The Pimp is back, or so Mass Appeal Records would have us believe. Long Live The Pimp, the third posthumous album (fifth overall) by Pimp C aka Sweet Jones of UGK dropped on Friday (Dec. 4), and it’s not exactly the typical after death album-skewering a number of artists have received after meeting their ultimate fatal demise. In general, Pimp C’s unsupervised LP-treatment has not been as bad as that given to some others, but again, it brings up the question of what should happen to unreleased musics once their hallowed creators have died. Typically, unreleased material is unreleased for a reason. Maybe these artists felt that their other works were more important or grew to dislike their later-resurfaced stash. Notwithstanding the cracks in Long Live The Pimp, it’s evident the makers have the utmost respect for Pimp C, and a good deal if not most of his fans will truly appreciate it.
Born Chad Butler on December 29, 1973 in Port Arthur, Texas near Houston, Pimp C, who passed away in 2007 a few weeks before his thirty-fourth birthday, was immensely pivotal next to his UGK partner Bun B in popularizing bouncy Southern gangsta rap since the early ’90s and became a household name in hip-hop by the decade’s end. All of his previous solo albums except this one were released by powerful Houston hip-hop house Rap-A-Lot Records. Pre-2010 albums Sweet James Jones Stories and especially Pimpalation both did Pimp C justice because he was around to make sure they would, but The Naked Soul of Sweet Jones (2010) and Still Pimping (2011), while decent, lacked believability and fresh excitement. A fine product that deserves a passing grade though not an A+, Long Live The Pimp is well populated, moderate in the amount of vocals by the late Pimp and far removed enough from his era to be a meaningful distraction from the biggest trendsetters of hip-hop today.
This album’s greatest strength is its production. The bumpiness of past Pimp/UGK songs has been smoothed out by gently cascading r&b and other updates. Some tempered brass big band sounds and sparkly celebratory gala music make the instrumentals elegant with a few giddy moments too. Additionally, the drill, the chopping and the screwing have been wisely and modestly added for taste so it’s safe to say that Pimp C would probably not have any major objections to the music behind the album’s mouth-works.
Lyrically, there is plenty to review. Remastering aside, some of Pimp’s verses here are noticeably of older recordings, but when they were recorded is hard to discern without being told. There aren’t enough different themes in store besides the traditional ones to distinguish song from song. Slabs, weed, syrup and h*es are the specials not to mention Pimp C’s penchant for hilarious vulgarity and his habit of appraising the USD value of all the super expensive things he owns. The guests, hardworking conscientious admirers of the man as they are, go hard and never slop up their verses, but once again, Pimp C never asked to be seated next to some of these ladies and gentlemen in the first place; however, they do fit in quite well stylistically.
The interludes, intro and outro are simply speeches from the Pimp, which isn’t a huge problem, but “Wavybone” has deliberately been lifted from A$AP Rocky’s At.Long.Last.A$AP album. That last peccadillo is just a little worse because it’s a cheap easy move by the label. Posthumous LPs are tricky because there’s almost a countdown to a deadline during which to drop them for best results. That is why it is almost better to release everything as soon as possible and make clear to the public when the pieces were recorded than to go through the trouble of placing bundles of songs around a bunch of fluff. Declaring the latter official studio albums will almost always look phony. Mass Appeal was smart for the most part though. The beats and lyrics are both pimp-tight, and they’ve been pieced together and put down where and as they should be; therefore, Pimp C will live long in our memories thanks to this sound disc.