Real OGs are hard to come by nowadays. Luckily, there’s no one triller than the one and only Bun B.
The H-Town native has been at the forefront of music and fashion, which transcended into the city’s identity thanks to Trill OG and the late Pimp C.
Bun B continues to influence in more ways than one, thanks to his profound passion for sneakers. From his extensive collection, noteworthy connections, and involvement with the Sneaker Summit event and storefront, the 713 legend is a heavyweight in both the sneaker game and music industry.
Monster Energy rolled out its “Heat Check” series with Bun leading the charge. From his early days of rocking Air Jordan 1s and Starter jackets to his most coveted pairs, the Trillest gave us a look into his sneaker accolades.
We sat down (Zoomed) with Bun and discussed the episode, his current rotation, and much more. Be sure to find out what he had to stay below.
Keep it locked on Nice Kicks for more exclusive coverage on your favorite sneakerheads.
Bun B’s Sneaker Journey
Nice Kicks: The episode taps into sneaker culture and your specific journey. What’s the significance of the episode detailing your trajectory into the space?
Bun B: As a recording artist, I’m typically asked about music — the profession and what I’m known for. Those are the type of conversations that I have repeatedly when a new album comes out. You talk to all the publications, all of the DJs, all of the blogs, all of the different media outlets. It’s the same conversation over and over. Not that I don’t appreciate it and love it, but this is what I do when I’m not working.
This is my personal passion, hobby. It’s always fun to talk about that. It’s not something that I get asked about. It’s fun. There are certain things that I enjoy talking about and sneakers are one of them.
NK: Your Pro-Wings to Wings anecdote has been documented before, and you touched on it in the video. What was it like for you to get your first Air Jordan 1 at such a young age?
Bun B: I had to work for it. It wasn’t something that I would ask my mother for because I knew that she couldn’t afford it anyway. I had to figure out different ways to pay for it. I figured it out. I didn’t have to do anything illegal — maybe immoral — but not illegal. Once I got them, I couldn’t keep them at home either. I would leave early in the morning and go to my homie’s house. I had a Starter jacket too. I couldn’t have that at home either. I put on the jacket and the sneakers once a week. It wasn’t an everyday thing.
I was happy to have it, and I’m glad I worked for it. I told my mom about it later, and she laughed. I was very proud of getting it. They weren’t easy to get. Any shoe over $100 would be hard for me to afford at the time. It’s something that I wanted that I worked for. It set a precedent because when I eventually got into music, and it was time to get equipment, Pimp C and I had to do the same thing. We had to find these little odd jobs to make money to get music equipment to make music. If there were something I really wanted to do or something that I really wanted to have, I would have to work for it.
How the Trill OG Gets Sneakers
NK: Is it easier for you to get stuff now? What’s your relationship with brands and other artists?
Bun B: I’m amazed at this point that I’m still considered for seeding. I didn’t get anything from anyone for a really long time. It was Mike Bibby who introduced me to Reggie Saunders from Jordan Brand. That’s when that door opened up for me. Before that, I was not getting boxes on the porch. I was never a VIP or anything like that. I always treasured stuff when friends like Nicky Diamonds or Crooks and Castles guys would send me things.
To this day, I’m still surprised. I recently got a huge box from Sneakersnstuff. I knew they were sending out these friends and family packages for the adidas Forum High. I already received it from Derek Curry over at Sneaker Politics. But I saw SNS had one, so I knew I was going to get that from them. Then I saw it and the porch and said ‘yes’ to myself. My wife trips out because I’ll be coming home from errands, and I’ll have groceries and stuff. I’ll pull into the driveway, and I’ll see a box at the door. Forget anything at the moment, especially if it’s from Nike. I might buy some fleece warm-ups or shorts from Nike periodically. Every now and then, I’ll hit on SNKRS. Believe me, people, and don’t believe the hype, you can win on SNKRS. Don’t give up. If I can do it, you can too.
Every now and then, there’ll be a box on that porch with the “Just Do It” tape. I know I didn’t order or buy anything. I still get excited to this day. I appreciate being appreciated. They don’t have to send me anything. I’m not the most popular recording artist in the world. I still get adidas, Reebok, Puma, all the brands. Run-DMC’s management team sent me the 30-anniversary box of the Superstar. The fact that I’m on the list of considerations for these things is an honor in itself. I don’t take it lightly.
NK: Do you ever have to ask for favors? If there’s anything you ever need, do you have to make a phone call?
Bun B: It’s always awkward for me. Let’s say there’s a shoe coming out, and I really want it. I’ll hit Reggie, “can you get me a pair of these?” Reggie will send it. But if I leave it up to Reggie’s discretion, I get a better product. I stopped asking. If I ask for one thing, I’ll get that one thing. Reggie might be like, ‘well damn B, I was going to send you this and that, but if that’s what you want..’
The assumption is that if I don’t ask for these things that I might not want them. I’d rather have and not need than need and not have.
Bun B’s Recent Pick-Ups and Current Rotation
NK: Have you had any memorable quarantine pick-ups as of late? What’s in your current rotation?
Bun B: I’m an Air Jordan 3 guy. Usually, when people see me, I’m in a pair of 3s. That’s my daily shoe.
There’s been some really nice stuff lately. Like I said, I have friends. Joe Freshgoods sent me the 1-of-100 F&F Converse that he made. It’s a beautiful shoe. Reggie sent me the Trophy Room x Air Jordan 1.
Bun B: I was videotaping when I got them, and when I opened it, the pair didn’t have the blue laces. I posted it saying that there weren’t any blue laces in the box. Marcus jumped in and said, “yo OG, the laces only come from Trophy Room.”
He told me he was going to send me the blue laces. Whenever he stops rolling around in that yellow Lambo, hopefully, he sends me those laces.
What Sneaker Summit Means for Houston
NK: Sneaker Summit and what it symbolizes is important for not only the city of Houston but for relations and that nostalgic feel of sneaker culture was in its early days. What’s the importance of your relationship with the people down there?
Bun B: Everyone knows I’m tightly associated with the event and the store. They’re very good friends of mine. I’m one of the first attendees. It was more like meet-ups. I’m so proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish as a brand.
When they decided to open the storefront, I thought it was a no-brainer. The idea of a consignment store exists already. But it’s always about the people who are doing it for love. They’re the ones who usually win. Everyone who does it for a money grab doesn’t always play out for them as they would like. It has to start from a genuine love for sneakers.
When people come into the store, 9 times out of 10, people will not only pride themselves in the sneaker but give them a bit of knowledge about the shoe they’re interested in. ‘This shoe is a retro but originally came out in ‘85. It was brought back in ‘92 and ‘97.’ They walk you through it. It’s a beautiful thing to share that knowledge with people and see these kids’ eyes light up when there’s an actual story. Most don’t know that most of the shoes they see on the shelf tell a particular story.
The Evolution of Houston’s Fashion, Streetwear & Sneaker Scene
NK: Guys like PJ Tucker and Travis Scott have added to the Houston identity of sneakers and streetwear. The impact you as an individual had and that of UGK had on the Houston scene, how has the flavor in the city evolved?
Bun B: There are still people who dress in traditional ways. A t-shirt, jeans, and a pair of Jordans. The beauty of the world is open, and the internet makes everything accessible. Particularly in Houston, the fashion options were limited. Stores didn’t really stock these products. Everybody doesn’t go to The Galleria to shop. There are people on the southside who only go to Active Athlete. Now Active Athlete needs to care about giving their customers access to what everybody else is getting access to. They have to buy different, stock different and open up people’s possibilities from a fashion standpoint.
Nowadays, people have access to everything other people have. BBC to Pink Dolphin to even things like Polo and Lacoste. That’s still in the inner city. If people want Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, or any of that, we have those boutiques as well. If people look at Quavo, Travis Scott, or DaBaby, or even Lil Baby and see them in some fresh Dior-type drip, they have access to that and get that.
Houston, as an identity, is not singularly locked in any fashion or aesthetic. People are free to express themselves and now have the ability to pool access from anything. However they want their drip to look, they can do it.
Music’s Influence on the Sneaker Game
NK: The impact of music in sneakers can’t be forgotten. You’ve talked about the Run DMC Superstar and the De La Soul crew hooking you up with the Nike SB Dunk Low. Now people like Drake, J. Blavin, and Travis Scott have captured the recent intersection of sneakers and music. What’s it like seeing this current state both as an artist and a fan of sneakers?
Bun B: It’s about cultural impact. Fashion has always been a major component of hip-hop culture. We’ve always been the people who nudge you toward a certain fashion trend.
The fact that now, more than ever, the same people who appreciate hip-hop music now value every facet of it. It allows an opportunity for people to get to know their favorite musician on a personal level. They can connect outside of just the music. Let’s say every Travis Scott fan of his music appreciates his music. And if they have access to the shoe, they’ll buy the shoe. But for some of those real sneakerheads, they’ll look at what he’s wearing and have a connection and a conversation from that.
I encourage those conversations instead of ‘what’s it like being around Jay-Z’ or that kind of stuff. Whenever people ask me stuff like ‘how’d you get those Doernbecher 4s?’ or ‘how’d you get that’ or ‘I saw Drake sent you this and that.’ It piques my interest. Those are conversations I don’t get to have with people.
Guys like Wale, Li’l Yachty, and Offset show people another side of themselves. It gives them a different opportunity to connect with people who already support them. It gives the fans the idea that ‘wow, I know them. They have those on. You don’t know about all of that.’ They feel like they’re making a deeper connection with the artists themselves. It works both ways.
Bun B on Monster Energy’s ‘Heat Check’
NK: Monster is relaying the importance of that cultural impact you mentioned. What’s the value in you kicking off this series?
Bun B: I’ve been a partner with Monster for so long with my music. They’ve also been supporting Sneaker Summit in the same way they’ve been supporting Sneaker Summit in a very genuine way. It’s a great place for the people in the community to come together and commune. It’s a family-friendly event. It’s a great place for people to gather.
To see Monster being able to help out with that in a very early stage, I appreciate it. It goes back to my relationship with Monster. I wasn’t at the height of my music career when Monster got behind me and my connection with the community. Because they support the people I support and that they support me, I’m willing to support them. They support Bun B; they support Sneaker Summit. Let’s have Bun B at Sneaker Summit talking about the cultural significance of it. Everybody wins.
We all speak to the same people with passion and come with them with support. We amplify their voices. I’m glad to be in a partnership with a brand that’s willing to do that.
Bun B’s Post-Quarantine Sneaker
NK: What’s the sneaker you’re wearing at your first big event post-quarantine?
Bun B: I already wore my Trophy Rooms. I’m actually really excited about the Supreme x Nike SB Dunk Lows. The black ones will jump out there. The green, I don’t keep a lot of green. That one is a very specific green. That one will take some time to get the perfect outfit for it. Once I do, I have one shot on that green. I’ll save that one for something profound, a big moment. It’s going to break necks. I’m going for all four colorways.
Bun B’s Sneaker Travel Essentials
NK: What are a few pairs that are essential for you on the road whether on tours or at events?
Bun B: I tend to wear black with white and black with red. It makes it easy to match with shoes. I’m probably going to wear my Air Jordan 3 “Black Cement” on the flight or soundcheck or something like that.
I’ll probably bring some variation of a Bred colorway on a Jordan 1. It might be a “Banned” or a “Chicago,” or I’ll say fuck it and break necks with the OFF-WHITE x Air Jordan 1 “Chicago.”It’s probably one of those three. I tend to perform in the Air Jordan 1 the most. If my feet are bothering me, I’ll wear the 3.