Slabs on the dirt: Bun B makes history at RodeoHouston

HOUSTON – Houston resident and Port Arthur native, Bun B of legendary rap duo UGK, brought hip-hop to the the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in a way no one has ever seen before.

Bun B made history on Black Heritage Day as the first African American male Houstonian to ever headline RodeoHouston and, from what we saw, it will be a tough act to follow.

“I came out because it’s history. I want to be part of this historic event,” concertgoer Robert Dyer said.

Bun B, whose real name is Bernard Freeman, did not keep the glory to himself, but rather shared the spotlight by giving other Houston heavyweights the opportunity to perform in front of a crowd of more than 73,000, which for some, was maybe the biggest audiences of their careers.

The H-Town Takeover star-studded lineup included cameos from Geto Boys rap legend Willie D, Destiny’s Child original member LeToya Luckett, Paul Wall, Slim Thug, Z Ro, Devin the Dude, H-Town, Baby Bash, Frankie J, Chamillionaire, Tobe Nwigwe and That Girl Lay Lay.

“Oh man, it’s everybody. It’s the combination of everybody coming together, that’s what I want to see,” said Justin Gonzalez, another concertgoer.

One of the biggest crowd pleasers was performances from ”Screwed Up Click” members Lil Keke, Big Pokey, Lil’ Flip and Mr “Swangin’ and Bangin’ himself, ESG.

And speaking of “swanging and banging,” the performers traded in horses for “slabs” with “swangers” as candy-painted custom cars were driven around the arena.

Special homage was paid to dearly-departed Houston legends, Screwed Up Click founder “DJ Screw, Pimp C of UGK, Fat Pat, Big Hawk, and Big Mello.

“This is the greatest city in the world,” Bun said during his closing performance of megahit “Int’l Players Anthem/ I Choose You,” as the crowd sang along. “I couldn’t be prouder tonight reppin’ for this great city, reppin for this great state.”

He thanked his fellow performers during embraces.

A special announcement was made by Rap-A-Lot founder and CEO J. Prince, who acknowledged the sheer magnitude of how, in his words, “Houston showed up and showed out,” and the message it sent to everyone.

Hip-hop is never going to die, and the city of Houston is dripping with talent.

In addition to the concert, lessons in Black History were on display throughout NRG Stadium with educational booths.

“A lot of people don’t understand where our heritage comes from,” an attendee said. “I don’t think we should have Black Heritage just for one day. I think it should just continue.”

About the Author:

Mother of two. Award-winning lover of digital storytelling, sparked by my fascination of being a fashionable gossip like my favorite "Willona Woods" character from "Good Times." On the serious side, president of the Houston Association of Black Journalists and dedicated community servant. Happy to share the news with you each and every day!