PORT ARTHUR —
Bernard “Bun B” Freeman makes it a habit to come back to Port Arthur to see his mother, but he said coming back Sunday to be inducted into the Museum of the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame was different.
“Who would’ve thunk?” Freeman said as he accepted his certificate of induction.
The other half of the hip-hop/rap duo, Chad “Pimp C” Butler, died in December 2007 at the age of 33. His death was ruled an accident caused by sleep apnea aggravated by the use of prescription cough medicine. More than 2,000 people attended his funeral at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center.
But Sunday was about remembering UGK’s accomplishments and honoring those memories as the Port Arthur Historical Society inducted the rap duo, Underground Kingz, into the Museum of the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame. The induction came almost five years to the date after Butler’s death.
“Chad and I walked the same streets as everybody else,” Freeman said. “We had no more advantage than anybody else.”
But being from Port Arthur was an advantage in itself, he said. The streets and school days that shaped them in Southeast Texas propelled the hip-hop duo to find a way to achieve what they had dreamed. Freeman advised anyone else aspiring to fulfill what may seem like a lofty dream not to give up or give in to intimidation.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that just because you’re from a small town that you can’t make it,” he said.
Obviously, Butler and Freeman did not let anyone tell them that they could not make it, and Sunday was a testament to that. Chad Butler’s mother, Weslyn “Mama Wes” Butler, and his sons, Chad Butler Jr. and Corey Butler, accepted the hall of fame honor on his behalf.
“Even though he’s not with us here physically today, Bun and I know he’s here with us spiritually,” Weslyn “Mama Wes” Butler said.
Sam Monroe, president of the Port Arthur Historical Society and Lamar State College-Port Arthur, explained to the crowded room how UGK met all of the criteria necessary to be inducted into the Music Hall of Fame.
The individual or group must have roots in Southeast Texas or Southwest Louisiana and achieved success on a national scale. The artist or group must have received public recognition and created a body of work.
“To meet that criteria as Bun B and Pimp C and UGK did, then you’re in the museum’s hall of fame,” Monroe said. “We’re happy to welcome them here today.”
Check out tomorrow's edition of the Port Arthur News for the full story.