Pimp C

Last updated
Pimp C
Butler in 2006
Background information
Birth nameChad Lamont Butler
Also known as
  • Sweet James Jones
  • Tony Snow
  • Percy Mack
  • Jack Tripper
Born(1973-12-29)December 29, 1973
Crowley, Louisiana, U.S.
Origin Port Arthur, Texas, U.S.
DiedDecember 4, 2007(2007-12-04) (aged 33)
West Hollywood, California, U.S.
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • Singer
Years active1987–2007

Chad Lamont Butler (December 29, 1973 – December 4, 2007), better known by his stage name Pimp C, was an American rapper and record producer. He was best known for his work with Bun B as one half of the hip-hop duo Underground Kingz (UGK).


Signing to Jive Records in 1992, UGK released their major-label debut album Too Hard to Swallow to critical acclaim. [1] [2] The group followed this with their second and third major-label albums Super Tight in 1994 and Ridin' Dirty in 1996, both of which charted in the Billboard 200 to further success. [3] [4] [5] [6] The group received national attention in 2000 after being featured on Jay-Z's hit single "Big Pimpin'", which peaked at #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Rhythmic Top 40.

The group went on hiatus for the first half of the 2000s after Pimp C was sentenced to eight years in prison for a probation violation. During this time both members pursued solo careers, with Pimp C releasing his solo debut, The Sweet James Jones Stories , in 2005, composed of material recorded prior to his sentencing. After being released from prison in December 2005, he released his second solo album, Pimpalation , in 2006. UGK released their eponymous fifth studio album in 2007, which spawned the hit single "International Players Anthem (I Choose You)" featuring OutKast, which peaked at #70 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Pimp C was found dead in his hotel room on December 4, 2007, with a coroner's report allegedly attributing his death to complications stemming from heavy consumption of purple drank and his pre-existing condition of sleep apnea.

Early life

Chad Lamont Butler was born December 29, 1973, in Crowley, Louisiana, but was raised in Port Arthur, Texas. Butler was the only child of Charleston Butler and Weslyn "Mama Wes" Butler Jacob Monroe. [7] Butler was born prematurely and had numerous health issues, including a birth defect that caused his legs to point inward, which required braces to fix. He also had to be propped up when he slept due to digestive problems. [8] His eyesight was poor, and he almost went blind after a severe bout of pinkeye. Butler also had pneumonia at least nine times as a child. [8]

As the son of a trumpet player, Butler had an interest in music since childhood: "I come from a classical background, I came up singing Italian sonnets, Negro spirituals, and shit of that nature." Even before studying musical notation in school he learned to play many instruments by ear, including piano, trumpet, drums and flugelhorn. His vocal style was once described as "high-voiced, unstable and provocateur, as likely to slap your face as to sing you a love song." Influenced by Run-DMC, he started synthesizing beats to rap over after receiving a drum machine and keyboard one Christmas. [9]

Butler joined the choir as a teenager and played numerous instruments at school, and after being encouraged by his stepfather Bill Monroe, began writing and creating his own music. Butler was particularly interested in the emerging hip hop genre as a child, and soon bonded and became friends with Bernard "Bun B" Freeman over their shared passion for music. [7]

Music career


Early career (1987–1996)

Butler formed the rap group Underground Kingz (often referred to as UGK) with friend Bernard "Bun B" Freeman in 1987 in Port Arthur, Texas. [10] [11] Initially signed to independent label Big Tyme Recordz, the duo released two EPs, The Southern Way and Banned , in 1992 to moderate local success, which lead to the group being signed to Jive Records later that year. In November, they released their major label debut, Too Hard to Swallow through Jive, which peaked at #37 on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. [12] [13] [4] [3]

UGK's second album, Super Tight was released in 1994 to critical acclaim and commercial success, charting at #95 on the Billboard 200 and #9 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. In 1996, UGK's third album, Ridin' Dirty , became their most successful, reaching #2 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #15 on the Billboard 200, receiving widespread critical acclaim and commercial success, having sold 850,000 copies to date. [12] [13] [4] [3]

Hiatus and national attention (1996–2001)

After taking a short hiatus from music in the late 1990s, UGK returned in 2000, appearing on Jay-Z's smash hit single "Big Pimpin'", which peaked at #18 on the Billboard 200, as well as "Sippin' on Some Syrup" by Three 6 Mafia, which peaked at #30 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Both of these collaborations greatly increased the duo's reputation, and helped fuel anticipation for their next project. Jive Records failed to capitalize on this new-found interest in UGK, as their fourth album, Dirty Money , was released in 2001 with little to no advertisement or promotion.

Prison sentence and solo career (2002–2006)

After Pimp C was sentenced to eight years in prison in August 2002, UGK was once again forced to go on hiatus, which led to both members pursuing solo careers. Pimp C's debut studio album, The Sweet James Jones Stories was released in March 2005, composed of material recorded prior to Pimp C's incarceration. After being released from prison in December 2005, Pimp C released his second solo studio album Pimpalation in July 2006 and peaked at #3 on the US Billboard 200 and topped the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

UGK Reunited

On August 7, 2007, UGK reunited to release their eponymous fifth studio album, debuting at #1 on both the Billboard 200 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop charts. The album was the last UGK album released during Pimp C's lifetime, and spawned the hit single "International Players Anthem (I Choose You)", and received universal acclaim from critics. [14] [15] [16] [17] [18]

Personal life

Butler married his wife, Chinara, while he was in prison in 2003. [7] [19] They have one child together, a daughter named Christian, and he has two older sons, Chad Lamont Butler II and Dahcory Butler both of whom are from previous relationships.

On December 16, 2000, Butler was arrested in Houston's Sharpstown Mall after allegedly holding a woman, Lakita Hulett, at gunpoint and threatening to shoot her after a confrontation in a shoe store. After both Butler and Hulett had exchanged words in the store, Hulett alleged that Butler pushed a gun into her side and said, "Bitch, I'll shoot you," before she ran away and informed police. Butler claimed he simply lifted his jacket to show the gun and did not remove it from his waistband. [20] [21] [22]

As Butler attempted to exit the mall and enter his car, numerous officers surrounded him and instructed him to surrender. Butler ignored the orders and was forced to the ground by officers, who handcuffed him and brought him back into the mall. Shortly after, Butler was transported to Houston Central Jail where he was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Butler claimed police used excessive force to restrain him, and alleged they knocked him unconscious twice and refused to let doctors at a local hospital perform a routine CT scan, instead transporting him straight to jail. [20] [21] [22]

Butler posted $10,000 bail the following day and was initially sentenced to probation after pleading no contest in early 2001. He was sent back to prison in January 2002 after failing to report to his probation officer on several occasions, failing to keep up with his community service hours or pay outstanding court fees, as well as testing positive twice for marijuana. On August 5, 2002, Butler was sentenced to eight years in prison. [20] [21] [22]

His arrest was widely protested by the hip-hop community, who along with Bun B immediately initiated a grassroots "Free Pimp C" campaign. [23] Butler spent the later portion of his sentence at the Terrell Unit in Brazoria County, Texas and was transferred to the Huntsville Unit a week prior to his release. [24] On December 30, 2005, Butler was released from prison and placed on parole until December 2009. [25]


In early December 2007, Butler had been staying at the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood, California, where he had been working on new music and performing with Too $hort. On the morning of December 4, 2007, he was scheduled to fly back home, where his wife, Chinara, was waiting with his cousin Ed at the airport to pick him up. After not hearing from him the morning of the scheduled flight, his wife called the hotel and requested that they check on him. Hotel staff discovered Butler unresponsive in his hotel room, where he was pronounced dead shortly after. He was 33 at the time of his death. [7] [26] [10] [27]

The coroner's report allegedly ruled that his death was accidental, attributing it to the effects of Butler's heavy usage of "purple drank", a combination of codeine and promethazine, in conjunction with his pre-existing condition of sleep apnea. [28] [29] Like many other Southern rappers, Pimp C referred to purple drank many times in his music. [30]

According to DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia, he got a call from Pimp C's manager, Rick Martin, who saw Pimp C's body in the hotel room, saying: "He was laying down like he was praying but there was blood around like he was shot. They thought he was shot in the head, but they didn't know what the hell happened because there was blood everywhere. They thought he was shot. He was knelt down like he was praying and the candles were all the way burnt down, so they knew he'd probably been dead for a day or so because he always lit those candles to sleep. He lit those big tall candles and they had been burnt down so he probably was dead for a while." [31]

Butler's body was transported back to his hometown of Port Arthur, Texas, shortly after. His funeral was held at the Bob Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur on December 13, 2007. [32] Port Arthur Mayor Deloris Prince, Pimp C's mother Weslyn Monroe, and Bun B were among the speakers at the service. [32]


Numerous rappers paid tribute to Pimp C in the wake of his passing. Bun B has continued to honor Pimp C through his music, including on the tracks "You're Everything" and "Pop It 4 Pimp" from his 2008 album II Trill , and released the final UGK album, UGK 4 Life , in 2009. [33] [34] Lil' Flip released a tribute song, "RIP Pimp C", two days after his death in 2007. [35] A$AP Rocky cites Pimp C as one of his major influences, and has paid tribute to him many times through his music. [36] Megan Thee Stallion named her 2018 EP Tina Snow in honor of Pimp C's alter ego Tony Snow. [37]


Studio albums

Posthumous studio albums


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">UGK</span> American hip hop duo

UGK was an American hip hop duo from Port Arthur, Texas, formed in 1987, by Chad "Pimp C" Butler and Bernard "Bun B" Freeman. They released their first major-label album, Too Hard to Swallow, in 1992, followed by several other albums charting on the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts, including the self-titled Underground Kingz album, which contained their single "International Players Anthem " and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, in August 2007. The duo has also been featured on hit singles by several other artists, such as "Big Pimpin'" by Jay-Z and "Sippin' on Some Syrup" by Three 6 Mafia. Pimp C founded UGK Records in late 2005. On December 4, 2007, Pimp C died in his West Hollywood, California hotel room.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bun B</span> American rapper from Texas

Bernard James Freeman, known professionally as Bun B, is an American rapper. He is best known as one half of the southern rap duo UGK, a group he formed in 1987 alongside Pimp C. Aside from his work with UGK, Bun B has released five solo albums, including 2010's Trill OG, which received the rare 5-mic rating from The Source.

<i>Trill</i> (album) 2005 studio album by Bun B

Trill is the debut studio album by American rapper Bun B. It was released on October 18, 2005, by Rap-a-Lot Records, Asylum Records and Atlantic Records. The record serves as Bun B's first studio release going solo, after spending years among years as a member of the Southern hip hop duo UGK throughout the most of his rap career. The album debuted at number six on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 118,000 copies in the United States.

<i>Too Hard to Swallow</i> 1992 studio album by UGK

Too Hard to Swallow is the debut studio album by American hip hop duo UGK. It was released on November 10, 1992, by Jive Records.

<i>Pimpalation</i> 2006 studio album by Pimp C

Pimpalation is the second solo studio album by American rapper Pimp C from UGK. It was released on July 11, 2006 through Rap-A-Lot Records, Asylum Records and Atlantic Records, making it the rapper's last solo album released during his lifetime. Recording sessions took place at Dean's List House of Hits, at M.A.D. Studios and Studio 7303 in Houston and at PatchWerk Recording Studios in Atlanta. Production was handled by several record producers, including Mr. Lee, Mike Dean, Jazze Pha and Mannie Fresh. A chopped and screwed version of the album was mixed by DJ Michael "5000" Watts. The album features a large number of guest performers, such as 8Ball & MJG, ABN, Ali & Gipp, Big Mike, Bun B, Chamillionaire, J. Prince, Lil' Boosie, Lil' Keke, Mike Jones, Scarface, Slim Thug, Tela, Webbie and Willie D among others.

<i>Underground Kingz</i> 2007 studio album by UGK

Underground Kingz is the fifth studio album by American hip hop duo UGK. The album was released on August 7, 2007, by Jive Records. The album includes collaborations with Z-RO, T.I., Talib Kweli, Rick Ross, Jazze Pha, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, Slim Thug, Dizzee Rascal, Too Short, Charlie Wilson, Middle Fingaz, OutKast, Three 6 Mafia, and many more. Production mainly came from Pimp C, N.O. Joe, Lil Jon, Jazze Pha, Swizz Beatz, DJ Paul & Juicy J, Scarface and Marley Marl.

<i>Super Tight</i> 1994 studio album by UGK

Super Tight... is the second studio album by American hip hop duo UGK. The album was released on August 30, 1994, by Jive Records. As of 2011, it has sold 375,000 copies. Super Tight... is notable for being the first UGK album to have The Meters guitarist Leo Nocentelli featured as a session musician.

<i>Ridin Dirty</i> 1996 studio album by UGK

Ridin' Dirty is the third studio album by American hip hop duo UGK. It was released on July 30, 1996 by Jive Records. Despite no music videos or official singles being released, it is their best selling album with over 850,000 copies sold to date, with 70,000 copies sold in its first week.

"Get Throwed" is the third single from Bun B's debut album Trill. It features Pimp C, Z-Ro, Young Jeezy, and Jay-Z.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wipe Me Down</span> 2007 single by Lil Boosie featuring Foxx and Webbie

"Wipe Me Down" is a song by American rapper Foxx, included as a song on the Trill Entertainment compilation album Trill Entertainment Presents: Survival of the Fittest (2007). The song's backing track was composed by American record producer Mouse On Tha Track. A remixed version, featuring additional vocals from fellow rappers Lil Boosie and Webbie, was released as a single in 2007, with Lil Boosie listed as the lead artist. There is another remixed version featuring UGK, Foxx has different vocals than the other remix version along with vocals from Pimp C & Bun B.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">International Players Anthem (I Choose You)</span> Single by UGK featuring Outkast

"International Players Anthem " is a song by American hip hop duo UGK, released on June 6, 2007, as the second single from their fifth studio album Underground Kingz (2007). The song, produced by DJ Paul and Juicy J of Three 6 Mafia, features verses from fellow Southern hip hop duo Outkast.

<i>II Trill</i> Album by Bun B

II Trill is the second studio album by UGK member Bun B. It was released on May 20, 2008 by Rap-a-Lot Records, Asylum Records and Warner Bros. Records.

<i>UGK 4 Life</i> 2009 studio album by UGK

UGK 4 Life is the sixth and final studio album by American hip hop duo UGK. The album was released on March 31, 2009, by Jive Records. This is also the first posthumous album for Pimp C.

<i>Trill OG</i> 2010 studio album by Bun B

Trill OG is the third solo studio album by UGK member Bun B. It is the third album in his Trill series. The album was released under Universal Music Group after Bun B left Warner Music Group's Asylum Records. The album was released August 3, 2010 on Rap-a-Lot Records and Fontana Distribution. On August 4, 2010, The Source magazine gave Trill OG its rare 5 mic rating.

Joseph Johnson, known by his stage name N.O. Joe, is an American musician, hip hop record producer and songwriter. N.O. Joe was a pioneer of the Southern Hip Hop sound during the 1990s. He operates a production company named Gumbo Funk, which is also a name given to his melange of musical styles

<i>Best of UGK</i> 2003 greatest hits album by UGK

Best of UGK is the third compilation album by American Southern hip hop duo UGK. It was released on June 17, 2003 via Jive Records. Production was handled by Bernie Bismark, Shetoro Henderson, N.O. Joe, DJ DMD, Sergio, and Pimp C. It featured guest appearance from Devin the Dude.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">DJ B-Do</span> American rapper and record producer

Bradley Eddell Davis, professionally known by his stage name DJ B-Do, is an American rapper and record producer affiliated with UGK. He is a member of hip hop duo Da Underdawgz with fellow rapper Young T.O.E., brought together by the late Pimp C.

<i>The Naked Soul of Sweet Jones</i> 2010 studio album by Pimp C

The Naked Soul of Sweet Jones is the third solo studio album by American rapper Pimp C. It was released through Rap-A-Lot Records and Universal Motown Records on October 5, 2010, making it his first posthumous solo release. The album features guest appearances from Bun B, Da Underdawgz, BankRoll Jonez, Young Bub, Chamillionaire, Cory Mo, Drake, E-40, Hezeleo, Ivory P., Jazze Pha, J-Dawg, Lil' Boosie, Rick Ross, Slim Thug, The Gator Mane, Too $hort, Webbie and Young Jeezy.

This is the discography of Pimp C, an American rapper, and one half of Southern hip hop group UGK, along with Bun B.

<i>Trill OG: The Epilogue</i> 2013 studio album by Bun B

Trill OG: The Epilogue is the fourth studio album by American rapper Bun B. The album was released on November 11, 2013, by Rap-A-Lot Records and distributed by RED Distribution. The album features guest appearances from Big K.R.I.T., Lil' O, Pimp C, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Raekwon, Kobe, Royce da 5'9", Z-Ro, Big Hawk, Lil Boosie, E.S.G., Redman, Kirko Bangz, Devin the Dude, Max Frost, Trae tha Truth, C-Note, Serani and Gator Main.


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