The music industry continues to face backlash from artists over its record deals, and Bun B made a surprising revelation about UGK. Despite complaints from chart-topping artists who warn of predatory contracts, every year, more and more dreamers sign their lives away, hoping to become the next big star. Recently, Bun B visited B High ATL and shared that UGK still owes money to their label.
“So, UGK was signed before, we were right there. But we took an advance on the last two albums, so we had to wait,” Bun expressed. “Because we took the advance in ’07, I think, we have to wait seven years after we hit that. There was a seven-year period when we took money after 2000. So, once we hit 2027, I believe our balance is clear.” He calls the whole cycle “balling in debt.”
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“UGK has never made one dollar in royalties from the selling of our music. And we didn’t have our own publishing for about 17 years.” The startling truth of Bun B and the late Pimp C’s legendary career is a sobering reality. While fans see their favorite artists flex cash, jewels, and cars on social media, many of them also harbor similar debts. Additionally, Bun B admitted that having a good team—especially an attorney—can help artists figure out who owes what to whom. These are lessons that the Rap mogul continues to learn all these years later.
“Because I think UGK is still at least $2 million in the red with that label,” Bun added about Sony. “It’s built on a percentage. This thing is never built on how much money your art makes. It’s about how much money you make of what your art makes. So, with us having a 15 percent deal, that 15 percent has never gotten close to paying back the debt. Whereas their 85 percent, they profit very easily.” He further explained, “If you sign from 10 percent and your album sell a million records, your 10 percent is 100,000, and theirs is [900,000].
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“They made your money back from you, but you still probably owe them money because you probably took an advance,” the rapper continued. Up-and-coming rappers are often enticed with advances that help them afford the finer things in life. Bun B warns against the temptation because, in the long run, that money needs to be paid back. “You shot videos, you had to record an album. So, you owe them 55, that’s on the low side.”