Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pimpalation [The Samples]

Tomorrow (December 4th) marks the one-year-anniversary of the passing of Chad Butler, known to the hip hop world as Pimp C. Alongside his fellow Port Arthur native and partner in rhyme Bun B, Pimp C was one half of the mighty duo UGK, Underground Kingz. To honor this day, and the life of Pimp C, I put together a sample set for Pimpalation, his second solo album. Pimpalation dealt with emotions concerning renewal and freedom - all in light of the Pimp's recent release from a four-year stint in prison (half of an eight-year sentence). Pimp C put out the song "I'm Free", which sampled Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'". The track was heralded as the culmination of the Free Pimp C movement, and was listed by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the greatest songs of the year (2006). Pimp C's country roots merged well with the acoustic sound this '80's sample, and I just really enjoy both of these tracks. I figured I'd give the Pimp the HHIR treatment in commemoration of his passing. But we're not mourning his death; we're celebrating his life.

Roughly half of the tracks on Pimpalation [The Samples] are songs by Pimp C and Bun B themselves, along with other southern hip hop artists. For instance, the chopped and screwed freestyle to MC Lyte's "Keep On Keepin' On" by Lil' Keke and Shorty Mack played a vital role in the Pimp C track "Knockin' Doorz Down". The "Keep On Keepin' On" freestyle appeared on the late DJ Screw's Chapter 71: The Final Chapter, and if you listen to the lyrics you'll hear the hook to "Knockin' Doorz Down". Specifically, the vocal sample kicks in at around 03:07 on the MP3 in this sample set. It took me a while to find that hook, but I was determined to do so and... here it is! Another hip hop track that's been included in this set is Big Mike's "Havin' Thangs" off his 1994 album Somethin' Serious. The track was produced by Pimp C, and on Pimpalation, the Pimp decided to give it a little '06 twist, thus "Havin' Thangs '06" was born. I've included the original '94 track in this set.

While I was compiling the samples for this set, I was pondering whether or not I should include Bernard Wright's "Haboglabotribin'" (listen). This track features a prominent bass sample which many people will recognize as the backdrop to Snoop Dogg's "Gz and Hustlas", produced by Dr. Dre (listen). Now forgive me if I'm mistaken, but the bass line to Pimp C's "Working the Wheel" -- which you can hear right here -- sounds just like it! Granted, it definitely sounds similar, but it's clearly not a direct sample like "Gz and Hustlas" was. For this reason, I've excluded it from the sample set, but I wanted to fill you in on the story for kicks. Phat shouts to Rafi of Oh Word for help on this matter.

The final track on this sample set is Aaron Hall's "I Miss You", which couldn't be a better way to close it out. It's evocative and straight to the heart, very much like Pimp C was perceived by so many hip hop fans, worldwide. To get the full benefit of this sample -- and all the others as well -- I suggest you go out and pick up a copy of Pimp C's Pimpalation. Continue to support UGK! You're supporting hip hop!

As an outsider to the south and its culture, there was a time upon which I was highly uninformed about hip hop from the third coast. I always perceived it to be very one-dimensional and unsubstantial. Like many people who embark on the quest to learn as much about hip hop as they possibly can, I came across artists like Pimp C (and Bun B, Scarface and others) who completely changed my outlook on southern hip hop! I'm sure that many people on both east and west coast share this same story. Anyways, I hope you'll be bumpin' and enjoyin' this sample set today and tomorrow (and on and on...), along with other recordings from Pimp C, Bun B and UGK's catalog as well. It's a fitting way to commemorate the life of one of hip hop's great pioneers. As always, feel free to hit me up with any feedback on the set (i.e. did I miss anything, did you enjoy it, etc.). And of course, don't forget to... turn it up!!