Posted Dec. 13, 2007 - Over 1,700 family, friends and fellow rap artists gathered today in Texas to celebrate the life of Chad "Pimp C" Butler, part of the legendary southern rap group UGK, who was found dead last week. He was 33.
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His UGK partner Bun B, along with othe artists LeToya Luckett, Slim Thug, Chamillionaire, J Prince, and the Geto Boys’ Willie D were some of the service’s notable attendees held in Robert A. Bowers Civic Center in Pimp C’s hometown of Port Arthur, Tx.
The mood at the service was quiet and orderly, according to news reports from Texas’ KFDM-TV. The only instance where the congregation collectively showed emotion was when a record company representative suggested there be a street in Port Arthur named after Pimp C. They gave him a standing ovation.
His death is believed to be from natural causes, though a coroner's report to confirm that finding won't be available for several weeks.
Since UGK was formed in the 1980s, the group (behind Pimp C’s production) released six albums.
But for a long time the group, wildly popular in the South and a major influence on today’s younger Southern rappers, was unable to gain mainstream popularity.
The group’s role in Jay-Z’s 2000 hit, “Big Pimpin’”, would serve as one of their biggest breaks, but in a 2005 interview with MTV’s Sway (done while Pimp C was incarcerated on an aggravated gun assault charge) he expressed his initial reluctance to do the song.
“It sounded like a Pop record to me. I didn’t want to do it,” he told Sway behind the institution’s protective glass. His partner, Bun B, however convinced him and they were seemingly on their way to further acclaim. However, in 2002, a judge ordered Pimp C to begin serving what would be a three year jail stint, halting the group’s career.
Throughout his time in jail, however, Bun B and the UGK faithful never forgot about Pimp C, rocking “Free Pimp C” t shirts and hats until his Dec. 2005 release.
This year, Pimp C and Bun B released their eighth studio CD UGK Underground Kingz which featured the single "International Players Anthem" with Outkast. The song was just nominated for a Grammy.
Friends remembered Pimp C as being in a great positive place in his life, looking forward to upcoming projects.
Family members remember him as someone loyal to his community.
“He loved P.A. [Port Arthur],” his mother Weslyn Monroe said in an interview with Texas’ KFDM-TV. “And now we’re all going to need the support of P.A.”
He leaves behind a wife and three children.