The Rise of Pimpin’

A common critique of today’s hip hop culture is that everything sounds the same. That rappers are riding the wave of other rappers flows. When Migos first burst on the scene every other artist tried their hand at a triplet flow. This shouldn’t be surprising, with any other entertainment industry there are fads the become popular. Clothing designers create similar looking clothes, tv shows start being the same, and every other movie is based of another created movie. One of the most interesting trends of hip hop is the trend of a similar crime everyone seems to be rapping about. Looking back on the early to mid 2000s rap rode the trend of pimping into mainstream America somehow making it somewhat acceptable.

Pimping has been related to rap from a very early time. Rappers drew influence from pimps in very evident ways. From the way the dressed to the names they would call themselves. Early rappers such as Ice-T and Ice Cube both derived their names from the notorious pimp called Iceberg Slim. However, Pimping wasn’t the forefront of rap until much later in history. UGK signed their first deal in 1992 with artists named Bun B and PIMP C but it wasn’t until 2007 which they earned the achievement of an #1 album on the Billboard top 200. Clearly this attributed to many factors but the overall acceptance of an artist with pimp in their name clearly showed through record sales as their group sold millions of records. Underground Kingz also having one of many people’s favorite song.


One artist who carried the pimp legacy into stardom was Snoop Dogg. In 2003 on MTV’s VMA red carpet Snoop made an appearance like this.

Snoop 2003 MTV

Just a casual as fuck Snoop Dogg giving the double handguns while toting two chicks on leashes on national television. While maybe someone would assume this might cause backlash or a decline in the embrace of pimping in 2006 Snoop made the cover of Rolling Stones Magazine with the caption “At Home With America’s Most Lovable Pimp”

Snoop 2006 Rolling Stones

Saint Snoop smoking candy cane blunts


It wasn’t all just appearances and personality that America was intrigued with but the numbers speak for themselves with songs the that topped the Billboard Charts for weeks such as; Big Pimpin’ by Jay- Z obviously featuring UGK and P.I.M.P. by 50 Cent. 50 Cent had 10 year old white kids singing the chorus of being a pimp without even knowing the true meaning.

Fun Fact: the beat to P.I.M.P. was first given to D12 but passed up because they considered the beat “too weird”. Steel drums haven’t hit as hard since that record.

The highlight of the dominance of pimping in hip hop came at the 78th Academy Awards where 3 Six Mafia won the Oscar for Best Original Song with the record “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” beating out Dolly Parton and another white lady. Totally deserving of the award but this was a clear shock to everyone including Three 6. Just watch their acceptance speech and the crowd’s reaction. One of the most prestigious awards in the entertainment industry and it was a win for Three 6 Mafia, pimping, and hip hop in general.  

Juicy J wearing his best skull t-shirt for the event.


Pimping isn’t extinct in hip hop but it obviously came and went as any other trend. With other crimes like trapping and drug dealing now dominating the airwaves. Besides the nostalgia of remembering some of the best songs and moments to reach the masses this really shows how hip hop truly dominates and influences much of what is cool and entertaining. Hip hop brought pimping to the mainstream and it leaked into movies, clothes, and nearly everything else.


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