Tuesday, December 04, 2007

RIP Pimp C of UGK (1974-2007)

(Swiped from MTVNews)

Pimp C of the long-running Texas hip-hop group UGK was found dead Tuesday (December 4) in a Los Angeles hotel room. He was 33.

Few details were available at press time, but according to TMZ, the rapper's body was found at the Mondrian Hotel Tuesday morning after the Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to a 911 call. The MC (real name: Chad Butler), was reportedly dead when officers arrived on the scene.

A press release issued on behalf of his family Tuesday reads as follows:

"It is with great regret that I must confirm that Chad Butler, a.k.a. Pimp C, one half of the legendary UGK, was in fact discovered dead this morning.

"Manager Rick Martin is asking that everyone please respect his family and those close to him at this time and refrain from rumors and innuendo.

A formal statement will be released later this afternoon. Thank you all for understanding."

Inquiries made to the West Hollywood Police Department and the Mondrian Hotel by MTV News were inconclusive at press time; a police spokesperson said the body has not been officially identified.

Based in Port Arthur, Texas, UGK — Pimp C and Bun B — formed in the late 1980s and released their first album, Too Hard To Swallow, in 1992. While the group long enjoyed a strong underground following, Pimp C was perhaps best known in recent years for the "Free Pimp C" campaign launched by Bun B. Butler was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2002 for failure to comply with probation restrictions following a conviction for aggravated assault, but was released late in 2005..

In the wake of his imprisonment, Bun B. brought greater fame to the group as scores of hip-hop fans donned "Free Pimp C" T-shirts at shows and shouted the refrain in call-and-respond chants lead by Bun B.

The buzz helped the group's comeback LP, UGK: Underground Kingz, debut at #1 on the Billboard charts upon its release in August. The album spawned the hit single "International Players Anthem," the video of which featured an all-star cast including OutKast, Three 6 Mafia and others.

Early this year, UGK was voted the #10 Greatest Hip-Hop Group of All Time in an MTV News feature.

UGK entered the mainstream in 1999 after collaborating with Jay-Z on the single "Big Pimpin' " from the Brooklyn rapper's Vol 3: Life and Times of S. Carter. Pimp C said the song, UGK's most mainstream track, was a collaboration he wasn't entirely fond of at first, as he felt the track was too soft for his group's image.

MTV News visited the rapper in prison and spoke with him regarding his tribulations while being incarcerated. Upon his release from prison, Pimp C became an outspoken critic of hip-hop glamorization of jail.

"It's not a party. It's not fun," Pimp said. "Jail affected my whole family. My family got locked up. My group got locked up. I lost when I went to prison. That's something to be ashamed of, and that's not a badge of honor. My youngest son was 8 years old when I went in. I came back and he's a teenager. I can't get them years back."

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