The Life & Times Of One Of The Worlds Greatest PIMPS Robert “Iceberg Slim” Beck
Robert Beck (August 4, 1918 – April 28, 1992), also known as Iceberg Slim, was a reformed pimp and American author of urban fiction.
Born Robert Lee Maupin, in Chicago on August 4, 1918, he spent his childhood in Milwaukee and Rockford, Illinois until he returned to Chicago. His mother left his father to run a beauty shop and worked as a domestic to support both of them in Milwaukee.
Taking “Iceberg Slim” as an assumed name, Robert started pimping at 18, and continued until age 42, when he decided against it in 1960, after a final 10-month prison stretch in solitary confinement. At that point, he decided to write about his past instead. Slim moved to California in the 1960s to pursue writing under the Iceberg Slim pen-name, but in normal life, changed his name to Robert Beck, taking the last name of the man his mother was married to at the time.
In 1969, his first autobiographical novel was Pimp: The Story of My Life, published by Holloway House.
Reviews of Pimp were mixed; it was quickly categorized as being typical of the black “revolutionary” literature then being created. However, Beck’s vision was considerably bleaker than most other black writers of the time. His work tended to be based on his personal experiences in the criminal underworld, and revealed a world of seemingly bottomless brutality and viciousness. His was the first insider look into the world of black pimps, to be followed by a half-dozen pimp memoirs by other writers. Of his literary contribution, a Washington Post critic claimed, “Iceberg Slim may have done for the pimp what Jean Genet did for the homosexual and thief: articulate the thoughts and feelings of someone who’s been there.”
Pimp sold very well, mainly among black audiences. By 1973, it was reprinted 19 times and sold nearly 2 million copies. Pimp was eventually translated into German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish and Greek. Nevertheless, the book’s audience remained predominantly black. He wrote seven more novels. Beck has sold over six million books prior to his death in 1992, making him one of the best-selling African-American writers (after Alex Haley). All his books were published exclusively as paperbacks. Iceberg Slim also released an album of poetry called Reflections in the early 1970s.
Pimp was followed by Trick Baby, Naked Soul of Iceberg Slim, Mama Black Widow, Long White Con, Airtight Willie & Me, and Death Wish: A Story of the Mafia
In 1973 one of his reality novels, Trick Baby, was adapted as a blaxploitation movie of the same name, directed by Larry Yust.
As of 2011, Mama Black Widow has been in development with Marshall Tyler attached to direct from an adapted screenplay by Will De Los Santos. Chris Hanley and Dave Mortell are producing. Mama Black Widow is Robert Beck’s most critically acclaimed novel of his seven novels written.
A movie adaptation of Pimp has been tried for a long time. There were announcements of a movie to be directed by Bill Duke and starring Ice Cube in the early 1990s. In 2009, television executive producer Rob Weiss of the HBO show Entourage, and Mitch Davis, purchased the film rights to produce Pimp.
Robert Beck died of complications from diabetes on April 28, 1992, one day before the 1992 Los Angeles Riots erupted.
Iceberg Slim was an important influence on hip-hop artists and rappers such as Ice-T and Ice Cube and Pittsburgh Slim, who adopted their names in part from reading the author. Iceberg Slim’s last book, Doom Fox, which was written in 1978 but not published until 1998, contains an introduction written by Ice-T. Ice-T’s third album, The Iceberg, was another major homage. Most of the currently popular references to pimp culture, for example in the work of Too Short and Snoop Dogg, ultimately can be traced back to Iceberg Slim. Rapper Jay-Z also refers to himself as “Iceberg Slim” whenever discussing his adventures with women.
The Eddie Murphy character Velvet Jones from Saturday Night Live was a spoof of Iceberg Slim’s character.
Comedian Dave Chappelle often talks about Iceberg and the Game during his stand-up routines. According to him, Iceberg got his name by keeping ice-cold in a shoot-out where he stayed at the bar drinking his drink even though a bullet pierced his hat, a story told at the end of chapter 13 in Slim’s Pimp. On his 2006–07 summer tour, Chappelle told a tale of Iceberg, learning of him from Maya Angelou, and relates it to why he left $50 million at Comedy Central and secretly went to South Africa.
At the conclusion of Chappelle’s stand up routine, he compares how Slim used to blackmail his hookers, thereby forcing them to stay loyal to him. Chappelle would close his show with the saying, like Slim used to say, “Don’t ever leave me.”
Posted on August 17, 2012, in 1 Life 2 Live Da Album, Cadillac Dope Boy, Kandy Paint Records, Leland Mississippi, Mississippi Sipp, PIMP, Pimping, Sipp Ward, SippWard, Terry "Mississippi Sipp" Brisco, The Art Of Seduction, throwed in the game, WOMEN and tagged 50 cent pimp, bishop magic don juan, chicago pimps, filmore slim, gangstan brown, hip hop pimps, how to pimp, iceberg slim, iceberg slim books, iceberg slim pimp, is mississippi sipp a pimp, keep it pimping, milwaukee pimps, mississippi pimps, pimp c, pimp reds, pimp snookie, pimpen ken, pimps, pimps in the game, robert beck, robert iceberg slim, robert lee maupin, silky, snoop dogg, texas pimps, trick baby, vice lord pimps, who is iceberg slim. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.