Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Pimp C, 1973-2007

Pimp C, real name Chad Butler, who spun searing tales of Texas street life into a key role in the rise of Southern hip-hop, was found dead in an upscale hotel on Tuesday. He was 33.

The rapper formed Underground Kingz with partner-in-rhyme Bun B while the pair was in high school, and their often laconic delivery paired with wittily dangerous lyrics influenced a generation of current superstars like Lil’ Wayne. T.I. had the group on as guests when he remade their 1994 song “Front, Back and Side to Side” for his “King” album.

To a mainstream audience, Pimp C was best known for UGK’s cameo on the Jay-Z hit “Big Pimpin’,” and for “Free Pimp C” T-shirts and shout-outs, ubiquitous in rap several years ago while he was jailed on gun charges. On Tuesday, his MySpace page had been changed to read: “C the Pimp is FREE at last.”

Pimp C was found dead in a room at the Mondrian hotel, a longtime music industry hangout not far from the House of Blues on Sunset Strip, where he had performed on Saturday night alongside rap veteran Too $hort. Capt. Ed Winter of the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said Butler had apparently died while in bed in his hotel room.

“At this time there’s no signs of foul play,” Winter said. “It appears to be possibly natural, but pending autopsy and toxicology we can’t say the cause.”

Manager Rick Martin identified Butler and his death was announced by publicist Nancy Byron.

“This morning saw the loss of a man that was not only a client, but a very dear friend at a time when he had the most to live for,” Martin said in a statement. “He was my best friend and I will always love him.”

Butler, who grew up in Port Arthur, Texas, came from a musical lineage. His father was a professional trumpet player, and the rapper studied classical music in high school. He even received a Division I rating on a tenor solo at a University Interscholastic League choir competition.

“That’s how I came up listening to everything,” he told The Associated Press in a 2005 interview. “Music don’t have no color or no face. It’s a universal language. I think being exposed to all that kind of stuff influences the way I make records.”

Pimp C is survived by a wife and three children. –Associated Press

Today is indeed a very sad day for the world of hip-hop, as one of it's most prolific voices has been silenced, never to be heard from again.

Pimp has been my favorite hip-hop artist since I first heard him and Bun on DJ Screw's first album "Big Tyme Vol. 2: All Screwed Up" back in 1994. So for me, this is a particularly hard pill to swallow.

Pimp was hands down, one of the greatest southern rappers to ever rock the mic. He was an original pioneer of the genre and was/is one of the main reasons it's gotten as big as it has today. He was a trendsetter, a wordsmith, one hell of a producer and easily the realest rhymer that the industry has ever seen. If he spit it, he lived it. There was nothing fake about it.

He schooled us about drippin' candy, grippin' grain, fifth wheel and grill, and how to keep it trill. He was crass, matter-of-fact, brutally honest, and unapologetic; and we loved him for it.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Pimp's wife and kids, Bun B and the rest of the UGK fam.

So pour somethin' up, chunk ya dueces high and put one in the breeze for Sweet Jones. I'm sure he wouldn't have it any other way.

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