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13 Important Facts From the New Pimp C Documentary

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.

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Brandon Caldwell has been writing about music and news for the Houston Press since 2011. His work has also appeared in Complex, Noisey, the Village Voice & more.
Contact: Brandon Caldwell