Hustlers. Pimps. Gangsters.

Pimps

Pimp C Tragic Fall

Pimp C, government name Chad Butler, was found dead in a Hollywood Hotel yesterday. The UGK co-founder was known, among other things, for his brazenness. He came from the tradition of pimp-talk, often abused in hip-hop but remaining very real through his diatribes. His most recent outcry came at the expense of rappers unwilling to atone for their humiliating, impudent behavior (read: take that monkey sh*t off, you embarrassin’ us). The Undaground Kingz would not be the emblem of Southern slick talk without Pimp C’s portion of character. Bun B is (and always will be) known for his impeccable rhymes. Pimp C makes all that “Pimp My Ride” terminology ring true by exploding with a pimp’s candor on radio stations –drug-fueled or not. Not only that but Pimp C made equally slick beats, drenched in seventies soul to complete his contribution to the Cadillac-sparkling, cup-holding, mink-sporting motif.

Noz at XXL has a pertinent post with just some of the samples Pimp laced in his time as a beat doctor. One commenter notes:

“See a lot of people clowned on me for calling Pimp one of my favorite beaters, but he’s as much of a crate digger as Preemo or Pete Rock or any of them. And he has a memorable signature sound that hasn’t worn out over the years.”

What would hip-hop be…nay, what would post Civil Rights black culture be without the pimp figure? Far from just a character, Pimp C and others like him represent the real come-up. We’re not talking about packaged pimping or pimp juice, rather we mean the sharp-tongued unmistakable candor rarely afforded to society by other hidden pimps like politicians and presidents. The glory of someone who is a real pimp is that he tells you he’s pimpin’ and you can’t much refute his cause. Mr. Butler caught flack for railing at other rappers from his region when he was simply stating how they had fallen off in their pimping aspirations. For instance, the real elements of luxurious swagger borne out in music had become a garish display of colorful trinkets. The time spent in jail by one too many young men had turned into a badge of honor. Pimp C, having been in jail, having recognized what grown men/ex-cons actually think of jail, balked at it being celebrated. Yet again, the fantastic performative part of hip-hop (P.I.M.P. by 50 Cent) came into direct conflict with the real pimps, the ones who understood that “pimping” still had a literal definition steeped in notions of male pride and conquest. So even though Pimp C came off sounding like a hater in his protracted rants, he was more like a truth-teller in a realm of storytellers. Or, he was an adult learning to navigate in a world of boys. Whether or not Pimp C was troubled, drug-addled etc. is for psychoanalysts and biographers to figure out, but surely he was no liar. There’s something to be said for — in the silly serenade of fake shooters — someone who shoots from the hip with his commentary. But he is gone now. Hopefully his legacy will be enshrined not just among players but cult icons as well.

Other Pimp C eulogies (damn…too many of these already)

Smoking Section’s Gotty reflects

FatLace Magazine audio tribute

AllHipHop video tribute

SOHH with testimonials from friends and admirers

Hustlers

Pusha T of the Clipse has replied to Lil Wayne’s comments in Complex Magazine about wearing Bathing Ape (BAPE? whatever) first. Sad that some of the game’s remaining talented acts want to sort it out over garments. It’s important to be an originator but this is absurd. Both the Clipse and Lil Wayne have been showered with critical praise. Malice and Pusha T impress me less than Kool G Rap or Schooly D with their coke rap. But their crime-ridden stories are onyx black and their deadpan flow kills. Some part of me thinks this is huge advertising ploy for Clipse’s new clothing line Play Cloths.

Weezy is the Publicity Man Jr. right now with a magazine interview or cover popping up every two days or so. The interweb is going crazy with overexposure of the overexposure. This is what happens when hustlers square off though. Wayne’s on 1000 songs and running. The Clipse have a million mixtapes and counting. The territorial aspect is amazing in this turf war Weezy’s waging. One wouldn’t think every word he spoke would pose a threat to his peers. Then again, Jay-Z put him on the album and Little Brother did too, adding to the growing sentiment that ‘if you can’t beat him, join him’. The Clipse are confident they can beat him.

This will probably play out like most beefs do. The two parties will trade harmless threat songs and then end up on each other’s albums in two years rocking colorful clown cloths TOGETHER! Which brings us to…

Gangsters

Or thugs. Or hoodlums. This video is tough as nails. This video is tough as my great aunt’s toenails after picking homegrown crops in a Jamaican yard (yaaahhd) barefoot for seven hours. Styles P the Ghost and Beanie Sigel Desert Eagle could make a better gangsta rap album than Clipse and Pusha T. I’m saying it right here. They look like they could be brothers here, not physically but in all the ways that matter. Rik Cordero is the master of street videos.

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