Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Q + A :: Bun B On Why He Registered To Vote

Bun B has been one of the strongest voices in hip-hop this election season. That comes as no surprise to headz who have been following his reality rhymes since the early 90s as a member of UGK.

But although Bun has had his mind in politics and thangs for a while, he admits he’s still a relative newcomer to the election process.

Vibe caught up with him this past August when he came to Denver to see Barack Obama’s nomination. He talked candidly about why he first registered to vote and why he only chose to vote lately.

(BTW our Politics page has all the state registration deadlines and links to register online. It’s still not too if you live in one of the 20 states left.)

In many ways, Bun’s interview sounds prophetic even now. Check what he had to say about O.J.

Who ya with in November?


Was it difficult to make the decision?

It wasn’t easy. Like any decision a person has to make, I did my research. Went to Google and typed in ‘Obama education’, ‘Obama energy’, ‘McCain oil’. You need a candidate that has an actual plan. People shouldn’t lose sight of that. And there’s gonna be a lot of elections—local, state, as well as national. So I hope that what I might be able to say helps get people involved in elections, period. Because it starts at the national level, people are really interested in the presidential race, but it filters down to the state level.

What are you trying to do this year?

My whole thing is I’m trying to help get not just youth, but folks who are disenfranchised from the system, get them back in the process. It’s not for me to send people a certain way. But just to get them into the process. It doesn’t stop with just voting. At the end of the day, we need to hold him accountable. Everything is just beginning in November, more so January. It’s not the end when you vote. It’s just the beginning.

Obama is not perfect—his ideology, what he’d like to do versus what he’s able to do are two different things. It’s not like, ‘Great! we got a Black president’ and it’s all good. We all got hyped about Kwame Kilpatrick. We need to hold Obama to a higher standard than most.

Had you voted or been involved with voting over the past few years?

We got involved with Vote or Die (Diddy’s Citizen Change campaign) eight years prior. People need direction and they follow me, so I understood my power as an artist: let me galvanize and get people into the process first. Then once they’re in the process, we’ll start at the national level, then we’ll break it down how the congressional thing works, then on down to state, down to the alderman, down to your precincts.

When did you begin to vote?

That’s a good question. In Texas, you get to register to vote when you renew your driver’s license. I was absent-minded in my early years—probably due to all the extracurricular activities I was involved in (laughs)—but you get your license, and it asks you do you want to donate to this or that or get registered.

I was registered independent. But I never voted. Being in Texas, though, once Bush became president we had an idea of what the mentality was that would go into a Bush government and we told people this is what yo can expect. When it happened, we were right, and now he’s one of the worse presidents we’ve ever had.

My family went off to war. My cousin is a marine and he was deployed to Afghanistan. So I was like, if my cousin dies over this shit, IT’S ON. I’ll use all my power to do this. Even if he makes it back alive, it should still be on. From the beginning it’s important to support the troops and then it’s important to bring them home, and I was like, if things don’t go your way, you have no reason to say you didn’t try.

What’s your biggest fear about this election?

That voters will get disenfranchised. Right now, there are so many people who are standing up and taking notice and they got people involved. You can’t have the perception that their vote won’t count. It’s not even about Obama-Biden losing the election. A lot of people are hanging their hopes on this election.

I really feel like there’s a silent majority. Like, the silent minority is disenfranchised, inner-city, possibly lower-class. Regardless, politicians will make decisions that won’t help them. But there’s also a silent majority—I feel like there’s a lot of people that it’s easy for them to say they’re voting for Barack Obama so they can come across as politically correct or socially progressive. But at the end of the day I don’t think they can bring themselves to vote for a Black president. Like I’m talking about the conversations you get to have sitting in the first class cabin. These are folks who if hillary didn’t get the nomination, they wouldn’t vote for the Democrats. I think the majority of Hillary’s constituency has issues with minorities. It’s not her fault, it’s just the reality of world she and I both live in.

What are the issues that you’re not hearing about that you want to have people talk about.

I really don’t hear a lot at all about the youth. I want to hear what they have to say about No Child Left Behind, the fact that a lot of after-school funding has disappeared. The only schools getting funding already have money, and a lot of the inner-city schools are closing.

And immigration. I’d love to hear more about immigration reform. They don’t want to go there now.

There are a lot of people who were feeling indifferent and now they’re energized and I’d hate to see that go to waste. We can’t be fair weather about this. We can’t let the hip-hop community catch the O.J. Syndrome.

What do you mean?

I mean that as a black man, I don’t want black people to support Barack Obama simply because he’s black. Know what he stands for. In the future, we could have a Latino president, or a president of another color, another heritage, another culture. There are kids right now getting involved in politics and I don’t want to see that go to waste.

For the latest on the 2008 election, check’s Politics page. Check Bun B and hundreds more on the elections in the November issue of Vibe, on newsstands soon!

posted by @ 2:14 pm | 1 Comment

One Response to “Q + A :: Bun B On Why He Registered To Vote”

  1. Jay says:

    Hi !
    I’m Géraldine Füllemann and I live in Switzerland. I’m working on the hip hop History for my work of Baccalauréat. I’ve read your book “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”, which is very good and interesting ! I just wanna know if you could give me information about things of that time. I don’t know which subjet I’ll take but it will be on Hip Hop History. Or could you talk to people you know, who could give me information for my work ? It will be very nice to you ! I let you my blog and my e-mail address :

    In waiting for your response, I send you my best greetings.

    Géraldine Füllemann

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