With partner Bun B, rapper Pimp C (born Chad Butler) formed UGK and helped put hardcore Houston, Texas hip-hop in the spotlight, but he's also known for being at the center of a street-level campaign that sold nearly as many T-shirts as the "Yayo's Home" and "Frankie Says Relax" phenomena. UGK's rise began in 1988, and with a slow-and-steady series of albums and guest appearances, they became one of the most respected crews from Texas.
This all came to a halt in January 2002 when the rapper was sentenced to eight years in prison after violating probation by ignoring the community service sentence he had received from an earlier aggravated gun assault charge. Bun B carried on and spread the "Free Pimp C" message wherever he could. (The campaign spawned thousands of unlicensed "Free Pimp C" T-shirts.) In early 2005, while he was still on lockdown, Pimp C's solo debut, Sweet James Jones Stories, appeared, and it didn't take fans long to figure out that even if the beats were new, at least a quarter of the album was put together from previously released vocal tracks. At the end of the year, right before he reached the halfway mark of his sentence, Pimp C was released.
Fans got their true Pimp C solo album when Pimpalation appeared in the summer of 2006. Tragically, in December of 2007, Pimp C was found dead in his hotel room in West Hollywood from an accidental overdose of promethazine and codeine (the common ingredients of "purple drank"). An album he was working on at the time of his death, The Naked Soul of Sweet Jones, was completed by Rap-A-Lot president J. Prince and the Pimp's wife, Chinara Butler, for a 2010 release. Further recordings were issued in summer 2011 as Still Pimping, and another set appeared in late in 2015 as Long Live the Pimp. ~ David Jeffries