UGK (short for Underground Kingz) was an American rap duo from Port Arthur, Texas formed in 1987 by the late Chad “Pimp C” Butler. He then joined with Bernard “Bun B” Freeman, who became his longtime partner. They released their first major label album, Too Hard to Swallow, in 1992, followed by several other albums charting on the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts, including the self-titled Underground Kingz album which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in August 2007. The group has been featured on hit singles by other artists, such as on “Big Pimpin'” by Jay-Z and “Sippin’ on Some Syrup” by Three 6 Mafia. Pimp C founded UGK Records in late 2005.
On December 4, 2007, Pimp C was found dead in a West Hollywood, California hotel room.
In 1992, UGK was signed to Jive Records under a five-album contract, releasing their major-label debut album Too Hard to Swallow.While it featured several new recordings, it also featured several songs that had been culled from The Southern Way.However, several songs that had been intended to be included on the album were excised at the last minute, apparently due to their overly explicit content. Five of these songs would surface two months before the release of Too Hard to Swallow, on an EP distributed by Bigtyme Recordz; appropriately enough, the EP was titled Banned. A popular song from the album “Pocket Full of Stones” was also included on the Menace II Society soundtrack in 1993.
Their second album, Super Tight, was released two years later, on August 30. Unlike their previous album, Super Tight managed to break into the Billboard Hot 200 and ultimately peaked at #95; their third album, Ridin’ Dirty, peaked at #15.Ridin’ Dirty would also be UGK’s last album for the time being, as they went on a five-year hiatus not long afterward.
The year 2000 became a breakthrough year for the group. UGK made a high-profile guest appearance on Jay-Z’s smash hit “Big Pimpin'” and also appeared on Three 6 Mafia’s hit “Sippin’ on Some Syrup”. Both of these collaborations greatly increased their reputation, and helped fuel anticipation for their next project. Jive Records failed to capitalize on this new-found interest in the duo, as their fourth album, 2001’s Dirty Money, came and went with little fanfare.
Further problems arose when Pimp C was incarcerated for an aggravated gun assault charge in 2002.Throughout the time of his incarceration, Bun B carried on the UGK name by making numerous guest appearances on songs by other artists, with every appearance either mentioning Pimp C or featuring a “Free Pimp C!” or “Free the Pimp” chant. Many of UGK’s peers did the same, and mentioned Pimp C in their own songs with or without Bun B.During this period, Jive Records released a Best of UGK album, as well as a Chopped & Screwed remix album. As a result of Pimp C’s incarceration, both members of UGK began solo careers out of necessity.
Rap-A-Lot Records released Pimp C’s solo debut, Sweet James Jones Stories, on March 1, 2005. Bun B later released his own solo foray, Trill, on October 18, 2005. It opened at #6 on the Billboard Hot 200, and also peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-hop Album chart.
On December 30, 2005, Pimp C was released from prison and was to be on parole until December 2009. He released his first post-incarceration album, titled Pimpalation, on July 25, 2006.
On August 7, 2007 the group released their fifth studio album, the self-titled Underground Kingz. It was a double album, containing 26 tracks and spanning two discs. Featured guests included Talib Kweli, Too Short, Rick Ross, Z-RO, Three 6 Mafia, Slim Thug, OutKast, as well as hip-hop legends Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane on a Marley Marl-produced track titled “Next Up”. The album also featured British rapper Dizzee Rascal on the track “Two Types of Bitches”, following UGK’s guest appearance in Rascal’s own album Maths + English for the track “Where’s Da G’s”. The album featured production by DJ Paul & Juicy J, Jazze Pha, Swizz Beatz, The Runners, Lil’ Jon, fellow Texas legend Scarface, and Pimp C. DJ Paul and Juicy J produced the second single, “International Player’s Anthem (I Choose You)”. They had used a similar beat on Project Pat’s album titled Layin’ Da Smack Down in 2002.
The album got a positive reception both commercially and critically. It received a 4-star rating from Allmusic, and reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 album charts. “International Player’s Anthem (I Choose You)” became the group’s only single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 pop charts, where it peaked at #70.
Death of Pimp C
On December 4, 2007, Pimp C was found dead at the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood, California, after Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to a 9-1-1 call. They arrived to his sixth-floor hotel room to find him dead in bed. This was three days after he performed with Too Short at the House of Blues in Los Angeles.
On February 4, 2008, the Insite received a call from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office with the cause of death. Officials there say the Houston rapper died from a Promethazine/Codeine syrup overdose combined with sleep apnea. His death was ruled an accident.
Bun B was interviewed a few days later by radio DJ Madd Hatta, and an audio recording has been posted online.
Bun B recently stated in an interview that there will be one last UGK album released, before he permanently becomes a solo act.”We were heavy into the meat of the album before Pimp passed,” says Bun. “The dedication song-the night I wrote it, I wanted it to be one of the last records recorded for this album after what happened.”
“Yea, we’re still putting together this last UGK record too, because there’s a lot of music that we’ve already recorded for it,” adds Bun B. “I think that album itself is going to be a little bit weird.”
|Year||Album||US 200||US R&B||U.S. Sales|
|1992||The Southern Way (EP)||–|
|1992||Too Hard to Swallow||–||37||369,511|
|2002||Side Hustles (Compilation)||70||10||88,570|
|2009||UGK 4 Life||6||2||217,220|
Chopped and Screwed (sometimes called screwed and chopped or slowed and throwed) refers to a technique of remixing hip hop music which developed in the Houston hip hop scene in the 1990s. This is accomplished by slowing the tempo down to between 60 – 70 quarter-note beats per minute and applying techniques such as skipping beats, record scratching, stop-time, and affecting portions of the music to make a “chopped-up” version of the original.
Preceding the early 1990s, most Southern hip hop was upbeat and fast, like Miami bass and crunk. In Houston, a different approach of slowing music down, rather than speeding it up, developed. It is unknown when DJ Screw definitively created “screwed and chopped” music: although people around Screw have indicated any time between 1984 to 1991, Screw said he started slowing music down in 1990 and also in Tulsa Oklahoma Dj Dinero And Dj Z-Nasty helped popularize Chopped And Screwed music in the Mid South. There is no debate, however, that DJ Screw invented the music style.” He discovered that dramatically reducing the pitch of a record gave a mellow, heavy sound that emphasized lyrics to the point of almost storytelling. After messing around with the sound for a while Screw started making full length “Screw Tapes”. At first the music was only referred to as “Screw music”, was limited to the South Side of Houston, and was seen as laid-back driving music. As Screw’s tapes started to gain popularity he started selling his tapes for around $10. Screw was known to feature some of Houston’s most renowned rappers from the South Side. This eventually led to the formation of the Screwed Up Click.
Between 1991 and 1992, there was a large increase in use of purple drank in Houston. Purple drank has been considered to be a major influence in the making of and listening to chopped and screwed music due to its perceived effect of slowing the brain down, giving slow, mellow music its appeal. DJ Screw, however, repeatedly denounced the claim that one has to use purple drank to enjoy screwed and chopped music. Screw, a known user of purple drank, said he came up with chopped and screwed music when high on marijuana.
In the mid-1990s, chopped and screwed music started to move to the North Side of Houston and to such people as DJ Michael “5000” Watts and OG RON C. It wasn’t long until a rivalry between north and south Houston started over who were the “originators” and who were the “adopters”. Michael “5000” Watts always gave credit to DJ Screw as the originator of chopped and screwed music. It is also believed that Michael “5000” Watts came up with the term “screwed and chopped”. As time passed and a younger generation got into the style, there became less worry over who was an originator of the style and who was an adopter. In the late 1990s, with the help of P2P groups such as Napster, chopped and screwed music spread to a much wider audience.
In 1999, PSK-13, an associate of DJ Screw and the Screwed Up Click (also a member of the South Park Coalition), released a screwed version of his album Pay Like You Weigh 5000  which was one of the earliest examples of a full length album being given the treatment.
On November 16, 2000 DJ Screw died from a lethal combination of codeine and alcohol. Shortly after the passing of Screw, screwed and chopped music spread all over the southern United States. Later in 2000, the Memphis based group Three 6 Mafia came out with their song “Sippin’ on Some Syrup”. The song at first was just a minor hit but later became one of Three 6 Mafia’s most popular songs.
In 2001, 8Ball & MJG released a screwed version of their album Space Age 4 Eva (2000). The mixing was handled by Michael “5000” Watts of the famed Swishahouse, being the first screwed and chopped release on a major label.
In 2003, David Banner released a screwed and chopped version of his album Mississippi: The Album, being a first by an artist from Mississippi.
In 2005, the first screwed and chopped albums were added to the iTunes shop catalog.
In 2006 Chamillionaire’s The Sound of Revenge (Screwed & Chopped) by OG Ron C became the most successful screwed and chopped album to date.
In 2010 a Chopped n Screwed app was released for the iPhone and iPod Touch in the iTunes App Store. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chopped-n-screwed/id396656782?mt=8
In 2011,University of Houston Libraries acquired over 1,000 albums owned by DJ Screw.Some of the albums will be part of an exhibit in early 2012 and the rest available for research in 2013.
Today it is still common to see screwed and chopped versions of mixtapes and albums released alongside the regular speed versions, sometimes in a double disc format with one disc screwed and the other regular speed.
Chopped and screwed music was created by DJ Screw in the early 1990s. Part of the chopped & screwed music scene is a beverage known as purple drank (the active ingredients being codeine and promethazine; the color purple, which is usually present as a dye in the “drank,” has also become a symbolic color or motif to identify chopped and screwed versions of songs or whole albums. The 2007 documentary film Screwed In Houston produced by VBS/Vice Magazine details the history of the Houston rap scene and the influence of the Chopped and Screwed sub-culture on Houston hip-hop.
*Article Published By Mississippi Sipp Of Kandy Paint Content on behalf of Wiki and the Chopped & Screwed Culture.
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