UGK, UGK 4 Life (Jive/Zomba)
The sixth studio album from the Texas veteran rap group UGK is a sometimes eerie, explicitly funky final installment from the Southern hip-hop heavyweight duo. The late Pimp C may have died in 2007 from a drug overdose but his heavy drawl is all over "UGK 4 Life." ''Back from the dead," he chillingly declares on the album opener; then later continues: "You ain't got to like it but you got to respect it."
His statement sums up the esteemed legacy that he and Bun B share. Their early '90s output set the stage for this decade's Southern rap boom. However, the pair was never really able to cash in on their breakthrough, song-stealing performance on Jay-Z's 2000 smash hit, "Big Pimpin'." Perhaps their street hustler raps were too raw for mainstream tastes.
On this effort, the group's graphic content hasn't abated one bit. They rhyme enthusiastically about getting high ("Swishas & Erb"), living large ("Everybody Wanna Ball"), big booty women and raunchy sex (the decidedly sophomoric "Hard As Hell" with Akon).
Packed with slick, wide-open grooves, the disc is a hugely entertaining listen despite the timeworn topics. And Bun B has no interest in apologizing for his straight talk. On the reflective "Da Game Been Good to Me," he states: "I say it how I feel and I do it how I like/ I write what I see, what I do and what I know and keep it 100 (percent) off top, from the door."
Can you really argue with that?