get more and more into that. The metaverse lends itself to that, you know, I’m saying. Especially if, say, you can get on your iPad, you can get on, on your cell phones, the kid can’t get on on his Nintendo, right? I can get on, on my phone. And we can all be interacting, playing games against each other. You know, what was it there was, there were virtual dominoes, I remember that became a big thing during the pandemic, because people in different houses could play dominoes against each other. People who would normally come together and commune and play dominoes in person could play it virtually. Now imagine that there’s an avatar, you know, I’m saying there’s benefits, the winner could get this, we could all put .01 Ether or something. I don’t want to encourage gambling, but it’s just different ways for us to have fun together. You know, and I think, I think the metaverse is going to be perfect for that. Because if everybody just has to put something on, then we’re all there. Now, you know, I love the idea of, of virtual art galleries, where you can have the stuff that’s in your wallet, and it’s on the wall, you can display it and present it to other people. You know, you can go by someone’s gallery and look at their art, they can come and look at yours. We’ll be having listening parties, people can come and commune, play albums and preview music and videos. But the world is wide open, and it’s just about how open you are to it.
Dan Runcie 33:54
That’s exciting. I’m excited for that. I know you’re going to be up on all of that. And I mean, I can’t wait. I feel like of course with some of these things. You always feel it out to see, okay, what is, you know, the worthwhile thing to put the investment behind. But there’s always going to be things and I think, I think it’s going to be bright ahead so I can’t wait for that.
Switching gears a bit though, I want to talk a bit more about hip hop and I want to talk about Houston specifically. Because obviously you’re a legend in this game, you know, play in Port Arthur, Texas on the map. And it’s been great. You mentioned Travis Scott earlier. It’s been great to see what he’s done. It’s been great to see what Megan Stallion has done as well. And I feel like, you know, you’ve mentioned that especially in the 90s, Houston necessarily wasn’t getting you know, all the love that it definitely deserved. And now we are starting to see a few more Houston artists get some of that mainstream awareness that maybe the earlier generation didn’t get. But I’m curious, where you think things are right now. Do you feel like Houston is finally getting its fair share? Do you think they’re still selling room there for the region?
Bun B 35:02
Well, I think the only thing that has really held us back here has always been media, the media accessibility, right? Not being in New York and not being in Los Angeles, which are media capitals of the world, not just of the US, right? There is all the accessibility to magazines, to TV shows, right? To entertainment conglomerates, in general, all the access is there. We’ve always been operating on the outside. Well, now with social media, it kind of levels the playing field. And if we’re all operating on a level playing field, then yes, we can compete with anybody, we can compete with any and everybody on any level. So that’s why I think you start to see more not just prominence of, of Houston artists, but Houston artists on a major level, right? Because everybody can be a part of the experience. At the same time, people now have been educated to Houston’s street scene, Houston’s music scene, everybody knows what the car the candy painted cars are, you know, DJ Screw, they know all of that everybody has the cultural cues to it. And since we’re all operating on that same,even playing, let’s just see who’s got the best talent and who presents themselves in the best way. And you’d be hard pressed to find somebody to present that presents themselves live on stage in person better than someone like a Travis Scott, or a Megan Thee Stallion. Obviously, Travis has, you know, has a lot that he’s going through right now. But I don’t think anyone would ever say that Travis wasn’t one of the best performances out there, right? So if we’re given the same opportunities in the same platforms that everyone else has to present ourselves to the masses. Houston has just a chance, if not even more of a chance of being successful on a grand scale than everyone else, because we had to learn how to operate without mass media outlets, you know what I’m saying. So if we can build up a following based on that. Well, once we get access to the media outlets, it was game over at that point, right? So yeah, I look at a lot of the talent, you know, people like Maxo Kream on the edge, you know, people like Fat Tony, there’s a lot of great up and coming talent coming out of Houston Sauce Walka and Peso Peso, Trill Sammy, Dice SoHo, a lot of really good talent coming out of the city. And they’re all finding their fan bases through social media. So they’re the people that they are connecting with while it may not be a million people at one time. That 150,000-250,000 group that they’re connecting with, they’re building strong connections, they’re building connections that will last for years to come. And it’s important to do that. I tell artists all the time, you don’t need a million fans to make a million dollars. You know, that’s a big misconception that you need to sell a million things to someone to make a million dollars to a million people. No, it doesn’t have to be at all. If you’re consistent, 10,000 people spending money with you; 10,000 people spending 50 bucks with you, on a monthly basis will make you a millionaire in a year. So don’t be greedy. Just be consistent and patient.
Dan Runcie 37:59
Definitely. And I think to that, obviously, the internet helps democratize so much of this. But to your point, I think you’re still highlighting this, that medium still does make a difference for a lot of these artists, and especially in the hubs that they’re in. So I feel like it’s getting closer to that point where things are equalized. But unfortunately, there still is some benefit that the artist that is close to the New York or close to the LA would have. But I’m curious, especially as we’re thinking about whether it’s the metaverse or just future development in different areas. If that piece will continue to change, if the media, especially the hip hop entertainment media, will start to become even more democratized at that, from that perspective.
Bun B 38:44
I think we have an advantage because there’s always been this independent spirit, right? That if the powers that be won’t allow us to use their platforms that will create our own, right? And it’s that self sufficient mindset, right? Self sustaining mindset that would lend itself to this, right? It would lend itself to the point of content creation, right? We don’t sit around and wait to find out who can distribute our content the best, who can we partner with. No, we’re gonna figure out a way to create this content independently. And because of that, we are now the sole owners of the intellectual property, all of that term and all of that knowledge and application lends itself to the metaverse, right? Because you have your own small group of people, right? That has been supporting you outside of the major media system. So now you started discord with those people. And now all those people are communicating with each other in real time, constantly and consistently. You can find out exactly what it is that they all have in common in terms of their connection with you. And now, you can feed that beast properly. You can give it a better diet, because it’s more refined. You know exactly what it is that they’re coming for. It’s for sustenance, right? So you can take all of the filler out of the presentation and just give them exactly what it is that they need. You can’t ask for a better access from an artist perspective, right? This is exactly what you would want. People used to pay 10s of 1000s of dollars for people to have special interest groups come in and tell them what people are thinking. Now you can have a place where all of the people that support you like you,and listen to you and appreciate you coming together and talk about what it is they like, and maybe what it is they don’t like. So you can have a more fine tuned perception of what it is that people are supporting you for. We are in a perfect position, being from Houston, being self-sustained, being creators, content creators, and owners, right? To understand how to take full advantage of what the metaverse or Web 3.0 has to offer. That’s why, me personally, I want to make sure that I’m out here leading the charge, not just for the next generation, but for prior generations, there’s a place in space here for everybody. You know what I’m saying, and you don’t need to wait until people invite you. It’s wide open right now what make yourself at home.
Dan Runcie 41:01
Love that. Love that. That’s what it’s about making the opportunities. No, that’s amazing. That’s amazing. A couple of questions here before we, before we let you go. I want to chat with you about the restaurant business because I know that’s something that you’ve been deep in. I know you actually teamed up with my guy premium Pete as well on a few things in this space. And I know that you recently started Trill Burgers. It would be great to hear how that’s been going and what your vision is and outlook is for that.
Bun B 41:28
Well, anybody that knows me can look at me, you can tell that I like food, right? When I’m going to kid around with that I’m a big boy. And I like food. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten to appreciate the process more of cooking, but then also how restaurants work. I’ve made good relationships with a lot of people here in the restaurant and culinary world. And I’ve just been on the outside for so long. Like I’d love to have an entry point into this business, right? I’m not necessarily a chef, by trade or nature, my wife and I do a lot of cooking. We used to do a lot of cooking demos, and why not. But it was just about finding the right place, you know, the right place to enter and make it make sense. Good friends of mine owned a restaurant here in town, Sticky’s Chicken, Patty and Vince, brother and sister, you know, great business. And they were bought out by a Restaurant Group who wanted to partner with me on a concept as well. So between myself and team Sticky’s Chicken, the restaurant group that was approaching me, and a good friend of mine, Nick Schofield, who kind of helped bring everything together. They presented this burger concept, I had my own ideas of what it should be. We agreed on the inception. And the idea and the concept, presented it to the public. And it’s been going amazing ever since, you know, we’ve been able to present it at a lot of great places like ComplexCon, AstroWorld, and we’re set to do it at Coachella, pretty soon. So there’s just a lot of great opportunities that are coming from that. Once people saw that I wanted to be more active in the food space, different people started to reach out. So I’m currently working with Paul Qui, an award winning chef from Texas, on a soul food restaurant concept with my wife, Queen Sophie. So that’s going to be the next thing and looking at a lot of different local brands here that are doing amazing things with food, but can use maybe a little bit more energy and maybe a little bit more awareness to take them to the next level.
So I’m looking to partner with people as well, not just building an original concept, but seeing concepts that are really well thought out, really well fleshed out, have amazing food and again, could just use maybe a little energy or a little like: Hey, come over here and try this. So you know, I think in the next three to five years, man, I think there’s gonna be a lot of really, really good opportunities for me in that space. We’re already talking about how that translates into the metaverse and, and, and the idea of, you know, things happening in the real world as well as in a virtual world. So there’s a lot of great ideas that we have on the table. I don’t want to give everything away. But I think by the time we get to maybe NFT Denver, or NFT LA, will be presenting some of these new ideas from half of myself and the guys that I’m in business with. So, you know, the food industry is exciting for me to be a part of. But it’s not just about brick and mortars. And it’s not just about real world application. There’s also room for this to extend into the metaverse as well. And we’re all excited about that.
Dan Runcie 44:19
I was just gonna say when you started talking about this, I’m already seeing a headline soon enough. Trill Burger has bought real estate in the metaverse to open up shop.
Bun B 44:29
Hey, look, man, look, anything is possible nowadays. Like I said, this space is wide open. You know, there’s a lot of things that my partners and I think make sense for us as a new brand. Personally, for my brand. They’re encouraged to try it. I’m encouraged to support him in trying it. Again, it’s not typical. It’s not traditional, but I think maybe that’s a good thing. You know, I think there’s a lot of people looking for things that are outside of the box and outside of the norm, and I think we have some great progressive ideas that we could present to people that fall right in line with everything that everybody wants to be a part of the metaverse for.
Dan Runcie 45:03
Can’t wait. I feel like you know, I can already see the headline comments. So I’m excited to see it for sure. But no, for now, this would be the last question before we let you go. You were on the I’m an athlete podcast a couple pretty recently, us with Brandon Marshall and Perkins, a bunch of them. And you were talking about how Tom Brady is the Jay-Z of the NFL. And then you also mentioned that Aaron Rodgers is more like Naz. So who is that Bun B in the NFL? Who is Bun B?
Bun B 45:33
Wow, no. When we had that conversation, I was asked that, and I didn’t have a good answer. At the time. I haven’t thought about it. I’ve always been a fan of Frank Gore, the running back. Frank Gore is, I think, he’s 40 right now, still out there. One of the strongest, toughest guys in the game going up against the young bucks, you know, always does well enough, right? Like, he’s, he’s not going to be the top running back, you know, maybe not even in the top 20. But he always does the job. He comes, he gets the job done. And he’s a real leader in the locker room because he’s a veteran. And that’s why I want to be somebody that, look, if I show up, I’m going to do what I said, I’m going to do.You know what I’m saying. And I’m going to try to encourage other people and lead them in the right way because I’ve been playing this game, maybe longer than you guys are, and I can probably help you work smarter instead of working hard, you know. So I would say probably like a Frank Gore. But that’s just me because I really like his style of play.
Dan Runcie 46:29
That’s a good answer. And I think he’s actually up there and yardage. He might be in the top five for the NFL, for running back yards up there, right?
Bun B 46:37
Oh, Brandon, back on. I think he’s in the top 10. Yeah. 10. Yes. So he slowly and quietly right, very quietly, very quietly, put those numbers.
Dan Runcie 46:45
Yeah, if people want to think that, but I couldn’t see you getting in the ring with Deron Williams, though. I couldn’t have seen that happen.
Bun B 46:51
No, no, no, no, I’m not gonna play that. I’m talking about on the field, I would make a better decision off the field than that. I’m not playing those kinds of games. You got to know your weight class.
Dan Runcie 47:04
No, for sure. It’s funny when I was thinking about this for you, the Dave that came to mind for me was Randall Cunningham. Wow. And here’s why. Okay, because I think about someone like him and originator who, when he was, especially when he was doing his thing in Philly. I feel like that was just when people were starting to see, you know, the quarterback that could run in a quarterback that can throw and do his thing. And in many ways, that person paved the way for the Mahomes up today. And all of these guys that can do these things when the rules have changed a little bit. You know, there’s a whole bunch of more past coverage, a little bit kinder to quarterbacks in a way where someone like Rambo Cunningham could have had, you know. You know, who knows what Randall Cunningham could do in this era, but it wasn’t for Randall Cunningham doing what he did. He paved the way to make it possible for the young cats today.
Bun B 47:55
I like the correlation. I like that. I’m not mad at that. I’m not mad at that.
Dan Runcie 48:00
Now I hear that.
Bun B 48:01
Oh, come in. I’m with it.I’m with it.
Dan Runcie 48:03
Bun B 48:05
It’s good. You didn’t compare me to scrub?
Dan Runcie 48:08
For sure. For sure. Well, bond. This is fun. Man. I appreciate you for coming on. This was I mean, I think people are gonna get a lot out of this combo, for sure. And I know we talked in the beginning about everything you’ve got coming up. But what are some things coming up soon in the next couple months that you want to plug or let the trapital audience know about?
Bun B 48:26
Oh, on March 11th. March 11th is going to be a big day for me. I’m going to be performing in Houston at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. For people that aren’t from Houston, this is the 98 years. So it’s a big part of Houston culture and tradition. And I’m the first black man from Houston to headline this event. So we’re doing a big event there. I’m bringing out a lot of guys like Slim Thug, Paul Wall, Mike Jones and bringing out a lot of local guys because, you know, we’ve never been able to be a part of this on this level. And so I want to share this moment with other people who grew up in the city like me, and understand what it means to be able to be a black man from the city on that stage. You know, on that same day, I’m releasing a new album called MoTrill. It’s a collaboration with a producer from Houston named Corey Moe, one of Pimp C’s production protegees, and so we have a collaborative album together. The first single is out right now it’s called Hesitate is with me, Tobe Nwigwe, Talib Kweli and David Banner. It’s a more mature album, you know, like I’m acting my age, you know, I’m age appropriate. And I want to make music that people from my generation can listen to and enjoy and be lit on their own level. Because there’s a lot of things in modern music that people from my generation just can’t relate to. You know what I’m saying. I’ll maybe appreciate it on the level that it should be appreciated. So I want to make sure that I’m still making current new music for people who’ve been along with me on this 30 year journey, you know what I’m saying. I’m not gonna leave him here like this. We don’t keep going until we can’t. No, I love that. Right.
So March 11th Man, to be looking for a lot for me that day and a couple of different surprises, too. I got a lot of things coming up in this metaverse space, you know, a couple of collaborations now that I have a clear idea of what people would want for me. That was really a lot of what I was trying to do, was to figure out how would people want an NFT for me? What would you know, what, what would you want to see from me? What would make sense for me, right? And so I think we’ve got a really good idea of how to present ourselves in a space, make it easy, you know, make it not just a, you know, an NFT but also something that has something tangible physically attached to it, you know, make it a deeper experience for people. And we got some really good ideas. I’m partnering with a good friend of mine, and I think we’re gonna have something present to people. Hopefully by March that’ll be really fun and encouraging, we’ll extend throughout the year. Like it’s we’ve got some really cool stuff attached. So just keep your eyes open.
Keep following him on social media on Instagram @BunB on Twitter @BunBTrillOG. And on Facebook @RealBunBofUGK and stay posted we got to be: Oh, and we got the discord coming soon. So stay tuned to my Twitter. We will probably be putting all the discord information out through the Twitter page. So there’s I noticed that a lot of energy from metaverse and, and Web 3.0 takes place on Twitter. So we’re moving all that energy there so we can go straight to the people that are already engaged. But we’re excited for what the year has to be, you know, have this store and years to come.
Dan Runcie 48:53
We’ll keep an eye out for that man excited for you can’t wait, Bun thanks again, man.
Bun B 51:35
Dan Runcie 51:40
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