Pimp C likely died in his sleep, investigator says
By: FRED DAVIS, The Enterprise
Like fallen rap legends Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., Chad "Pimp C" Butler, who died Tuesday, also had rapped about dying too soon.In the song "One Day," the chorus is a simple message, "One day you're here, baby, and then you're gone."
Butler was 33.
Ed Winter, assistant chief of investigations with the Los Angeles County Department of the Coroner, said Butler's cause of death "is deferred pending toxicology reports."
Winter said the toxicology report will check the Port Arthur native's blood for any indication of illegal substances, drugs or medications.
The check also can determine if he died from a stroke or heart attack if certain enzymes are found in the blood.
The results are expected in six to eight weeks.
When found in his bed at the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles, Winter said, Butler, whom he described as a "big guy" at 6 feet and about 260 pounds, was on his side and probably died in his sleep.
Mama Wes, Butler's mother, said she would announce funeral plans today.
Rosalind Queen, Butler's cousin, said she didn't know of any past heart trouble or high blood pressure problems for the rapper and that the family didn't have a history of such.
Yet he may have had one genetic vice.
"We do like good food," she said.
Butler, along with fellow Port Arthur native Bernard "Bun B" Freeman, formed the pioneering southern rap duo the Underground Kingz, better known as UGK.
The group toiled in the rap industry in the early '90s at a time when East Coast and West Coast rap dominated the scene with the likes of Shakur, Biggie, and acts like the Wu-Tang Clan and N.W.A.
But it was Houston rap veteran Scarface and his group, the Geto Boys, along with the now wildly popular Outkast from Atlanta that helped Southern rap groups gain a mainstream foothold in the mid-'90s.
UGK plugged away with locally well-received albums like "The Southern Way," "Too Hard To Swallow" and "Super Tight" before their 1996 classic, "Ridin' Dirty," started to capture some nationwide attention, featuring songs like "One Day" and a Butler favorite, "Diamonds and Wood."
"It's the sound of the South," said Hezeleo, a UGK record label artist, on the impact of "Ridin' Dirty."
While the album eventually would sell over 500,000 copies and remains the duo's highest seller to date, they didn't achieve mainstream status until they joined rap mogul Jay-Z for the 2001 hit, "Big Pimpin'."
"Dirty Money," the group's sixth album, was released later that year to minimal success.
After a jail stint of three years for Butler, during which he released "The Sweet James Jones Stories," he returned in 2006 with another solo project called "Pimpalation."
UGK finally released its long-awaited seventh album, "The Underground Kingz," in August. The record debuted at No. 1.
Hezeleo said Butler, who will always be remembered by his fans as Pimp C, inspired an entire region.
"He'd always been Cadillac swangin'," Hezeleo said of the rapper's style.
As far as the name Pimp C, it's easy to figure out the "C" with the name Chad. But what about the "Pimp"?
"That was his name," Hezeleo said of the rapper's early days, "to explain he was pimping his pen and pad."