Underground King of the South, Pimp C has been gone for quite some time. Eight years to be exact. His presence is still certainly felt equating to his quite infectious influence. Before his passing the world got to know Sweet James Jones through his music and the raw country twang that he spoke with. He spoke with a smooth cadence that was carried with a raw confidence and unavoidably hypnotizing to his listeners. He boldly explained to the world why Atlanta was indeed not part of the South and loudly proclaimed that there was an influx of “homo thugs” in the rap game “poisoning the pussy population.” The convolution of Pimp C released a burst of curiosity surrounding his life, who he was and why his importance is so significant. It’s over Pimp C that Ozone Magazine’s former publisher, Julia Beverly and James Prince of Rap-A-Lot Records blatantly disregarded his wife, Chinara Butler’s, wishes to not include Pimp C’s likeness in their endeavors. Her cries went unheard by both parties.
Oh yes, Chad Butler was a married man of six years with children. Butler was the woman who knew him the best and spent every waking moment with him. Who better to translate his life and the tale of Pimp C through his music than his wife? This is why she has finally decided to put together the much-needed official Pimp C posthumous album, Long Live The Pimp. Nothing goes on successfully without her blessing. How do you think A$AP Rocky acquired his unheard Pimp C verse for “Wavybone” on his A.L.L.A. album? The only point is to keep Pimp C’s legacy alive and there’s no better person for that job (on top of her collaborative deal with Black Scales and her upcoming radio show on XMGHipHop.com) than the woman he came home to and called his wife. She knew exactly what he liked and needed. That’s why he made her his wife.
Speaking with Butler, she talks the long process of creating postmortem Pimp C album Long Live The Pimp featuring assistance from Juicy J and multi-platinum producer Mr. Lee along with her own business efforts.
Pimp C’s Prediction Of Houston Music Scene On, “Knockin Doorz Down” & His Intense Influence Throughout The Industry
DX: “Knockin Doorz Down” addresses the Houston rap scene. What would your advice be for the Houston music scene?
Chinara Butler: I actually think my husband predicted what was going to happen. With music, people have to understand it’s a season so it’s not going to stay with you forever. Honestly, in my opinion, that’s a fact because you can actually see it. I think they should’ve listened to Chad a minute ago by getting together. Even when I am in Atlanta you can see it. A lot of people in Atlanta don’t like each other but they’re getting money together. That’s what we’re supposed to be doing. This is a hustle. That’s what real rappers started out to me is being real hustlers. So if you’re going to hustle, you get it in.
Chad been gone eight years and they’re just doing it a couple of years ago. He had some good advice for them. Let’s get together, let’s get off the B.S. The UGK member said he had a bread truck. Get off the crumb shit. I got a bread truck. Don’t that wrap it up? That’s the song. To me there’s a lot of talent in Houston. So much talent in Houston. I tell artists, get out your comfort zone. We’re from Port Arthur, TX. If Chad stayed in Port Arthur, TX and around just this surrounding area, you guys would not know him. I would not be talking to you right now. This is a grind. I just left from Mr. Lee. Mr. Lee know. I’m moving around. I tapped up and messed with Boosie. I messed with A$AP.
Chad did New York. Chad moved around a bunch. He wasn’t just staying in Houston, he represented. Once you have your core fan base they look to see you evolve. You got to move around. You don’t have to stay there. You already have your core fan base in Houston then it’s time for you to get outside of Houston. Like Beyonce! You think if Beyonce stayed in Houston would Beyonce be where she’s at? She actually went to Atlanta.
DX: Do you feel artists outside of Houston like A$AP Rocky and Drake are doing a better job at upholding Pimp’s legacy than those who live there?
Chinara Butler: I don’t know about all that. I wouldn’t go that far. I got to stay positive for one, so I can’t worry about what everybody else is doing for Chad. To me, if I wouldn’t do the stuff I am doing then ya’ll wouldn’t be hearing nothing new. As far as the other artists in Houston I don’t know. I mean E-40 gave a shout out on Big Sean’s record. I see A$AP. It’s genuine with certain people. That’s why certain people I deal with have some new Chad that nobody didn’t have and everybody is still paying homage. I see genuine people. But, no, I’m not going to put Houston down like that and say everybody else is doing it in a better way.
On A$AP MOB & how A$AP Rocky’s Record, “Wavybone” Featuring UGK Came To Fruition
DX: Speaking of A$AP Rocky and New York, his album A.L.L.A just came out and one of my favorite tracks on it is “Wavybone” which features UGK. So just tell us a little bit about how that collaboration came about and what was it about A$AP Rocky that made you want to work with him?
Chinara Butler: For one, Yams is my dude and I had been talking to him for hours and I think he just tweeted one of [Chad’s] songs. I guess they re-tweeted what was on his phone and we were talking about it. Yams and Ferg, they’re educated on our background. [They] can go back to some early ‘90s and not just Geto Boys or UGK. They really knew the culture. They studied our culture and they respect it and it’s a way to show homage. To me, they did it in a proper way and they really, real. They not on some Hollywood shit. I like that. I like real individuals. I don’t have to comb my hair around them. I don’t want to either. Last time I seen them in Austin, they got the Meek Mill braids in and I should have kept my braids in. I took my braids out because I was going into a movie premiere but, I should have stayed braided up and did me. I’m comfortable around them for one and I have nothing but love for everybody that’s over there. I respect what Rocky does for the group in general. Everybody grinding over there. I like what I see over there. I like the creativity. Ferg tells me, “We would not be doing this if it wasn’t for Pimp.” How can you hate on that?
Me and Juicy been working on this project. I was trying to finish placements and putting certain people on because he’s doing half of the project and I’m like, “Dude, I think A$AP would be perfect for this song.” He tapped around in California and hooked up with him to see if he liked it. I wanted them to hook up in general because I like both of them a lot. I know that they’re not going to steer me in the wrong direction. The advice and the space that those two gentlemen put me in took me out of a dark space. I had to try to link that up.
When [A$AP Rocky] heard the song he was like, “Oh my God, I need it for my project,” and I’m like, “Oh my God, if it wasn’t you, I would not give it up.” I thought that it just fit his swag and it’s funny because after hearing his project it fit in the program. We were kind of thinking alike on the production end. I liked the fact that he’s a rapper that he’s already learning how to produce.
He reached out to Bun and got Bun on the song. I started the song and he ran with it and made it a UGK-Houston jam and Juicy’s on it. I love it.
DX: It’s definitely a great song. It was your idea to put Rocky onto the track?
Chinara Butler: Yeah and then he wanted it for his [album]. That’s my country cousin! I had to. That’s family.
The Process of Making Long Live The Pimp
DX: You seem really protective of Pimp C’s brand, and rightfully so. How has that affected the process of this making this album?
Chinara Butler: It makes me play so many roles. I love what Puffy does for Biggie. He reinvents him in all kind of ways and I’m looking somewhat at his blueprint. That’s why you seen Chad on Juicy, you see him mixed with Wiz, you see it on A$AP. Much love to Pharrell for putting Chad on that T.I. song, “Private Show” with Chris Brown. To see certain things like that makes me go a little harder. It’s not as easy because I am a mom and I still work. It stretches me really thin. That’s why I am leaning on these veteran producers like Mr. Lee, Juicy and even one of my producers, B-Do. I’m leaning on them to a certain extent. It’s been a beautiful thing working with certain people. I haven’t done anything like this but I like challenges and I feel like If I don’t do it then who else is going to do it for Chad’s legacy? I don’t see it. That’s why in the last six months you see a little bit of Chad’s presence everywhere. I had to prove to certain people I actually know what I was talking about. I’m in a male chauvinist business and I’m cool with that. That’s something that I don’t think is ever going to change so I just got to deal with that too. I know I am aggressive but I am passionate in what I am doing and sometimes I think that is mistaken for anger.
DX: On a project so big, how has it been trying to get different artists to cooperate?
Chinara Butler: It’s so weird. Certain artists in the business I run into them and it’s like, “Oh, I want to do this. Can I get something?” Sometimes it’s hard getting features from a lot of people. The funny thing is the placements that I’ve gotten this year have been all major projects. It was no problem with them even giving me something. That’s why I don’t have a problem giving certain people certain things as well. It has been difficult for certain artists that I would expect to get certain things from, let’s put it that way.
DX: Do you get the feeling that people don’t believe you when you’re saying that you’re putting it together?
Chinara Butler: Somewhat! I was told this last week and didn’t even realize it, “Chinara, you know you’re the only widow that we know as far as rap music that’s been going this far?” It’s been eight years. Maybe to them it’s like, “Nah. This ain’t real. What else does she have left?” And I’m like, really? If you know Chad, Chad stayed working. I recorded stuff for him even in the house. He just didn’t work at the studio. He lived and breathed music! That, I guess, is why I’m surprised. If you really know Chad then you know he’s always working so I probably have music to put out for years. It’s six songs we done put out this year on other people’s songs.
DX: What is the overall concept of this project and what producers or artists have you been working on it with so far?
Chinara Butler: It’s a few other artists that we’re working with. I’ve spoken to Young Buck recently and he was so game on jumping on something. That’s the beautiful thing. I keep reaching out to certain people so I get new stuff and I put other stuff to the side for later on. I don’t want to let everything out because there’s a few other name-droppers I would love to have gotten with and they are just now reaching out to me so we are trying to make certain things happen. Producer wise, Mr. Lee [and] Juicy. I had a lot of jamming singles but that’s not a project. You need a project to tell a story. Adding certain things in interviews that people haven’t seen of Chad. I’ve seen how they manipulate interviews that Chad has done and didn’t tell the whole story. I want people to really understand Chad and get what he was saying. It was certain things he was saying back then that is still relevant right now and still going on. It’s going to be educating. I like dealing with the younger artists, so we can educate the younger artists and the younger generation. That’s really what it’s about. Long, live, Pimp C. We just keeping Chad’s legacy alive and leaving it in a good standard where it’s supposed to be at. I think that’s what any artist would want at the end of the day. You wouldn’t want your legacy just to die when you leave this earth.
DX: What exactly about Pimp’s legacy are you trying to protect?
Chinara Butler: Real music. Real music and real shit. Real people. Real lives. It’s the music and the interviews. The whole “why” we are putting this together is because I want Chad to say certain things he was trying to say and educate people. He explained certain things that people missed out of those interviews.
DX: Were you surprised at the “Free Pimp C” campaign?
Chinara Butler: I think the rallying…looking back at it at this point, I see “Free Weezy” and then there’s “Free Boosie,” as surprising. It went so far, I think it would probably even surprise him. You get love from different places you didn’t even expect. It took on a life of its own.
DX: What do you think made Pimp C’s production noteworthy and the reason why everybody loves UGK albums? Because UGK has a certain sound. It’s very, very special.
Chinara Butler: I think the secret is, as far as Chad’s production, [he] takes from reggae, to zydeco, to country music. It’s something new and something old at the same time. That’s one of the nice secrets of the whole thing. It’s something old and it’s something new. You know when you hear something that kind of sound familiar? And it’s real music! You can’t deny real music. That’s just something that can’t be denied. Chad liked to use real instruments unlike a lot of people that use those cheap instruments and keyboards.
When To Expect Long Live The Pimp
DX: When do you expect this album will be dropping?
Chinara Butler: This year. I know that much. Hopefully this year. I keep touching it. It probably just needs to be at a certain level and especially having the help I do have. A$AP Rocky told me, “This project has to be the shit” and I’m like, I know! Because I talk a lot of shit so I need to make sure that I back it up as well. Not just for his legacy but for myself too.
DX: Last question. With this album, whenever it is released, what would you like for fans and everyone else to take away from this project? What is something that you want them to get or understand?
Chinara Butler: If anything, maybe how advanced Chad was. He was light years away from a lot of people in this music business and it’s funny. He’s so relevant to what’s going on now and everybody was looking at him like, “Oh, he’s a loose cannon.” Y’all should have listened to that loose cannon after getting a bigger picture of just who Chad was as a producer [and] just trying to give advice to the young artists coming up on what’s going on. What’s about to happen and how this business is ran and how you got to handle yourself.