UGK (short for Underground Kingz) was an American hip hop duo from Port Arthur, Texas formed in 1987 by the late Chad "Pimp C" Butler . He then joined with Bernard "Bun B" Freeman, who became his longtime partner.
In 1992, UGK was signed to Jive Records under a five-album contract, releasing their major-label debut album “Too Hard to Swallow.” Five songs would surface two months before the release of “Too Hard to Swallow,” on an EP distributed by Bigtyme Recordz titled “Banned.” A popular song from the album "Pocket Full of Stones" was also included on the “Menace II Society” soundtrack in 1993.
Their second album, “Super Tight,” was released two years later, on August 30, 1994. Unlike their previous album, “Super Tight” managed to break into the Billboard Hot 200 and ultimately peaked at #95.
Ttheir third album, “Ridin' Dirty, “peaked at #15. “Ridin' Dirty” would also be UGK's last album prior to going on a five-year hiatus.
The year 2000 became a breakthrough year for the group. UGK made a high-profile guest appearance on Jay-Z's smash hit "Big Pimpin'" and also appeared on Three 6 Mafia's hit "Sippin' on Some Syrup". Their fourth album, “Dirty Money,” was released in 2001 on Jive Records.
Rap-A-Lot Records released Pimp C's solo debut, “Sweet James Jones Stories,” on March 1, 2005. Bun B later released his own solo foray, “Trill,” on October 18, 2005. It opened at #6 on the Billboard Hot 200, and also peaked at #1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-hop Album chart.
On August 7, 2007 the group released their fifth studio album, the self-titled “Underground Kingz.” It was a double album, containing 26 tracks and spanning two discs. Featured guests included Talib Kweli, Too Short, Rick Ross, Z-RO, Three 6 Mafia, Slim Thug, OutKast, as well as hip-hop legends Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane on a Marley Marl-produced track titled "Next Up". The album also featured British rapper Dizzee Rascal on the track "Two Types of Bitches", following UGK's guest appearance in Rascal's own album “Maths + English” for the track "Where's Da G's". The album featured production by DJ Paul & Juicy J, Jazze Pha, Swizz Beatz, The Runners, Lil' Jon, fellow Texas legend Scarface, and Pimp C. DJ Paul and Juicy J produced the second single, "International Player's Anthem (I Choose You)". They had used a similar beat on Project Pat's album titled “Layin' Da Smack Down” in 2002.
The album reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 album charts. "International Player's Anthem (I Choose You)" became the group's only single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 pop charts, where it peaked at #70.