On Friday, March 3 night, Houston icon Bun B returned to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo with a bunch of hip-hop/R&B artists, successfully packing NRG Stadium with people who were ready to take that trip down memory lane.
Bun first hit the stage for this year's Southern Takeover, dropping a couple of sanitized bangers from his days in UGK (Underground Kingz) with the late Pimp C, with a full band behind him. He rocked a black, fringe leather fit, complete with a poncho bearing the UGK logo and a cowboy hat bearing the Monster Energy Drink logo.
Then came the cavalcade of stars. Last year, he stuck to Houston artists: Paul Wall, Slim Thug, several Lils. This year, he opened up the lineup to artists from other Southern states. First up was Tennessee, as he brought out Tela, producer/performer Jazze Pha and duo 8Ball & MJG – all Memphis boys – to do a few numbers.
The crowd got more turnt when Bun introduced Mississippi MCs David Banner, as he and Houston MC Lil’ Flip performed their rambunctious collabo “Like A Pimp,” and Big K.R.I.T., who teamed up with Bun to do a cleaned-up version of their “Country Sh*t” remix.
The stadium rafters truly started rattling when welcoming talent from Louisiana. Lafayette singer Cupid had people line-dancing in the aisles when he sang his hit “Cupid Shuffle.” That was just an appetizer for the main course, which came in the form of Cash Money Millionaires Juvenile and Mannie Fresh.
After Fresh gave the crowd a few bars of that Big Tymers fave “Get Your Roll On,” Juvenile followed with two crowd-pleasers you just knew he was gonna do: “Rodeo” and the one-and-only “Back That Thang Up.” Bun came up unfortunately short with Georgia, a state rich with hip-hop talent.
He got Atlanta-bred Trinidad James, who wore a red, Roy Rogers-style cowboy outfit and did an adequate rendition of his hit “All Gold Everything.” (Houston radio personality HardBodyKiotti did briefly come out to help Bun led the audience in swag-surfing as they performed “Swag Surfin” from Stone Mountain’s Fast Life Yungstaz.)
As for Texas, it wasn’t as bountiful as the myriad Houston legends he rounded up last year, but there were still some memorable moments. A guitar-wielding Scarface did a couple of songs; one of them served as background music for an “In Memoriam” montage of all the local/national rap stars we’ve lost throughout the years.
Screwed Up Click alumni YungStar performed as a trio of slabs – carrying such Houston rap vets as Slim Thug, Killa Kyleon and the Botany Boyz – did a brief promenade on the stadium floor. (One of them was also covered with the logo from Bun’s Trill Burgers business.)
But the final guest was a real surprise. After telling the Houston audience he loved them, Bun showed them how much by bringing out Dallas neo-R&B queen Erykah Badu. Wearing a large coat and an even larger silver hat, Badu stalked the stage and occasionally flashed her grill to the cameras as she performed “On and On” and “Tyrone.”
The latter ended with Badu giving quite the dramatic, high-pitched finale. The show came to a close with everybody coming back onstage to join Bun in performing another UGK classic “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You).”
“We put 75,000 people in here tonight,” Bun told the audience, before all the performers hopped on the back of trucks and rode off the stadium floor. (The show announcer later declared that it was 74,573 audience members— that's more than last year's H-Town Takeover.)
Houston's OG gave an entertaining, family-friendly show that took people back to a simpler time, when people mostly used their computers to burn mix CDs.
“Wood Wheel,” Bun B
“Pocket Full of Stones” Bun B
“Get Throwed,” Bun B
“Tired of Ballin’,” Tela, Jazze Pha
“Girls in the Club,” Tela, Jazze Pha, 8Ball & MJG
“Space Age Pimpin’,” 8Ball & MJG
“Like A Pimp,” David Banner, Lil’ Flip
“Country Sh*t (Remix),” Big K.R.I.T., Bun B
“All Gold Everything,” Trinidad James
“Swag Surfin,” Kiotti Brown, Bun B
“Cupid Shuffle,” Cupid
“Get Your Roll On,” Mannie Fresh
“Back That Thang Up,” Juvenile
“I Look Good,” Chali Boy
“Knocking Pictures Off the Wall,” YungStar
“Wanna Be a Baller,” YungStar
“Havin’ Thangs,” Big Mike
“Mary Jane,” Scarface
“Big Pimpin,” Bun B
“On and On,” Erykah Badu
“Tyrone,” Erykah Badu
“Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You),” Everybody