Location: Charlotte, NC/Houston, TX Website: Myspace.com/bankrolljonez Over the past ten years, Bankroll Jonez has released nine albums – the ninth being a project he solicited Pimp C for a guest feature on. This feature, which was arranged through Pimpin’ Ken, ultimately led to Bankroll’s artist deal under UGK Records. “Pimp called me out to L.A. for the ‘I Choose You’ video shoot,” Bankroll remembers. “Then he brought me to Houston and I ain’t left since.” Through his persistence and a little reinforcement from UGK artist XVII, Pimp was persuaded into signing Bankroll, who says, “Everybody that Pimp signed was basically their own boss. They earned their own money and ran their own companies so all Pimp had to do was give his approval and create a 50/50 situation.” With his album completed just a few weeks prior to Pimp C’s death, Bankroll was faced with finding his own distribution. “Plans really haven’t changed,” he affirms optimistically. “We’re all pushing. I’m out here campaigning like Bankroll Obama. I appreciate what Pimp and Bun have done for me. They were my favorite artists for all that time and having the privilege to be with them is unbelievable. They’re never gonna regret fucking with Bankroll Jonez.”
Location: Beaumont, TX Website: Myspace.com/bigbubbugk As CEO of Go Gettas Entertainment, Big Bubb was introduced to Pimp C’s artist Hezeleo while marketing Go Gettas in the streets. After forming an alliance with Hezeleo and assisting him with promotions, Bubb eventually became a permanent fixture in the UGK entourage. He elaborates, “I stepped down from being CEO to help Hezeleo with UGK Records. We would be at the chicken place getting dinner and me and Hezeleo would turn it into a record store, signing autographs and everything. I was made an official member of the group just by my work ethic.” At first Pimp C wasn’t sure how to incorporate his new artist’s abilities into his rapidly growing family. Bubb states, “The grinding got me in and basically I was tuned into the marketing and sales. When Pimp realized I could rap, we did a project called The Triangle. I was trying to take off as a solo artist, but they kinda looked at me and Hezeleo as a group so we went forward as a group.” Coinciding with the group concept, Pimp began arranging the UGK Posse project. “Pimp hosted albums and mixtapes for a few artists and it was kind of unbalanced with him trying to figure out the next artist to come out, so he figured he could bring everyone out together.” Although Pimp never saw the results of his plan carried out, the UGK Posse album is still a vivid dream for Bubb and his labelmates. As Big Bubb continues to bring Pimp’s dream to life, he also focuses on his own goals and those of his associates, stating, “Every individual in UGK Records plays their part. It keeps the record company going forward. The next thing for me is becoming a household name and getting my artistry heard. Once that happens, I’ll put artists out under my independent label. I’m gonna host parties, mixtapes, and do shows. I’m just trying to stay busy so Pimp C’s legacy can go forward. I’m gonna help Bun B and he’s helping us at the same time. We’re all leaning on each other right now.”
Location: Port Arthur, TX Website: Myspace.com/djbdo Raised in Port Arthur on UGK classics, DJ B-DO initially joined the rap game as a DJ in high school. A one-stop-shop for music, B-DO raps, produces, and engineers. Both his production and lyrical skills are demonstrated on “Grind Hard,” a selection off of UGK’s first album. “I’m one of Pimp’s secret weapons. He had a production company called the 808 Boyz with me, Pimp, Avery, and Below,” B-DO continues. “When Pimp passed we were working on many projects. Me and T.O.E. were working on a project called Da Underdawgz. We were working on the UGK Posse project with everyone. We’re still working on everything now.” While still constructing Pimp’s visionary Underdawgz album, B-DO is searching for solid ground as a solo artist. He states, “UGK is all family. Everybody’s collectively getting everything together. We got our project basically finished. We’re just trying to create situations for ourselves with some majors. Ain’t nothing stopped. Pimp wouldn’t want us to stop.”
Location: Port Arthur, TX Website: Myspace.com/tgrugk “I’ve known Pimp and Bun since back in the day when everybody first started rapping,” Helezeo expresses with honor as he introduces his history with UGK Records. Although he wasn’t aiming to become a member of Pimp and Bun’s crew, he always viewed them with respect. He continues, “I was doing my thing, selling CDs out the trunk, just trying to pave my own way. I was on the corner out pumping a CD and Pimp’s brother-in-law put me down with Pimp’s mama. Pimp was locked up at the time.” Soon afterwards, Mama West became Hezeleo’s manager.
Upon Pimp’s long awaited release, the dream of UGK Records fully materialized. Pimp began sharpening Hezeleo’s skills and assisted with hosting Hezeleo’s project Block Stars Volume 1. The project featured some of Pimp’s other artists like X-Mob and Smoke D. “Pimp brought us together and it was a real family vibe. I was there to do whatever he needed me to do, whether it was carrying bags or being an artist. He took me on tour. We did a lot of exclusive stuff, family stuff, and business stuff. It was a great experience.” With the current situation seeming gray, Hezeleo is positively contemplating his visions. He says, “We used to have these big barbeques, when we would unwind. No cameras, no groupie shit, it was just family. This is when you would see Chad Butler just clown and make a nigga laugh. I envisioned us working hard, with our families missing us, and we’d come back home to these times and realize what the sacrifice was all about. I envisioned us being older, flyer than a muthafucka, chillin’ with our family, knowing we had just stomped a mudhole in the game. I’ma really miss that. I hope Pimp can do that in his mind, spirit, and heart.” While some dreams may seem distant, others are clearer. In his solo efforts, Hezeleo is working with the Fleet DJs on several mixtapes as well as finishing up his album Tribute to the King. The album will utilize several beats that Pimp C set aside solely for the purpose. He’s also promoting the Pimp C Forever t-shirts whose profits are distributed amongst Pimp C’s family. The UGK Posse album is still in the works, along with a UGK Posse DVD. He sums up his outlooks by pointing out, “We’re all solo artists, but once we combine the efforts it’s real powerful.”
Location: Beaumont, TX Website: Myspace.com/ivorypdapimp Hailing from the Beaumont corner of the “Golden Triangle” (Beaumont, Port Arthur, Orange), Ivory P was introduced to Pimp C through Pimpin’ Ken. “I’ve been in the rap game since the late 90s,” Ivory begins his story. “My passion was music but I was always getting street money. I’m a real pimp. I’ve caught three dope cases and been to pen and stayed silent. I had street credibility and Pimp just saw that I was real with what I did.” Over the past year, Ivory P became tight with Pimp C and began contributing to the UGK Posse album. “Pimp looked at me as the future of UGK Records,” he states. “He really had big plans for all of us. He was a good dude; he helped a lot of people. He said whatever the fuck was on his mind. He was a true friend of mine. Things have been hard since he passed.” As the dust settles on their recent loss, UGK Records must move forward. “I ain’t gonna say things are on hold but they’ve been prolonged.” He adds, “We’re still mourning but at the same time, we’re keeping shit going for him and we got Bun’s back 100 percent.” In his future, Ivory has scheduled the release of his solo album Ivory P the Chosen One which features Gucci Mane and Pittsburgh artist Ray Zellous. “We’re still wreckin’ this shit and repping UGK for life,” Ivory concludes.
Location: Port Arthur, TX Website: Myspace.com/toepa15 Residents of the same city, T.O.E. and Pimp C met in the streets of Port Arthur and quickly became tight. “Pimp put me on this rap music thing,” T.O.E. begins, “I grew up on UGK. If you wasn’t listening to UGK out here, then you really didn’t know what was happening.” Along with Pimp C and B-DO, T.O.E. was recently working on a group project called Da Underdawgz. The album was close to completion when Pimp passed and T.O.E. and B-DO are left to finish the project devoid of their mentor and business partner’s direction. Although his physical presence is no longer with us, Pimp C will forever live in the lyrics he left behind. Da Underdawgz project will include several Pimp C verses as well as his group’s solo tracks. T.O.E. adds, “We’re still in the lab continuing our things that we got going. We’re doing everything we’d be doing if he was still here. We check on his family and kids, making sure everything’s good. Me and Bun still have a great relationship. We want to keep on going with it ‘cause that’s what we know he’d want us to do. It’s what we got to do.”
Location: Lake Charles, LA Website: Myspace.com/viciousraps Vicious credits Pimp C with guiding his career since his first record. He was originally part of the X-Mob group and eventually went on to appear on the UGK album. Currently releasing several mixtape projects, including Am I My Brother’s Keeper, Vicious is waiting patiently to launch his full length record under UGK Records. When asked about his imminent plans, Vicious states, “We’re basically grinding right now and putting out everything and hoping a situation will evolve. I’m still in the streets until then. I also a hot song called ‘That Ain’t My Hoe’ that’s out as well.” Just like every other member of the UGK Posse, Vicious also keeps the memory and wishes of Pimp C close at heart. “UGK Records is an institution and we’re trying to represent for the Pimp. It’s all 100 over here. UGK Records till I die. I’m also a big muthafuckin’ supporter of Trill Entertainment as well.”
OZONE MAG // 77
Ozone Mag #65 - Mar 2008