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Chad Butler (December 29, 1973 – December 4, 2007), better known by his stage name Pimp C, was an American rapper and producer. He was one half of the influential hip-hop group UGK.
Chad Lemon Butler was born in Port Arthur, Texas. There he met his friend, who would later become Bun B and together they formed the Houston-based hip-hop group UGK. They rapped underground until they both made a deal with Bigtyme Records. Pimp worked hard on the first UGK project, The Southern Way, which was available in 1988 and on cassette only.
It wasn’t until 1992 that UGK really broke through into the hip-hop world. Jive Records signed them and they released Too Hard to Swallow. Pimp worked hard with Bun B for a while, until going on a hiatus in 1996, where the group would not work. In this time, Pimp was aware that UGK’s fans were slowly slipping.
Pimp C contributed to several tracks, until UGK came back on top by guest starring in tracks, such as “Big Pimpin’” and “Sippin’” on Some Syrup. Pimp C and Bun B came back with Dirty Money in 2001, but the album failed both critically and financially.
As Dirty Money was going through problems, Pimp was faced with even more problems. Pimp C was incarcerated for an aggravated gun assault charge in 2002. People cheered the catch phrase “Free Pimp C.” During this time, Bun B lived on the UGK name. Jive Records was forced to release a greatest hits for UGK and Bun B was forced to go solo, as Pimp C was locked up.
Butler formed the rap group Underground Kingz (colloquially known as UGK) with best friend Bernard “Bun B” Freeman. In 1987, Jive Records signed UGK and released Too Hard to Swallow, followed by the critically acclaimed Super Tight. The group’s third album, Ridin’ Dirty, reached #2 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and their momentum was continued with features on the popular singles “Big Pimpin’” with Jay-Z and “Sippin’ On Some Syrup” by Three 6 Mafia. UGK’s fourth album, Dirty Money, was distributed in 2001.
Due to Butler’s incarceration in 2002, UGK would not release another studio album until 2007’s Underground Kingz, which included the hit “International Player’s Anthem (I Choose You),” featuring Outkast.
Arrest and solo debut
In January 2002, Pimp C was sentenced to eight years in prison for violating his probation stemming from an earlier aggravated assault charge. His arrest was widely protested by the hip-hop community, who immediately initiated a grassroots “Free Pimp C” campaign. While Pimp C was in prison, Rap-A-Lot Records released Sweet James Jones Stories in 2005, most of which consisted of unreleased freestyle recordings.
Pimp C spent the later portion of his sentence at the Terrell Unit in Brazoria County, Texas and was transferred to the Huntsville Unit a week prior to his release. On December 30, 2005, Pimp C was released from prison and placed on parole until December 2007.
On July 11, 2006 Pimp C released his debut solo album, Pimpalation.
Death & Tributes
Pimp C was found dead in his hotel room in Los Angeles on December 4, 2007. According to the Los Angeles County Coroner, Butler suffered respiratory depression due to an overdose of promethazine and codeine coupled with a pre-existing sleep apnea condition. Like many other Southern rappers, Pimp C frequently referenced the recreational consumption of “syrup” in his music.
The funeral was held at the Bob Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur, Texas on December 13, 2007. Port Arthur mayor Deloris Prince, Pimp C’s mother Weslyn Monroe, and fellow UGK member Bun B were among the speakers at the service, and the eulogy was delivered by pastor Dr. John R. Randolph. Attendees included many fellow luminaries of the Houston rap scene: Slim Thug, Chamillionaire, Mike Jones, Willie D, Big Gipp, and Webbie.
Macklemore’s song “The Otherside” mentions Pimp C’s death. Bun B continues to pay tribute to Pimp C through his music, including the tracks “You’re Everything,” a collaboration with Rick Ross, David Banner, and 8Ball and MJG, and “Pop It 4 Pimp,” which was produced by Mouse and featured Juvenile and Webbie off of Bun B’s 2008 album, II Trill. Bun B released the final UGK album, UGK 4 Life, in 2009. UGK 4 Life had been recorded, for the most part, in the time frame between their previous album and the passing of Pimp C.
Sweet James Jones Stories
Sweet James Jones Stories is the solo debut album by Pimp C. Released on Rap-A-Lot Records. Producers include N.O. Joe, Leroy Williams, Wendell Springer, & Mike Dean. Recording for the album took place at Dean's List House of Hits located in Houston, Texas.
Pimpalation is the second solo album by Pimp C released on July 11, 2006. "I'm Free," featuring a sample of Free Fallin' by Tom Petty, is the first single from the album. Rolling Stone voted the single one of the year's best, placing it at #80 on its Top 100 list. Additional singles "Knockin' Doorz Down" and "Pourin' Up" also saw release.
The Naked Soul of Sweet Jones
The Naked Soul of Sweet Jones is the posthumous third studio album by American rapper Pimp C. The album was released on October 5, 2010 and supposedly was his final album. It sold 18,000 units in its first week.
Still Pimping is the posthumous fourth studio album by Pimp C. it was released on July 12, 2011. This posthumous album includes guest appearances from Slim Thug, Big K.R.I.T., Too Short, Paul Wall, Lil' KeKe, DJ B-Do, Smoke D, Brooke Valentine, Cory Mo, Hezeleo & Bun B. The Album sold 6,500 copies its first week. and 3,400 Copies its second week.
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