Hip-hop has started cranking out documentaries about its mythical figures and subjects the same way Hollywood is dipping into comic-book mythology. It’s a necessary achievement for the medium, the constant exploration of what were the building blocks of what we have now. The more we hear stories about Atlanta’s Organized Noize or have podcasts and shows dedicated to excavating the story of hip-hop, the better off we all are.
Monday, Complex and Mass Appeal teamed to reveal Long Live the Pimp, a documentary that shares its title with the posthumous album Mass Appeal released last December, on which Lil Wayne, Juicy J, Nas and others offered guest verses to Pimp C tracks thought long-buried. What you need to know about what's in the 30-minute film, directed by Marcus A. Clark, is laid out in this cheat sheet, a SparkNotes that pretty much serves as the most righteous Q&A session of all time. Or an addition to what Julia Beverly’s Pimp C autobiography from last summer already gave us.
13. Chinara Butler, Pimp C’s widow, first met him in elementary school.
This is dope for a number of reasons. One, Chinara’s on camera discussing a baby Chad Butler. Two, she mentions him being a musical genius who was still shy. I have now immediately swapped out Anthony Michael Hall for Pimp C in every John Hughes movie that AMH starred in.
12. Mike Mo, Cory Mo’s brother, became Pimp’s best friend after Pimp sold him a Fleetwood ’Lac.
The more hilarious story about Mike and Pimp’s relationship occurred later in life after Pimp got out of jail and gave up some Red Monkey jeans to Mike Mo off the strength. Literally gave one of his best friends the pants off his ass.
11. Everybody loved “Tell Me Something Good."
“I’m not that cold a rapper, dawg,” Mike Mo said. Rico Wade understood how much Pimp didn’t give a damn about a record unless Mama Wes loved it.
10. “Y’all Say Anything Bad About the South, Pimp Was About to Tear Your Ass Up."
Even though he said later in life that Atlanta wasn’t the South, nobody repped for the states below the Mason-Dixon more than Pimp C. There wasn’t no hip-hop in the South to him; it was country rap tunes. “Cadillac Music,” Killa Kyleon says.
9. Pimp C owns the most legendary verse on “Big Pimpin'."
Let’s put it like this: Pimp hated Timbaland’s beat. Hated it. In the words of Mr. Lee, “Man, what the fuck is this shit? What the fuck is this? They gon’ send me this garbage-ass motherfuckin’ trash can-ass beat? To rap with Jay Z?!” It ended up being a freestyle, one of the most glorious in Southern-rap history. And until his brand-new Mercedes hit Miami for the “Big Pimpin'” video, there wasn’t gonna be a video.
8. His 2000 arrest at Sharpstown Mall is still bullshit.
Though it isn’t mentioned in full detail, the 2000 incident at Sharpstown Mall that led to his four-year stint in jail is briefly brought up. We lost Pimp C to state-mandated bondage all because a woman instigated a fight between her and Pimp saying he had pulled a gun on her when he didn’t. More than 15 years later, we’re still looking back at one of the more inconceivable moments in Texas rap history.
7. David Banner taught Pimp C how to use the ASR-10 & the MPC.
The power of writing led David Banner and Pimp C to become the best of friends. During his time away, drum machines had changed and Banner, a noted producer in his own right, had kept up with Pimp C via mail correspondence. “I taught him how to use an MPC by piecing pictures together,” Banner said. Banner’s “Like a Pimp” was blowing up on radio in 2003, and the two eventually recorded more. The ironic part? Banner and Pimp C had a track already, 1999’s “Get Crunk” from Banner’s Crooked Lettaz days in 1999.
6. Pimp’s first mission once he got out of jail: squashing citywide beefs.
“How is y’all trippin?” Bun B paraphrases for his brother. The 2006 Pimpalation track put names on everybody who had a beef at the time: Paul Wall/Chamillionaire, Slim Thug/Z-Ro, T.I./Lil Flip. For the massive Source cover shoot in 2006, Pimp declared that everybody at the shoot would eventually go on tour, all in the name of the South. “You know young Pimp, I’m like Jesse Jackson down here,” he says. Well, I’m sure his Rainbow Coalition would have been a little different.
5. “International Players Anthem” originally belonged to Project Pat.
Before he was released from prison, Pimp called DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia and told him to hold the “Choose U” instrumental that Paul had already used for Project Pat. Still looking forward to rapping over it, Pimp didn’t care that a track with Project Pat’s voice was already over it. He was going to rap and deliver his most iconic verse after “Big Pimpin'," according to some.
4. The gray Bentley got smashed up after being involved in a police chase in Port Arthur.
It wasn’t Pimp’s fault. Pimp ended up getting hit by the driver who was getting chased by the police. He was so upset about just finally getting a chance to ride the Bentley, he bought a red one to make himself feel better.
3. Some of the cameos in the “International Players Anthem” video occurred by pure happenstance.
According to Bun B, thanks to a BET Awards weekend in Los Angeles, David Banner got to show up and play a role as Bun’s passenger in the solo shot. T-Pain is the choir director, and so on and so forth. What looked like the most ballerific wedding of all time was actually a Southern-rap family reunion.
2. Everyone reacted to Pimp’s death the same way.
“I got the official report; I cried just like everybody else cried. I think the whole city cried that day,” DJ DMD says upon learning of his childhood friend's passing. No one may ever truly know what happened to Pimp in the hotel room in Los Angeles. David Banner believes we lost him the same way we lost 2Pac: Pimp was someone who spoke the truths that some didn’t want told.
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1. Bun B delivers the best quote in the entire documentary.
When you lose someone like Pimp C, you lose a cultural bulletproof vest. 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 people were afraid to say or that people didn’t want to hear. If judgement comes from that or retribution come from that then so be it. But somebody had to say it. Nobody was louder than Pimp.
1a. Bun B still hates Byron Crawford.
This isn't part of the documentary, but it became the most fun thing that should have been part of it. Well, outside of the legendary interviews Pimp delivered post-prison. In 2006, former XXL blogger Byron Crawford wrote a lengthy article essentially trashing Southern rap, Pimp C, et al. Bun responded, in one of the early days of rappers being fed up with "media" on the Internet. Crawford routinely brought up the 2000 gun charge that landed Pimp in jail and even had the gall to say his native St. Louis had more popular rappers than UGK — in 2006. On Monday, Crawford brought the article back into discussion by championing its tenth anniversary. Bun responded in kind on Twitter: "It's still fuck you for life. Have a blessed day."