Dreaming about musical collaborations that never happened can be a fun and interesting exercise, but when both of the main artists involved in the presumptive meeting of the minds happen to be dead, it typically remains just that; a dream. Producer Amerigo Gazaway, however doesn’t seem content to live in the world of unrealized fantasy and under the banner of his ongoing Soul Mates Project has created a number of different mashup records imagining “collaborations that never were.” His latest offering is a recreation of a session between the iconic bluesman B.B. King and the rap duo from Port Arthur, Texas UGK titled The Trill Is Gone.
According to the album’s description, “Gazaway re-imagined what might have happened had King and UGK actually recorded in the same time and space.” In reality, King’s death earlier this year, along with Pimp C’s sad and unexpected end in 2007 renders such a project an interesting “What if?” but Gazway has managed to assemble a dead-on representation of what such a session might have actually sounded like. Taking things one-step further, the producer even drops in sound bites of King speaking from the documentary Life Of Riley to go along with unreleased audio of interviews with UGK historian Sama’an Ashrawi to build up a larger narrative throughout the record.
The Trill Is Gone stands as an impressive marriage between a vast array of samples from King’s voluminous back catalog and the Underground Kings signature southern-fried rap to create something wholly unique and genuinely interesting. Right from the top, Gazaway takes King’s signature song “The Thrill Is Gone” slows it down to a crawl and combines it with the flows from the UGK track “One Day” from its 1996 album Ridin’ Dirty to create the record’s title track. You wouldn’t go so far as to say that the finished product is better than the sum of its parts, but it’s impressive how well King’s soulful signature blues sound melds with UGK’s innovative Texas rap.
The entire album is free to download on Bandcamp.