When Rocks Off heard last week that the late Pimp C had released a new song, "Grippin' on the Wood," and that a new Pimp album was on the way next month, it sent our antennae up. As happy as we were to hear new Pimp material - and "Wood," featuring Bun B and Big K.R.I.T., is a good one - it made us wonder exactly who is in charge of putting it out there.
Turns out we're not the only ones.
The day after "Wood" leaked to the Internet, an attorney for Pimp's widow, Chinara Butler, faxed the attorney for his record label, Rap-a-Lot Records, a letter asserting that Mrs. Butler has domain over anything Pimp-related. The letter demanded that "as of today, you are to stop, cease and desist any activities with respect to Pimp C."
Rap-a-Lot, in turn, filed a petition last Friday in Harris County District Court, amended Monday and first reported by allhiphop late yesterday evening. The petition maintains that previous agreements between Rap-a-Lot and both of the Butlers, before and after Pimp C's November 2007 death, give the label exclusive rights to all of Pimp's solo recordings created between October 2000 and his death, as well as the right to do whatever Rap-a-Lot damn well pleases with them ("exploit," in court terminology).
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Furthermore, Rap-a-Lot's petition says Mrs. Butler is holding on to about ten solo recordings ("masters") that rightfully belong to the label. The petition asks the court to declare the label as the rightful owners to Pimp's music and likeness, declare Butler in breach of contract, and demand that she turn over the remaining recordings as well as pay damages that are "within the jurisdictional limits of the Court."
Rap-a-Lot, which plans to release Still Pimpin' July 17, also asks for a jury trial to sort all of this out. Interestingly, none of this came up when the label released Pimp's The Naked Soul of Sweet Jones last October.