Officially, Pimp C died from a cough syrup overdose. It’s long been the drug of choice among Houston rappers and his death saddens me more than I can properly express. It’s not because he died as much as it’s the constant reminder that many of the people I know from Houston are now dead.
I have a google alert that shoots me an email any time anything is posted about XM or the label. Years ago, I set up the alert so I would know when he dies. Early on, I assumed it would be in a car accident — he’s on the road so much and even though he has a driver, I have often been in the car or on the bus with him going 100 mph in the middle of the night after a session or a show.
I’ve known the inevitable truth for a very long time.
Every death that’s tallied from among his friends and colleagues is another reminder that someday, I will get the phone call or an email and I will have to head to Houston for his funeral. It’s senseless. I’ve known him for over a decade. I knew him before he went to rehab (not for coke or codeine or pills or really for anything that bad — in my opinion). After he went, he was completely clean and amazing. He has a brilliant mind and I fought many battles with him and along side him.
When I watched it spin out of control as he became more successful and more caught up, I had to leave. I did not have a choice. It was basically him or me. It was ugly, but I made my stand and then left. I returned 8 months later to help him with something, but I did not see much change. Over the years, I have kept my distance, but the emotion there is very raw.
I will never forget having lunch with one of his partners, who was a codeine addict. He told me the truth XM had tried to hide from me — he was using codeine and it was out of control. His assistant pulled me aside to say, look it’s really, really bad. I tried to help him. I confronted him. I reminded him of what he was doing. I reminded him of what he’d always told me about codeine: “it’s a death sentence. No one lives beyond 35.” That was after rehab, when he still thought he’d never, ever use codeine. Right after DJ Screw died, which devastated everyone in ways I don’t think they have yet overcome even now years later.
I don’t know why he ever started. He has so much to live for, so much talent, so much promise. I’ve loved him for a very long time, though I have had to love him from afar because I cannot watch him kill himself with every sip of his drink.
Pimp C is dead. Someone I know will be next. It may be XM or it may be one of his friends. It’s a death sentence, and they know it.