As we get closer to a decade without Pimp C, one of hip-hop’s most influential artists, his bravado and charm resonates within the hooks and vibes of the Billboard chart’s top rappers—indisputably managing to manipulate their projects with his Texas bass, soul, and jazz inspired lines.
From A$AP Rocky’s “Wavybone” to Travi$ Scott’s “Wasted,” the ever-evolving culture will forever pay homage to the man who assisted in designating the South as the hub of rap music.
Pimp C’s widow, Chinara Butler, passionately ensured us she will keep his legacy alive during a listening party for the rapper’s fourth studio album, Long Live the Pimp, at New York’s Mass Appeal Records last month.
“The Hip-Hop Guardian,” as his co-executive producer Mr. Lee dubbed the late rapper (real name Chad Lamont Butler), has a project that features Nas, T.I., Juicy J, Bun B, A$AP Rocky, Slim Thug, Ty Dolla $ign, and more.
With the album dropping Friday, check out the conversation Global Grind had with Butler and Lee about Pimp C’s sound and how his legacy will continue–without a hologram.
Global Grind: How would you describe the process of creating this project and playing the role as executive producer?
Chinara Butler: “For one, to broaden my husband’s legacy and I also wanted to inspire people. There’s a lot of widows and wives that I deal with that don’t get the credit, you know. I feel like they don’t have a voice, so I wanted to inspire other widows and other wives that wanted to take control of their loved ones’ legacy.”
And how do you feel the project went, Mr. Lee?
Mr. Lee: “Man, it went further than what I thought it was. Just to be 100 about it, I came on to do a couple of songs and I loved it. I took everything I had, postponed it and put everything to the side. I took like 8 months, and life was strictly Pimp C. I think even my kids know…I ended up playing a bigger part that I didn’t intend before, but I love what I do and I loved Pimp C as a friend, so it was just something that came naturally for me.”
What’s a song that takes you back and literally makes you feel like he’s here presently?
CB: “To Lose A Whore.” To hear him singing. To hear him being vulnerable and it kind of gives you a different little insight. One of my other favorites on there is “True To The Game” with David Banner with Chad’s and Drake’s hook. I love that song a bunch because that definitely represents Chad not wanting to deal with shady people and shakiness. When Banner’s voice comes on the song, you hear the passion in his voice; it makes you feel a certain kind of way.”
How do you think Pimp C would feel about the huge southern influence in hip-hop today? You have guys like Future dominating the game right now, so it’d be interesting to know.
ML: “I’m just being honest, if the dude hadn’t passed away, a lot of things wouldn’t happen the way they happened. It’s just like saying if Tupac was still here, what would the West look like, but those guys like Biggie, Pac, and Pimp C are in the same skin because it’s like they were heavily influential people. I just think they had their heads in the game so tight that a lot of this shit wouldn’t have been as big as it is.”
That being said, are you suggesting that different sounds and styles wouldn’t be the same, or people simply wouldn’t be where they are on the ladder had Pimp C been here?
CB: “A lot of people would have been hesitant to come out and two, a lot of things would not be going. Not trying to call names or nothing like that, but I think he would definitely be saying, ‘Get off the crumb shit,’ like he said before, ‘I got a bread truck.’”
ML: “He was the Hip-Hop Guardian man, if you want to put it into perspective like that. A lot of us whisper about things we don’t like and the things that don’t sit well on our palates; he wasn’t that the type of guy. He was the type to just put it out there and I think that some of the things in our culture (the hip-hop culture) he wouldn’t go for. He would’ve said a lot of different shit and people would’ve thought twice about the different things that they’re doing, because they know he’d say something about it.”
Things would’ve probably been a little different; especially considering the talent of a lot of artists we lost in the past. Speaking of, a lot of deceased celebrities are “coming back” in virtual holograms, is that something we can expect to see in the future?
CB: (Laughs). “We have a better idea. A little bit more interactive. Holograms you can’t interact with, and I think they’re really cool, but you can’t do things with them.”
Definitely not ordinary. What else is up next?
CB: “The single with Juicy J and Nas, “Friends.” Videos are coming up and Chad’s Hip-Hop Health event in December. We’re going to do something for the album release and going with the “Player’s Ball” theme for the album release party in a couple different states. Get dressed to the T. Got to be casket sharp. I also have an exhibit where they will be archiving some of his music and different things.”
“I’m also helping Sharonda Holton, the widow of D12’s Proof, on a project. Me, her, and Perp are putting an EP together, since his passing will be next year.”
Can we expect something for the 10-year anniversary as well?
CB: “Definitely a ton of things in the works for that.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty