Pimp C: Rapper with UGK


Chad Butler (Pimp C), rapper: born Port Arthur, Texas 29 December 1973; married (three children); died Los Angeles 4 December 2007.

Pimp C was one of the most successful rappers to emerge from the southern United States in recent years. Rap originated on the East Coast in the late Seventies, but over the past 15 years some of the genre's most vibrant acts have come from the south.

Pimp C (real name Chad Butler) and Bernard "Bun B" Freeman, who made up the rap duo UGK (Underground Kingz), came from Houston, Texas. They made a guest appearance on Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin' ", a UK hit in 2000, and had a recent hit of their own with "International Player's Anthem (I Choose You)", featuring OutKast. Based on a sample from the Motown artist Willie Hutch's "I Choose You", the track was nominated for a Grammy two days after Pimp C's death. It also helped UGK's latest album, UGK (Underground Kingz), which features Dizzee Rascal, dbut at number one in the US earlier this year.

However, attempts to establish any kind of international profile for the duo were hampered by Pimp C's stint in prison between 2002 and 2005. He had been arrested for brandishing a gun in a shopping mall and was ordered to undertake community service, but violated the terms of his parole. When he was eventually released, the rapper celebrated by recording "Free", using a sample from Tom Petty's 1989 soft-rock hit "Free Fallin' ". The single featured on his 2006 solo album Pimpalation.

Chad Butler was born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1973. His father played the trumpet in Solomon Burke's band, and he grew up listening to Motown and Stax artists as well as emerging rap acts such as Run DMC. He also showed an interest in classical music, jazz and blues. "That's how I came up, listening to everything," he said. "Music don't have no colour or no face." He met Freeman in high school and the duo signed to Jive Records in 1992.

Pimp C had recently travelled to California to work on his next solo release and performed with his fellow rapper Too $hort at the House of Blues in Hollywood a few days before he died.

Pierre Perrone

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