After chopping it up with Snoop Lion as part of Noisey’s Back & Forth interview, Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky has again appeared in the video series, this time with Texas rapper Bun B. The interview between the two emcees starts off with the A$AP Mob wordsmith questioning Bun B about the origins of the word, “trill.”
According to Bun B, the word first originated in prison and eventually made its way to his hometown of Port Arthur, Texas, following the release of a friend from prison. The UGK rapper went on to explain how the word eventually spread due to those in Port Arthur’s cordial ties with people in both North and South Houston.
“The trill shit started in the penitentiary, so the homie [Spoon] when he came home he started using the word,” said Bun B. “So, that word got associated with the Westside of P.A. [Port Arthur] with that scene. And then it just became something that niggas would hear their older brothers and shit saying and shit like that. And we ain’t even know. When I was in high school we were saying it, but we didn’t really understand it. We used to have a rivalry with the town next to us. P.A. used to get into it with Beaumont. So, that was our way of separating ourselves from Beaumont dudes…At the same time, the Northside of Houston and the Southside of Houston had beef, but because we wasn’t from Houston we could go to the South and the Northside and do our thing. And that’s how the terminology spread.”
Thanks to newer acts, which include A$AP Rocky and A$AP Mob, the use of the word “trill” and the music associated with the terminology have found a resurgence in Hip Hop. The LongLiveA$AP rapper even released a mixtape last year titled Trill.
Later in the interview, Bun B spoke on being able to relate to A$AP Rocky and his Harlem-based crew adopting screw music and the use of the word “trill,” but also informed viewers that there have been those he’s had to confront due to their use of the word.
“If you 18, 19-years-old and you in the projects of Harlem and all you listening to is screw and shit trying to tell them niggas up there that that’s the shit, that’s trill…When we used to listen to Leaders of the New School, Tribe Called Quest, niggas didn’t get it. Niggas didn’t get that shit,” said the Trill O.G. rapper. “Niggas was like, ‘Why is you listening to that shit? Turn on some Geto Boys.’ I’m like ‘My nigga, this ain’t the only shit that’s going on.’ I listened to other shit, so that when I got to niggas hoods I knew what was going on…Some people deserve the right to use that terminology, some people don’t. I’ve already said who I feel deserves to use it, but I haven’t really expressed about who shouldn’t. It’s been a couple of times where we’ve had to check people in the past.”
As one-half of Texas-based rap duo UGK, along with the late Chad “Pimp C” Butler, Bun B played an influential role in the spread of screw music outside of Texas. Other artists known to have used that particular style of music in their records include Memphis-based group Three 6 Mafia, 8Ball & MJG, and numerous others.