Some of the Most Surprising Moments From Julia Beverly’s Pimp C Biography, “$Weet Jone$”
Everyone has a favorite Pimp C moment. For Southern teens hustling in the margins of society, it was Pimp C’s nasal “stooones” on “Pocket Full of Stones.” For others, it’s the late-night processional “3 In Da Mornin’,” an invocation for little hours vice. If you were late to UGK, your introduction to Pimp C might’ve been his song-stealing half-verse on Jay Z’s “Big Pimpin’.” And, just as everyone has a favorite Pimp C moment, everyone who knew him as Chad Butler has a favorite story about the man. Julia Beverly’s Sweet Jones: Pimp C’s Trill Life Story documents in immense detail the life of one of Houston and the South’s pioneering rappers and producers. Here are a few important moments in the life of Pimp C.
On the real Short Texas…
“In downtown Port Arthur, the two-block stretch on the corner of Seventh Street and Texas Ave. was known as ‘Short Texas,’ the center of activity in the city’s underworld … Hole-in-the-wall nightclubs like Lane’s and the Celebrity lined both sides of the street alongside gambling shacks, pool halls, and Freeman’s Liquor Store. Crowds of people gathered to shoot dice in front of a small convenience store called Roscoe’s, while a street peddler sold hamburgers and the older men lounged at Mooney’s Café. At 2 am, a preacher would often emerge on his soapbox, condemning all the sinners.
Short Texas even had its own terminology; it was here the world “trill” emerged, a combination of ‘true’ and ‘real.’ ‘The older players wouldn’t let nobody young come up here,’ Block, a Short Texas hustler, recalls. ‘You had to be a part of some kind of clique just to even stand up here.’”
How UGK made Super Tight…
“[UGK] settled into a routine: Chad would make a beat and present it to Bun, usually with a hook or concept already in place. He often sang the hooks himself out of necessity…After they decided the structure of the song and how many verses or bars each would contribute, they’d write their lyrics separately. ‘Once we decided the direction of the record, there was no more communication,’ Bun says. Because the two were so different, the same topic discussed from completely opposing viewpoints. ‘[We never] looked at everything in the same way, and even if we did, we weren’t going to say it the same way.’”
…and the recording process for Ridin’ Dirty
“After three weeks recording at Jive’s Battery Studios in Chicago, Bun and Chad arrived back in Port Arthur late one night and stopped by Mama Wes’ house. As they debuted the tracks for her in the den, she was silently horrified … No one uttered a word; Chad was quiet and downcast, staring at his feet. Unsure how to tell them the truth, Mama Wes found an excuse to retreat to the kitchen.
‘Mama don’t like it,’ Bun commented quietly.
When she returned, Chad observed that she wasn’t doing that with [her] head,’ bobbing along with the beat like she normally did. ‘It’s not good is it,’ he said flat. She shook her head. ‘No. It’s boo-boo.’ There was a long silence.
‘I know what’s wrong,’ Chad said. ‘We gotta be home to record. We gotta be in Texas.’
‘Well, Mama, what we gonna do?’ Bun asked. Jive wasn’t going to be happy that they’d wasted a large chunk of their recording budget.
She couldn’t hold back anymore. ‘That is so bad,’ she admitted. ‘It’s so bad. That’s the worst I ever heard in my life.’”
On hanging out with DJ Screw…
“One night, Chad and Bun stopped by Screw’s house, where Big Mello, Kenny Bell, and a few others were lounging on folding chairs. Eventually, the suggestion was made that UGK was long overdue for a Screw tape [Chapter 182: Ridin Dirty].
‘There was no forethought about making that tape,’ Bun told journalist Maurice Garland. ‘All we we knew was that we wanted to rap on some of our favorite beats…it was just about having fun.’…When the mood was finally right, everyone gathered in the wood-paneled room which served as Screw’s lounge/recording studio…As Screw kicked off the mix, he challenged them to try to make it through the whole tape without stopping. ‘If you mess up, we’re gonna have to start over,’ he told them. ‘So don’t mess up.’”
On Pimp C’s prison stint…
“The media and the public loved the feel-good narrative of the ‘Free Pimp C’ movement, the faithful partner holding things down for his brother. But it wasn’t entirely true. In fact, the reality was that Pimp hadn’t heard from Bun in two and a half years. “I’m just not a good letter writer, Bun shrugs”
Bun didn’t visit, either; Mama Wes overheard him saying that it was just too far to drive. ‘I was never really comfortable with seeing him in prison,’ Bun admits… ‘I love Bun dearly, but Bun is lying,’ says Mama Wes. ‘Bun didn’t wanna go see C; that’s the truth of the matter.
On “Big Pimpin’”…
“[Pimp C] heard the nearly-completed record with Jay Z’s verse, Bun’s verse, and the hook, but still couldn’t get past how much he hated the ‘corny’ beat…Bun tried to appeal to Chad’s baser instincts, pointing out the obvious financial benefits. ‘This is Jay Z,’ Bun told Chad, exasperated. ‘Everybody Loves him. He just did ‘Hard Knock Life.’ Everybody is going to go out and buy his next album. He could sneeze, cough, or fart on the record–it’s going to sell a million-plus off the top, why wouldn’t we at least get a song on that record?’
’It was like an act of Congress to get [him] to rap on that goddamn song,’ remembers Big Munn. After being bombarded from all directions, Chad finally had enough. ‘I’m gonna do this [thing],’ he told Mama Wes. ‘Just leave me alone.’”
Mama Wes speaking at Pimp C’s funeral…
“As the first words came out of her mouth–her voice bold and steady with no hesitation–the audience visibly relaxed. ‘I attempted about 87 times to write something, but C said, “Go ‘head and wing it, Mama,” so that’s what I’ll do,’ she began.
‘From the bottom of my heart, I’m alright. You’re alright. ‘Cause he’s alright. My C is celebrating today,’ she announced with all the confidence and gusto of a seasoned preacher. ‘He’s happy to see you, because Jesus is alright. He’s alright. He got there to heaven and told them, ‘The Sauuuuuth is here!”
Smiles and chuckles broke out throughout the audience at her spot-on imitation of her son’s Southern drawl. As she wrapped up her brief speech, she asked rhetorically ‘You say he was your friend? He’s got three children. Holla at ‘em. Take ‘em under young wing.’
‘Thank you,’ she finished. ‘You’ve done my baby right. Chuuuuuch!’”