“Big Pimpin'” was a huge moment for Hip Hop at the turn of the millennium. The Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter single by Roc-A-Fella frontman Jay-Z featured Texas-bred duo UGK. “Big Pimpin'” united the East Coast and the Dirty South on one mainstream record.
Apparently, UGK’s Pimp C was hesitant to jump on the Timbaland-produced track. Not only was Pimp C said to be more loyal to the late outspoken Jay-Z rival, Tupac Shakur, but the Port Arthur native also supposedly questioned a certain line on the song.
Former Roc-A-Fella Records A&R Kyambo “Hip-Hop” Joshua appeared on the R.O.A.D. Podcast. That conversation included Joshua explaining why Pimp C allegedly considered turning down a chance to rap on “Big Pimpin'” with the Brooklyn-raised emcee.
“[Pimp C] was a big 2Pac fan, and 2Pac had just passed away not too long ago. And he heard of something,” said Kyambo Joshua. “I guess ’cause Pac said something about Jay. So [Pimp C] was like, ‘I’m not f###### with him, ’cause Pac ain’t f###### with him.'”
Joshua continued, “But once [Pimp C] got past that, he thought Jay was saying that he was playing with his dick in the truck… So he’s like, ‘Man, I’m not getting on no song with another man talking bout playing with himself in the truck… Young Hop, you my boy, but, damn, what you trying to have me doing?’ He said, ‘That’s like career suicide.'”
Jay-Z & UGK’s “Big Pimpin” Became A Hot 100 Hit
In actuality, Jay-Z rapped, “I’m a pimp in every sense of the word. B####, better trust and believe ’em. In the cut where I keep ’em. ‘Til I need a nut, ’til I need to beat the guts. Then it’s ‘beep beep’ and I’m pickin’ ’em up. Let ’em play with it quick in the truck.”
Kyambo Joshua supposedly clarified the bar to Pimp C which helped change the Rap-A-Lot Records representative’s mind about working with Jay-Z for the “Big Pimpin'” collaboration. According to Joshua, Pimp C also contacted Goodie Mob’s Big Gipp in order to get permission to use his flow on the record.
“Big Pimpin'” became UGK’s highest-charting entry on the Billboard Hot 100. The song peaked at #18 on the weekly chart. It also spent five weeks at No. 1 on the Rap Airplay chart. The RIAA certified the classic anthem as Platinum.
Pimp C (born Chad Lamont Butler) passed away on December 4, 2007, at 33 years old. Before his death, Butler partnered with his UGK brethren Bun B to drop numerous studio LPs such as 1996’s Gold-certified Ridin’ Dirty.