by: Pimp C
While Southern rapper Pimp C, one half of underground heroes UGK, spins stories familiar in the world of modern hip-hop, there's a grand nature to his tales that recalls 1970s blaxploitation films. On "I'm a Hustler," Pimp C weaves a vivid urban fable of a gangsta life, bolstered by an entrancing Curtis Mayfield-esque chorus. Unfortunately, he's lived that SUPERFLY life, and his second record, THE SWEET JAMES JONES STORIES, drops with Pimp C jailed for assault with a deadly weapon. However, incarceration hasn't prevented the rapper from releasing a darkly fascinating portrait of his life. One of Pimp C's strongest attributes is that, like the cultured pimp character from many movies, he's proficient and passionate in his ultra-violent turf, but is acutely aware of the world outside of it. He drops names like Johnny "Guitar" Watson with ease, while alternating modern crunk beats (as on "Hogg in the Game") with unique blues-funk loops (on the sinister "Get My Money"). Pimp C lives the life he preaches, and he conveys this with a harsh elegance that makes THE SWEET JAMES JONES STORIES both gripping and supremely funky.