All those "Free Pimp C" T-shirts and baseball caps are no longer needed. After almost four years in prison, underground rap star Pimp C became a free man just before noon Friday, according Michelle Lyons, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Pimp C, half of the acclaimed Texas duo Underground Kingz, or UGK, was released a month after he was granted parole. He served about half of an eight-year sentence on an aggravated assault charge.
Since his incarceration in January 2002, "Free Pimp C" has been a rallying call for rappers and UGK fans across the country. Numerous rap stars have appeared in music videos and at concerts and awards shows clad in gear sporting the phrase.
Pimp C, whose real name is Chad Butler, was sentenced after falling behind on community service required after he pleaded no contest to aggravated assault. He was charged after brandishing a gun during an argument with a woman at a mall.
Several people waited for him outside of the TDCJ's Walls Unit in Huntsville and he spoke with them for about 10 minutes before leaving, Lyons said.
The Port Arthur native who turned 32 Thursday has sold well over 1 million records since 1992 from five major-label releases with UGK.
In March, Houston-based Rap-A-Lot Records released his first solo album, "The Sweet James Jones Stories," created from a series of freestyle raps he did years ago. Pimp C called the album subpar, but it still debuted at No. 3 on Billboard magazine's rap charts.
He is featured on the single "Get Throwed" from UGK partner Bun B's album "Trill" which was No. 1 on the rap charts when it debuted in October.
Bun B wasn't too fond of his own stint as a solo artist and is overjoyed at the possibilities for UGK now that Pimp C has been released.
"The album is probably going to be one of the most anticipated projects in rap," Bun B said of UGK's next project, which will be the first album with new music from the group since 2002. "I just think that as a group there's going to be a lot more things that we can take advantage of."
Pimp C spent the latter part of his sentence at the TDJC's Terrell Unit, about 35 miles south of Houston in rural Rosharon. He was transferred to the Walls Unit earlier this week.
He will be on parole until December of 2009.