Pimp C Biography
Theres a few names in rap that will live on in perpetuity as ones who took the game to whole new levels. From Grandmaster Flash to DMC and Run to KRS to the Geto Boys, all of these people brought a new flavor to hip-hop, expanded the genre and took it to new levels. Unfortunately, in the history books, a lot of pioneers from outside New York and Los Angeles get overlooked. But go down south and ask any rapper who his or her biggest influence is, and almost everyone you ask will say UGK. And the man who has been at the helm of that seminal rap group for 15 years is Pimp C.
UGK's influence extends beyond rap music in the south. When UGK came out and the world heard Pimp C's distinct southern drawl he opened doors for the many, many rappers from the south that would follow him. He made it o.k. to be southern and in the rap game. He made it o.k. to have a country twang to your voice. He made it o.k. to write songs about the realities of life down south, in small towns, away from the glitz and glamour of New York and Los Angeles.
Pimp C has held an entire movement on his shoulders since the first time his first single - the instant down south hit "Tell Me Something Good" - hit the airwaves in 1992.
Born Chad Butler in the mid-70's in the small town of Port Arthur, Texas, Pimp C lived through the good and the bad. As the crack era of the 1980's kicked into full swing, he saw his sleepy little town transformed from a quiet burgh on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico into a crazy, drug addled ghetto rife with despair. He saw his people come up, and he saw them fall down. He himself got mixed up in some of it, but soon discovered that music would be his ultimate calling.
Pimp C, and his partner Bun B., may be southern rap legends, but before that they were (and still are) hip-hop aficionados. Pimp's first group, a duo he formed while he was still in high school in the late 80's was called Mission Impossible. Their story was typical of many high school rap acts in that one guy - Pimp - was very serious about the music and the other, wasn't. Across town, Bun B and a partner of his had started a group as well. After a while both groups joined forces as 4 Black Ministers, but as it became clear as to who was serious and who was not, Bun B. and Pimp C. broke off and formed the Underground Kings.
Their first tape, The Southern Way contained the monster hit, "Tell Me Something Good," that borrowed heavily from the Rufus and Chaka Khan hit of the same name. That single, released by Russell Washington's Big Tyme Records - a label and also a record shop in Houston's King's Flea Market - was first heard on a Houston radio contest called Houston Home Jams. Over the course of two weeks, the song dominated the contest, but UGK was disqualified when their label began pressing up the single and selling it.
That was only a minor set back, soon after, the group signed to Jive Records.
Upon signing to Jive it looked as though UGK were about to run the rap game. But at the time, as much as the major labels wanted to cash in on the potential of rap music coming from the south, they really didn't understand anything that was coming from the south. They merely saw dollars.
UGK released a slew of successful albums under the Jive imprint - Too Hard to Swallow, Super Tight, Ridin' Dirty and Dirty Money. All of which were street classics that either approached or surpassed the gold mark.
Outside of UGK, Pimp C is known as one of the most groundbreaking producers in the business. He has worked with everyone from Master P and C-Murder to 3-6 Mafia, David Banner and Big Mike. His influence can be heard on pretty much every hip-hop release from the south to date.
Unfortunately he is also known for his recent stint in the Texas State Prison, one that kept him away from the music for four whole years. With that stigma attached to his name, Pimp C has to come with something extremely ground breaking to take peoples attention off his time in jail and back onto his music.
His new album, to be released on Rap-A-Lot Records, The Pimpalation (Return of the Trill) showcases Pimp C at his best. The intro, "The Pimp is Free" sees J. Prince, CEO of Rap-A-Lot Records, setting the disc off in classic Rap-A-Lot form. He tells a bit about this Underground King and lets the people know that they need to hear the stories about to be kicked by this veteran who has seen it all. "He's out the slave masters system, and about to make a whole lot of money." Prince declares as the album launches into the first official single, "Free." "Free" is a classic rap track that borrows from the Tom Petty classic "Free Fallin'." Produced by another old school legend, Clay D., you hear deft scratching throughout while Pimp reflects on his four years in the pen.
"They locked my body up, but my mind never stopped." Pimp C declares as he unleashes the words he's been dying to spit since the day he first got locked up.
"Rock for Rock" features Geto Boy's Scarface and Willie D and shows that these veterans pack more lyrical fire than many of the industry young bucks. "The Honey features Jazze Pha, Jody Breeze and the long awaited return of Tela. On "I Don't Fuck With You" Pimp C pulls out a couple of his artists from UGK Records, E. Vicious and Smoke D. On the "Like That" (Remix) Pimp C pairs up with his partners Boosie and Webbie to remake one of last years biggest hits. On this, Pimp proclaims that he's "Still tryin' to put some dick in Vanity 6, Apollonia too."
Pimp also resurrects a classic, when he joins Big Mike on a 2006 version of "Havin' Thangs." This is the only Pimp C production on the disc. Other producers include Mike Dean, Myke Diesel, Cory Mo, Mannie Fresh and Salih Williams.
From start to finish, the Pimpalation is a straight banger, created by one of hip-hop's most important voices. The Pimp is now free, and the game's about to change.
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