A Pimp's Revenge | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

A Pimp's Revenge

I couldn't help but smile as I watched Memphis rap group Three 6 Mafia accept their Oscar this month for Best Original Song. Not because they didn't deserve it. Oh no, Three 6 has been holding it down for nearly a decade. They've cruised just under the crossover radar since the mid-'90s with several regional and a few national hits. Of course, being that they're so close to Jackson, they're extremely popular here.

I didn't smile because it was an "upset," either. Of the nominated songs, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" best captured the essence of the movie it came from ("Hustle & Flow"). And it certainly wasn't because it was the "Academy Awards." The pomp and circumstance of the event never meant much to me anyway.

Nope, I was ecstatic because I knew that their win would piss some people off! I was almost euphoric watching those stuffed shirts squirm in their seats as the group gave the night's most energetic performance. The look on some of those faces as Three 6 accepted their Oscar—priceless! Well deserved for a bunch of folks who probably didn't believe that rappers "belong" at such an event.

Purists were already in an uproar because "Hustle & Flow" actor Terrence Howard was nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal of a pimp trying to break into the hip-hop game. Never mind that the movie and soundtrack were good. Hollywood has always thought of themselves as "the beautiful people," better than the rest of us. How dare you cheapen our event by letting these "rappers" perform. Ha! I absolutely love it!

Most insulting, the show's producers didn't think the group had enough sense to tone down some of the lyrics for the event, even though they agreed to write a G-rated version, which they performed. That good old three-second tape delay made necessary by Janet Jackson's right nipple was in full effect. I wonder if Dolly Parton's performance was under that same scrutiny? For all of the money it makes, hip-hop is still seen as a stepchild. After eight albums and millions of records sold, Three 6 doesn't get their kudos until after they win an Oscar.

On the bright side, I see it as validation for our art form. Hollywood can no longer sit back and capitalize off hip-hop's popularity without dealing with it face to face. You can't sit in your penthouse offices and send some young intern out into the hood to bring you that next rapper to cast in your movie or contribute to your soundtrack. You're going to have to let us up that elevator.

My hat is off to Three 6 for taking one for the team. Even though most of our detractors don't think so, Three 6 lasted four minutes without cursing and will probably enter a new tax bracket because of it.

Excuse me while I revel in the fact that some folks aren't happy about it. Hip-hop is about being rebels; we don't care what you think (sometimes). Realize now that you can't ignore us! The red carpet just got a little cooler. I may even watch the whole show next year.

And that's the truth ... sho-nuff!

Previous Comments

ID
71861
Comment

Indeed, it's hard out here for a pimp, so I gotta keep hustling. I love the drive, beat, and cadence of the music and voices, but I hate pimps. I hope the group keeps doing well musically and financially, but, most of all, realize pimping ain't easy, moral or legal.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-03-22T18:05:42-06:00
ID
71862
Comment

I love the title of this article:) I like three 6 mafia and am elated that they won an academy, I didn't get to see the performance :( , but I know it was off the hook! Kamikaze, I understand exactly how you feel about their victory being another persons grief. But that's what racks in the dough and keeps the ratings high! Their win put hip hop and rap on another level in some aspects and there are some people who don't want to see the hip hop industry suceed, despite the millions and billions of dollars the industry rakes in each year. They say it's hard out here for a pimp: I wonder what it's like for a simp!

Author
jan2006
Date
2006-03-23T14:15:58-06:00
ID
71863
Comment

Perhaps those individuals “squirming in their seats” were rather doing so in reaction to the glorification and personification of the callous and degenerating “pimp culture”.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2006-03-23T15:01:26-06:00
ID
71864
Comment

Perhaps they were. Or perhaps they were squirming in their seats due to the unfamiliar. Unfamiliar leads to uncomfortable, and I bet many of those individuals felt rather uncomfortable during three 6's performance. I don't agree with the lifestye of a pimp per se, but I know it exists in this world whether right or wrong. I wonder how many of those squirming individuals actually seen the movie. The movie actually had a decent plot and possesed depth. It did not simply glorify the pimp culture. And the song three 6 wrote for the movie. Geniusi!! Its' relevance epitomizes the hard work behind any and every hustle!! (from illegal to legal) My mama taught me a long long time ago never ever judge a book by its' cover.

Author
jan2006
Date
2006-03-23T15:33:08-06:00
ID
71865
Comment

Neither of us can be sure, but I find no redeeming qualities in a song or movie about a pimp or the culture thereof! In recent years the word pimp and the culture of it all, has become very nouveau within hip hop. From Nelly and his “Pimp Juice” beverage to Snoop appearing at MTV’s VMAS with women on leashes. It is all ridiculous and should not be acknowledged or awarded!

Author
K RHODES
Date
2006-03-23T15:58:53-06:00
ID
71866
Comment

I understand where your coming from. You wrote:"I find no redeeming qualities in a song or movie about a pimp or the culture thereof!" But their are others in society who may. One thing I really liked about the movie and the song is that for other young men and women in society (and let's not forget their dreams deferred) who may have turned to "pimping" or selling their body for whatever reason, this shows one mans struggle through all his wrongdoings, while trying to make or find a right in his life. It conveys to those individuals to never give up on their dreams or themselves no matter how much wrong you've done because until the day they die it will never be too late to change. Only God can truly judge us. I totally agree with this statement: "In recent years the word pimp and the culture of it all, has become very nouveau within hip hop." It has and it needs to change, but I just don't think this movie or song glorifies pimping.

Author
jan2006
Date
2006-03-23T16:44:33-06:00
ID
71867
Comment

This is one of my favorite articles by Kamikaze. I didn't comment on the "Spike's Daze" article, because I didn't feel as though I had anything really to add. To this one I would just like to say that sometimes it takes being put outside your comfort zone in order to realize the importance of inclusion. For so long people have been isolated for various reasons, including race and social status. I think its another sign of the democratic process when we are given a fresh look at something that maybe we had dismissed. I have to say that I personally don't like the song, but I loved the performance at the awards and the care the group took in making sure they weren't an embarrassment to themselves and the hiphop community either in their show or acceptance speech. Change is good, and being open-minded to it is the gift I think Kamikaze gives us in this article.

Author
c a webb
Date
2006-03-23T21:21:02-06:00
ID
71868
Comment

As usual, I'm of two minds on this. I smiled when I saw that moment too, because Three 6 Mafia were obviously having a great time, because I actually liked the sound of the song (especially as performed by the vocalist they had--who was that, and where are her albums?), and because I thought it was appropriate to award it an Oscar regardless of the message it sends because it's understood that it's something that the semireformed pimp character in the movie, whom actor Terrence Howard has referred to as his "flawed, morally deformed child," is performing from a very low place. So there's no implicit endorsement of pimping there as there might be if it were, say, the opening theme to Rush Hour (in which case I would have a serious problem with awarding it an Oscar). These aren't the Grammys; the issue is how the music exists as part of the film, not how the music exists as an independent composition. So whether it's DJay telling us pimpin' ain't easy or Cruella de Ville telling us why she'd like to slaughter and skin dalmatian pups or Hannibal Lecter singing about eating pickled human spleens, it should be eligible for an Oscar if it tells part of the movie's story. Now, if DJay were a real rapper and the song were on the charts independently, I'd feel obligated to say that pimps are disgusting parasites who freeload off the sex industry, that they are more often than not physically and sexually abusive, and on and on. I second Ray's disgust for pimping, and I'm annoyed by the celebrity status pimps have gotten as a group. I think that bothers me than anything else about the hip-hop industry right now; I'm sick of hearing about pimp sticks and pimp juice, and find myself wondering how many of these smiling millionaire rappers would have felt if they were raped and/or beaten into submission and then found themselves offering their bodies to strange men on street corners for money. Something tells me they'd find out (as many folks countered) that it's hard out there for a ho. So in a nutshell: No problem with pimp tracks when you're playing a character. Again, Johnny Cash "shot a man in Reno just to watch him die" and I still listen to him. But I have serious problems with pimp chic, and if some folks squirmed because they thought the Oscars were honoring pimp chic, I can forgive 'em for that. It still probably deserved the Oscar. Re the censorship: I loved what Jim Emerson, Roger Ebert's blogger, had to say about that: Of course, they toned down the lyrics for the Oscarcast, but the endless repetition of the phrase "Got a whole lotta witches jumpin' ship" really became delightfully, surreally absurd after a while. Flashing back to an early Robert Altman movie, "Brewster McCloud," in which Margaret Hamilton reprised her role as the Wicked Witch of the West from "The Wizard of Oz," I couldn't help but envision a scene from "Titanic" populated entirely by green-faced, long-nosed Wicked Witches in black robes and hats, leaping off the vesssel (no flying brooms or monkeys!) and into the icy water below. And you know what happens then, don't you? They all start shrieking: "I'm melting? I'm melting!" in unison. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-03-23T23:12:56-06:00
ID
71869
Comment

"Perhaps those individuals “squirming in their seats” were rather doing so in reaction to the glorification and personification of the callous and degenerating “pimp culture”" GEEZ LOUEEEZE! Here we go again! Had any naysayers taken the time to view the film or its reviews or listen CLOSELY to the song(As TOM obviously has), you will see that the movie does NOT glorify "pimping" but highlights one man's struggle to find an alternative to that lifestyle. He showed the "non-glamorous" side of the pimp game. He showed us a flawed man who directed his passion somewhere else. Pimping is a real part of our society so why the hell do folks try to run from it everytime it appears on tv or on record. Prostitutes are real, drugs are real. Its not glorifying it to see it. Hell, its here. The character in the film wants to do somethng else. the women in the film want to do "something else" MUSIC. The song speaks on the hardships, the bad side of what some people call the "glamorous" pimp life. People tend to think its cool when it isnt. The movie and the song do the opposite of what you think K.Rhodes. Except it doesnt wag the finger in a preachy, condescending way. And the singer Tom is actually the actress who played in the film(the one who was pregnant). Terrance Howard refused to reprise his role for the performance(which I thought was a real punk move) And the song DID make the charts independently as did the whole soundtrack(and it was the Terrance Howard version as a matter of fact) doesnt make it any worse though Tom.

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2006-03-24T10:36:28-06:00
ID
71870
Comment

And lets try to continue this discussion at C.A Webb's Hip Hop Forum on April 8th. i'd like to see a lot of you bloggers in person. Lets keep up a dialogue on this. Cyrus where is that again?

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2006-03-24T10:39:52-06:00
ID
71871
Comment

Kamikaze-I'm with you on this one. That movie blew me away. And it wasn't about glorifying "pimp-dom". It was, as you say, about trying to find something better. It was about feeling trapped in a life you didn't create and wanting more. Resuscitating old dreams and finding a purpose. I loved that scene in the movie where he tells ...Christ, what is that blonde girl's name? ...Anyway, he "gives" her to some man to score a recording a mic and she tells him he can't do that and that she "needs something for herself". That she needs something more. It was the sweetest moment (I mean, as sweet as a pimp and his woman can have). It was him acknowledging that every one, EVERY ONE, has a moment in their life when they want something better for themselves. And they make a decision to do it. All around, I got no issues with this movie, or its music, winning ANY sort of award.

Author
Lori G
Date
2006-03-24T11:17:41-06:00
ID
71872
Comment

My argument is more with the writer and producers of the film. For me the film was cliche and stereotypical! For the record I acknowledge all of society, but I don’t find the interpreted metamorphosis of a pimp into some type of a folk hero much of a story worth being told.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2006-03-24T18:03:20-06:00
ID
71873
Comment

Kamikaze, just saw your post. The forum is set for the GMC Family Life Center at 1400 Robinson Road. I just got the email comfirmation yesterday from Superintendent Watkins that we can pass out flyers at the high schools this week. He thought because of the subject matter it wouldn't be as appropriate to pass out flyers at the middle schools. I will get back in town on Tuesday, so I will be working on this.

Author
c a webb
Date
2006-03-24T20:10:56-06:00
ID
71874
Comment

"but I don’t find the interpreted metamorphosis of a pimp into some type of a folk hero much of a story worth being told." ...Man!!!! you're not getting the point, but I understand everybody's not going to get it. Are people not allowed to change? Is metamorphasis for the better not a good thing. Nobody's making him a folk hero. He ws just a man who wanted to change his life. EVERYONE is entitled that right real or fictional. Pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, white collar criminals, preachers. EVERYONE should be given the right to do good. Even if they were doing basd for noble reasons. I ask that you look at the film again with an open mind and see it for what it is. I can understand your view comes obviously from a hate or disdain for society's fascination with the pimp culture, but if you do truly acknowledge ALL of society you will understand these things exist for a reason. in order to change them, we must first understand why they exist.

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2006-03-27T10:30:08-06:00
ID
71875
Comment

"He thought because of the subject matter it wouldn't be as appropriate to pass out flyers at the middle schools." So very unfortunate C.A. Those are exactly the kids who need it the most. the younger they are the better. sometimes these stuffed shirts JUST DON'T GET IT. What "subject matter" was he referring to. Rap? I didnt see anything negative in your post about the forum. And lord...if he was talking about the discussion on the "N" word. I think he probably needs to justr walk through ANY hall in ANY school in JPS and hear the word used fluently. that's EXACTLY why they need to hear it. SAD....but oh well we will march on.

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2006-03-27T10:33:27-06:00
ID
71876
Comment

I take it you have also seen Chuck D's take on this 3-6 Oscar Win and I think it is an interesting one in more ways than one, seeing as how some of the Top Execs. at some of the most heavily watched Black TV Stations are Black Women....I will bore you no longer just read the article.... http://www.publicenemy.com/index.php?page=page3 PS I am happy for 3-6 regardless those guys have came a long way.

Author
JAC
Date
2006-03-28T15:09:25-06:00
ID
71877
Comment

well brad the point is that youre able to read between the lines and pick up the message how many people can or will do this all too often we talk about music and what we take from it. clearly we are the exceptions rather than the rules you remember firewater did anyone think of the contradictions that were present in the title or did they just use the word as code for weed. lets be honest if you listen to the record you get the point if you have that point of reference. Otherwise, it’s just singing of the sorrows of a pimp. but what about those hoes, man they got it harder than a whole slew of pimps

Author
skipp
Date
2006-03-29T12:02:27-06:00
ID
71878
Comment

I saw the movie, too. I even purchased a copy of it. The movie was good but it didn't do anything, in my opinion, to show how damaging, immoral and destructive pimping really is. Singleton was careful to not make the pimp outrageously violent toward his hoes or others. Is this really reality, or is directing genius to save face or to appeal at the box office to persons beyond the hip-hop culture? Was it trickery? I'm all for a metamorphosis from pimping or anything else bad, but did this really occur? Or, did we see a person who simply wanted to do something else, too. Was pimping or the pimp, at any point, denounced as the scourge it is in the movie? Perhaps I need to see the movie again, too.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-03-29T12:38:38-06:00
ID
71879
Comment

Kamikaze gives accolades to truthless heroes. Go figure. As long as young america is singing the praises of the depraved, they too shall be depraved and in one collective "B*tch Slap" will undo all that women rights activists have worked for. Satan was a rebel and where did he end up>?

Author
ReadsomeKierkegaard
Date
2006-03-29T15:01:09-06:00
ID
71880
Comment

Satan was a rebel and where did he end up? Let's see. In the pages of The New York Times??? ;-P

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-29T16:53:04-06:00
ID
71881
Comment

Love is in need of love today. Don't delay. Send it in right away! By Steveland Morris, aka Stevie Wonder. Smile.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-03-29T17:06:05-06:00
ID
71882
Comment

Ray, I just felt you hug me through cyberspace. Thank you. ;-D

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-29T17:12:01-06:00
ID
71883
Comment

Glad I could help. You were funny though!

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-03-29T17:19:46-06:00
ID
71884
Comment

A little more Stevie Wonder for those who can hear and feel: Hate goin' round, breaking many hearts, stop it please, before it's gone too far. The forces of evil plans to make you its possession, and if we let it destroy ev-ery-body. We must take precationary measures, if love and peace you treasure, then you'll hear me when I say, Love is in need of love today. Don't delay. Send yours in right away.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-03-29T17:46:48-06:00
ID
71885
Comment

Glad I could help. You were funny though! Thanks! I feel no hate when I'm being snarky. That's just a way of thumbing my nose at those who try to ridicule me/us for having an opinion. But, I explain too much. Back to snark. Oo, la, la.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-29T18:09:46-06:00
ID
71886
Comment

I totally understand Donna. My email really wasn't for you but the other person. I'm surprised you have maintained your cool so well for so long considering the number of people who unjustly attack you. You deserve an award for that, too.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-03-29T18:20:09-06:00
ID
71887
Comment

Thanks, Ray. I have very strong self-esteem; my dear mama instilled it in me. And I'm wired in such a way that I am motivated by people trying to shut me up. The more they yelp, the louder and more determined I get. And, truthfully, I have compassion for people like that, even if I get snarky with them from time to time. That's why I try to ignore them -- or discourage them from pooping in my sandbox. I have a way with words, and it can be very sharp and painful. So I try to reserve those kinds of words for people who really deserve them, and aren't just emanating cries for attention. Now, you do stuff that will get my people, my staff, my family hurt, you better look the hell out. I'm not playing at that point. There are a few people in this city, a very few, who do everything they can to hurt me, including trying to draw real harm into my private space, and those sorry freaks better stay out of my direct path. I'll ignore them, and feel sorry for them and their miserable lives ... to a point. But they better figure out where the line is drawn. But, I must tell you, I draw strength from our history. That is, the sh!t I put up with from a bunch of scared might-have-beens is nothing compared to what the people who inspired me put up with in this state. That was courage. This is white noise. I continue to see nothing courageous about standing up for what you believe is right. It's just what life is.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-29T18:39:53-06:00

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