Pimp C, founder of Texas hip-hop duo Underground Kingz (UGK), who created a template for Southern hip-hop, was found dead in a Los Angeles hotel room December 4th. The cause of death has not been determined, but authorities found no signs of foul play. He was thirty-three. "His genius was unparalleled, his passion was undeniable and his love was unmatched," says Bun B, Pimp C's partner in UGK. "I will never be the same."
Born Chad Butler, Pimp C grew up in Port Arthur, Texas. He formed UGK with high school friend Bun B and they released their first album, The Southern Way, in 1988. Armed with quick wit and a Texas drawl, the duo's slowed-down beats and slick rhymes about cars, drugs and women made them one of the first Southern rap acts to build a national audience. One early fan was Jay-Z, who boosted UGK's profile by giving them a spotlight verse on his 2000 classic "Big Pimpin'." After a three-year stint in prison for a parole violation, Pimp C returned bigger than ever: UGK's comeback album -- with the hit "Int'l Players Anthem" featuring OutKast -- debuted at Number One in August. UGK inspired a generation of Southern MCs, including T.I., Ludacris and fellow Texan Chamillionaire. "I have never known anyone with the authenticity and vision that he had," says Chamillionaire. "His legacy will live on."
Full statement from Bun B:
"His genius was unparalleled. His passion was undeniable and his love was unmatched. To say that I lost a friend or brother would never do justice to the relationship we shared. I will never be the same again."
Full statement from Chamillionaire:
"When it comes to his feelings and views on the world I have never known anyone with the authenticity and vision that he had. He would call me when he thought I was doing something wrong and praise me when he thought I was doing something right. He was a father figure, a mentor and a good friend to me, his family, the hip-hop community and many others. We all know he was talented but he was also a very smart, kind, funny individual and his personality and presence will be deeply missed. There will never be another person like him but his legacy will live forever. R.I.P. Chad Butler."
Full statement from Paul Wall:
"I grew up a devoted fan of UGK because I always admired how they represented Texas to the fullest. I was blessed with the opportunity to be Pimp C's friend and my heart goes out to his family. He had one of the strongest voices in representing Texas. He will be missed as a fan and friend."
Full statement from DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia:
"Pimp was my big bro! I'm trying every day not to blame myself 'cause he came to LA for our sake! Pimp was one of the peeps — well the only person outside of our team that told us to push the album back 'cause the label hadn't pushed the previous singles well. So we did 'cause one of my managers (that also repped Pimp) told me to as well! Pimp told us every day he wanted to be a side member of Three 6 Mafia 'cause we was his favorite rap group and he actually recorded a lot of stuff on our new album. Pimp was so real! Our birthdays are days apart, we the same sign! We was great friends!! We made our first platinum albums together!! Ours was When the Smoke Clears feat. "Sippin' on Some Syrup." Me and Pimp got so much history together that I can't even type it all but I miss my brother and this will always hurt me! Out of all my fallen soldiers this one kills me the most 'cause he was trying to help me keep success!!! ;(Pimp!!!"