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Pimp C was living proof that the South, in regards to hip-hop, pop culture and more, had won. Born Chad Lamont Butler in Port Arthur, Texas, the rapper who wrote nearly all of his lyrics short handed thanks to his high school education and genius producer married all of the soul his stepfather brought into his life with the rag-tag vulgarity that had already begun to exist within him. Together, with Bun B in UGK, the duo not only forged ahead as Southern rap pioneers but vanguards of lyricism, production and flamboyance. Few could deliver a sentence that was as smooth, honest and raw as Pimp C. Few could match his authenticity. When he passed some eight years ago in Los Angeles, the world stopped. Two years after his release from jail, in the middle of UGK’s most successful year commercially, the Pimp was gone, leaving behind a legacy as one of the more influential artists in music.

Trill comes from PAT. Trill was, is and forever will be Chad Butler.

Earlier today, Complex & Mass Appeal presented Long Live The Pimp, a documentary that alongside Julia Beverly’s autobiography is one of the more authoritative pieces on Pimp C’s life and times. From his beginnings in Port Arthur in the choir and playing sheet music to his burgeoning rap career, the documentary explores much of what made Pimp C such a complex and beloved figure. “I understood that he was destined for something great,” Bun B says of his brother. “I was just like, you know what, I know I’m alright with this music shit, he real good with this music shit, I’ma hold my nigga down and see how far we can get.”

Diehard UGK fans and casual listeners alike know that UGK’s star-turning appearance on Jay Z’s 1999 single “Big Pimpin” changed everything for them. Diehards and historians know that the 8-bar verse Pimp C dropped was recorded rather reluctantly, mainly due to his views on Jay Z and being on that big of a record to begin with. The 8-bar verse is arguably the most memorable portion of the entire song, a neck snatching push of bravado, state pride and braggadocio. When Jay Z performs “Big Pimpin” live, the music is dropped and the crowd recites Pimp’s verse, without any hesitation.

Long Live The Pimp breaks down Pimp’s incarceration in 2002 after a probation violation stemming from a falsified incident in Houston’s Sharpstown Mall. The attempts to unify the South and mend fences between T.I., Lil’ Flip, Paul Wall, Chamillionaire, Z-Ro & Slim Thug — all in the name of making money are present, same for his penchant for fly furs and Texas lingo. “One thing I liked about Pimp is he didn’t wait,” David Banner, a frequent collaborator with Pimp C says in the doc. “He made it happen.”

His 2007 death, still mired in controversy is a touchy subject in the documentary, bringing in voices such as childhood friend and fellow rapper DJ DMD and Bun to speak on it. “The whole city cried that day,” DJ DMD said in Long Live The Pimp. “When you lose someone like Pimp C, you lose a cultural bulletproof vest,” Bun B added. “You lose somebody that was actually willing to stand up and take the bullet for the culture, that was willing to be honest and say the things that maybe people were afraid to say or that people didn’t want to hear.”

Pimp C’s widow Chinara Butler​, Cory Mo’s brother Mike Mo, Rico Wade, N.O. Joe, DJ Paul, Nas, Michael “5000” Watts, and countless others close to the Pimp reflect on his life, his legacy and his impact not just on Southern rap but the genre as a whole. Watch the full Long Live The Pimp documentary directed by Marcus A. Clarke below and purchase the album of the same name now, via Mass Appeal.

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