Jay-Z might not have been the first New York rapper to collaborate with UGK (that honour goes to 50 Cent), but he certainly made them bigger.
Released as the third and final single off Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter, “Big Pimpin'” was a pivotal moment for Southern hip hop, featuring the respected Texas duo rapping with Jay-Z over insane Timbaland production. But have you ever wondered why Pimp C’s verse is so short?
It turns out that the late rapper hated the instrumental for “Big Pimpin'” and refused to rap to it. “It sounded like a pop record to me,” Pimp told Sway in 2005. “I didn’t want to do it. It scared me, because I didn’t know how people was going to take us going in that direction.”
“But I remember Jay telling me, ‘Look, family: It’s going to be the biggest record of your career. If you don’t do it for yourself, just do it for me.’ That was good enough for me, so I jumped on it.”
It was only after a lot of convincing from his partner Bun B and Jay-Z that Pimp eventually decided to do it, on the condition that his verse would only be 8 bars long.
“I said that’s cool, eight bars, no problem, just get on the fucking record,” Bun B explained. “This song’s gonna be a big deal. He sent it [his verse] back to me and I listened. Eight bars. I just rapped for something like 20 bars trying to out rap Jay-Z, and this motherfucker just did it in eight bars.”
For the music video, Pimp refused to travel to Trinidad, so it was only Jay-Z and Bun featured in that location. To shoot Pimp’s scenes for the video, they set up a filming spot on a beachfront mansion in Miami Beach, Florida, on the exclusive Golden Beach.
Bun B: Pimp pulls up in the Benz, with Gloria Velez, and parks near the trailers. The bodyguard’ says, ‘You can’t park here. This is Jay Z’ trailer.’ Pimp says, ‘Well that’s my trailer, right there. So I’ll tell you what. I’m fittin to park right here, and if you got a problem with it.’ Next thing him and the security guard get into it, it’s a big fucking deal, people talking about pulling guns and all this crazy shit, but five minutes later Pimp and the bodyguard are best friends. Pimp’s like, we’re fittin to get dressed and shoot with this car.’ Hype says, ‘Well, we wanted to shoot on the beach.’ Pimp says, “Nah, we fittin to shoot right here, with this car, we fittin to get dressed, we’ll be back in five minutes,” and then he comes out the trailer with a mink on and no shirt.The Insane Story of How Pimp C Hated the “Big Pimpin” Beat, Refused to Travel for Video Shoot | DJ Booth