Not even a week after dropping his new collaboration with Statik Selektah, southern hip hop icon Bun B’s Houston residence was broken into and his wife, Queenie, was marched around at gunpoint. It culminated in gunfire exchanged between both Bun B and the intruder, who fled after being injured and was later apprehended. No physical harm came to Bun B nor Queenie, but had the recording session been scheduled for afterward, we would likely have a very different final product.

His action and quick thinking in that time of crisis do relate somewhat to the project, as TrillStatik is all about the here and now. Recorded in 11 hours and change (and live-streamed) with a fleet of collaborators, from veterans like Method Man and Talib Kweli to fresher faces like Meechy Darko and CJ Fly, and live-streamed to fans it exhibits mindfulness, but in a non-philosophical way. The bars aren’t all that deep, and at times, quite hacky, and they, along with Statik Selektah’s proficient but safe production, don’t have the vividness to take you anywhere but inside the studio. But that works to its advantage. It’s a half-hour of what happens when people stop worrying and start rapping.

To be fair, there are some dark themes present. Bun B’s coarse flow lets him sound somber and disgusted about circumstances. Songs examine how the pains of the past haunt the present and how we never know who we’re going to lose next. Both his UGK partner Pimp C and the recently-deceased Nipsey Hussle are memorialized multiple times. On a cheekier note, Fat Joe may lay claim to the first rap reference to the recent Notre Dame.

Mostly though, it’s an exhibition of flexes and a dissertation on keeping it real. On ‘Basquiat’, Smoke DZA vouches for staying independent, while on ‘Concrete’, Westside Gunn delivers one of the nastiest mic drops (“I heard your album and I hated it”) The verses are loose enough to sound like freestyles, and in the case of lines from the likes of Method Man (“Y'all stepped in some doo-doo/And the parent mistake, that's why your parents call you boo-boo”) or when Bun B mixes up RD-D2 and C-3PO, only to correct himself, you hope they were. Shows of personality are kept to a minimum, with moments like Termanology commenting on his Puerto Rican heritage jumping out. The emotions, both joyful and mournful, still come through. The heartfelt, penultimate track ‘Time Flies’ (featuring worthy contributions from Big K.R.I.T. and Talib Kweli) focuses on the thesis of not taking things for granted. It’s aided by being the second track to feature the sweet vocals of Ethiopian singer Haile Supreme.

If it seems like not enough attention has been paid to Bun B, it’s because he’s more of a “master of ceremonies” than an MC on this record. Rarely is he the first voice you hear on a track, even being second isn’t guaranteed. Sometimes, this works well, like when he cools things down after the heat of Lil Fame’s verse on ‘Money.’ Other times, his rhyming is flabby (“I tried to tell them but it didn't penetrate the cerebellum”) and his delivery isn’t inspired enough to bring a track home. He and his guests equip themselves well, but there’s a lack of coherency from one verse to the next, surprising given the shared studio time.

These sorts of critiques come not from holding an album that was recorded in less than a day to an unreasonably high standard but from holding Bun B to a reasonably high standard, based on his status. For all its flaws, TrillStatik is still a quality listen that shows Bun B isn’t done growing, neither as a person, nor a rapper. On closing track, ‘I Know,’ he confesses, “I take a moment for the moments I reflect on/Some I got right and some I got dead wrong”. He’s got his heart - and mind - in the right place.