("Diamonds and Wood" contains explicit language.)
Today, Chad Lamont Butler, bka Pimp C and one-half of the legendary rap duo UGK, would have turned 38 years old. The godfather of trill is responsible for not only many of Texas rap's defining albums ("Super Tight," "Ridin' Dirty," "Underground Kingz") but also arguably the sound of Southern (read: most popular) rap today.
Besides his effortless, forever-quotable rapping, Pimp remains one of hip-hop's most important producers ever, crafting the ride-slow sound of the South through smart samples, trunk-eviscerating basslines, bright horns and rusty, blues guitar licks. Simply put, Pimp made music to be played loudly out of cars with great systems. That perfect combination of Pimp's beats, his wait-did-he-really-just-say-that lines and his partner Bun B's always-in-the-pocket rapping has cemented UGK's legacy as one of hip-hop's greatest one-two combinations ever.
Pimp C was found dead in a Los Angeles hotel room on Dec. 4, 2007, from his drugs of choice — promethazine and codeine. The South has long been obsessed with lean, and Pimp's loss made many take a hard look at the recreational drug (although its use is as trendy, thanks to a Screw music resurgance and young Pimp C/drank enthusiasts such as Drake and Soulja Boy, as it has ever been).
Regardless of your stance on lean, there's no denying Pimp C's death is a devastating loss still felt in the hip-hop community. Thankfully, we will always have the music.
Happy birthday, Pimp C.