R.I.P. Chad Butler (December 29, 1973 - December 4, 2007)
There are some things the blog (and hip hop) "community" should (and usually does) come together for. One of those things is honoring the dead. Many felt that UGK got too much promotion from the net in 2006 and 2007, and while at times the hype may have overshadowed the product, the truth of the matter is that much of the praise was long overdue. You just can't argue with the impact that UGK made on southern rap and hip hop as a whole. Pimp C is responsible for too many production innovations to name. Stylistically Pimp and Bun, along with other early southern groups like the Geto Boys, 8Ball & MJG, and Outkast, birthed most of the styles that came to represent southern rap music throughout the nineties, and certainly helped create the climate for the southern dominated rap scene we've seen in the 2000's.
Ironically, the group is often most recognized for relative anomalies in their career, the smash hits, "Big Pimpin'" and "Sippin' On Some Syrup." Both had qualms about doing the former, their world famous collaboration with Jay-Z and Timbaland, because it was a clear departure from their "Country Rap Tunes" style. But if you're one of the many who is still late getting on the UGK bandwagon I don't suggest you start with that type of material, or their LP from that era, their least impressive, Dirty Money. The best UGK albums are their first three, and although I agree with the general consensus that Ridin' Dirty is their masterpiece, Super Tight is an excellent and criminally underappreciated LP, and Too Hard to Swallow is one of the most innovative albums in rap history. If you're collection is missing any of these it's definitely deficient. I also definitely recommend their collabo collection Side Hustles, which contains many of their best collaborations and soundtrack contributions and contains many tracks that are more in line with their classic material than the music on Dirty Money or Underground Kingz (which I also recommend, but don't bump nearly as much as their first three albums or the Side Hustles joint).
I can't quite gauge what will happen to the man's legacy now that he's passed, at the height of his recognition. Like 2pac or Biggie, Pimp C is leaving the game on top. But his catalog is closer to Pac's than Big's with five solid UGK albums, plus a few compilations and solo projects (and probably a pretty good grip of unreleased music). I hope his legacy continues to be recognized and appreciated like it has been this year in years to come.
For me I think the saddest thing about the whole scenario is how quickly Bun B and UGK fans have had to transition from the Free Pimp C rhetoric to RIP Pimp C. Thankfully, the Kingz blessed us with a great double-album this year which helped to solidify their reputation with a whole new group of younger hip hop fans, and will certainly help to cement Pimp's legacy as an innovator of style both on the mic and behind the boards.
I've got some uploads for y'all, and I'll throw them up later. Got some new posts on the way soon as well. Both on here and on Ohword.