Pimp C's Legacy Archived at Rice University

UGK rapper adds another hip-hop first to his storied legacy

Pimp C
Pam Francis/Getty

Pimp C’s legend grows stronger. The late UGK rapper/producer has become the first solo artist inducted into Rice University’s archives. The milestone is also a hip-hop first.

A star-studded panel celebrated the accomplishment on Jan. 31, 2017. The event marked the addition of the Pimp C Collection in the Woodson Research Center at the prestigious university’s Rice Fondren Library.

"We are so excited about this collaboration with Rice University,” said Pimp C’s wife Chinara Butler in a statement. “Preserving my husband's legacy is my top priority, and through this partnership, we can now ensure that Chad's music can be studied for generations to come."

The Pimp C Collection is part of the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning’s Hip-Hop Archive at Woodson. The entire archive includes several documents:

  • Handwritten lyrics
  • Promotional items
  • Contracts
  • UGK flats

The Legacy of Pimp C

Chad “Pimp C” Butler was a co-founder of the illustrious rap outfit UGK (Underground Kingz). In 1987, Butler teamed up with childhood friend Bernard “Bun B” Freeman in Port Arthur, Texas. They released their first album “Too Hard to Swallow” in 1991.

UGK’s defining moment was 1996’s Ridin’ Dirty. Vivid and unflinching, the album was about as intense and enduring in the Dirty South as Nas’ Illmatic was on the East Coast. Ridin' Dirty captured the essence of the Texas duo, deftly combining slow-motion meditation ("One Day") with high-definition hood tales ("That's Why I Carry").

In 2000, UGK rose to the mainstream podium after a scene-stealing cameo on Jay Z’s “Big Pimpin’.” The duo nabbed a Grammy nod for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for “Big Pimpin” with Jigga. Pimp C’s verse is often recited crisply and loudly by crowds whenever Jay or Bun performs “Big Pimpin’” live.
Pimp C made his solo debut in July 2006 with Pimpalation. In 2007, Pimp reunited with Bun B and released the outstanding UGK album Underground Kingz. This would mark Pimp C's final performance before his untimely death on December 4, 2007, in Los Angeles.

Following Pimp C’s death, UGK released one final album, the remarkable UGK 4 Life. Many of the songs were recorded prior to Pimp’s passing.

Pimp C was renowned and admired not just for his mic skills, but also for his board work. He was the rare double threat—equally capable of spinning memorable rhymes and cooking up hypnotic beats.