One of the original members of UGK discusses founding the group, his coming up with the name, Pimp C, UGK’s legacy and more.
Big Mitch has done a lot in his life. The Port Arthur native was a local football star, a successful rapper who is still active, and he was one of the founding members of UGK. When we sat down with him he revealed to us the group’s origins, the existence of unreleased UGK music, his future plans and more.
When are you going to release another album?
Big Mitch Iz The Foundation is my latest album; Big Mitch Iz Still Smokin was the first album. I have a full platter, man!
I have a group called Da Federation, that will be dropping soon. In the group, we have DJ Bird, Lucci Bones, Lady V, Ricky Diamondz and me. There are others, but that’s the nucleus.
I have two albums already done and ready for release, about to shoot a few videos, launching my website with paraphernalia and merchandise, and adding exclusive unreleased music to the “true” UGK Fans. We’ll also be selling vintage cars and stereo systems. They’re other things, but that’s in the near future.
What do you miss most about Pimp?
I miss Pimp a lot, but most of all I miss him just being himself, Chad Butler.
How’d you personally come up with the UGK name?
The name was made up by me because Chad and I needed a new name for our group when our old group was breaking up. We had demo tapes in the surrounding areas that people had purchased from us and we’d hear our music at dances and park venues. We were the top group in our area, so being that the only scene we had at the time was “underground”, I added kings to the name, thus, Underground Kings.
Do you regret leaving the group for football? What was your career like?
I never regretted it; it was all GODS PLAN. I will ALWAYS be The Founder with a place in the group, no matter what. As far as my football career was concerned, it never took off because the letters of intent were bogus. The athletic program didn’t have any money to recruit players, so I just concentrated on my academics.
You were not just a Texas rap pioneer, you were one of the first believers. What did you see?
I always knew we would make it, just didn’t know how or when. Chad and I had a work ethic like no other in our area. We stayed doing songs in his mother’s house, in his room, all the time. I saw the vision and it manifested in February 92.
Did you read/like Julia Beverly’s book about Chad?
Julia’s book was very cool because most of the info came straight from Mama Wes. The people that were interviewed knew Chad personally.
What was Mama Wes like?
Mama Wes was strong and very straight forward; no chaser! She had permission from my parents to get in my ass if I got outta line at any time! She wanted the best for us, that’s why she took over as manager and she handled the biz. She managed a vending company with her husband, so she knew how to communicate with people.
Why was reggae such a big influence on UGK?
Reggae was a genre of music we both had a liking to. He was deeper into it than me when it came to the different groups. He listened to his fair share of reggae and he knew that there were not many producers sampling reggae at the time. They still don’t, but I’m bringing it back. It was important to us to have a different sound from everybody, including our Southern brethren.
Was Pimp C’s wife part of the in-crowd in Port Author?
She was popular. I didn’t know her until he actually started dating her. But, I do know that she wasn’t a bad person.
Who reminds you of UGK now?
There are NO GROUPS that remind me of Bun and Pimp… NOBODY!! The people they try to compare to them, are nowhere in their pedigree or circumference!!
To this day, cats try to produce like Pimp, but they still fall short. I’d be the closest one, because I was there from the beginning, creating a sound for us.
What was witnessing Bun’s Free Pimp C movement like?
It was what he had to do. The only way our name would stay alive was is if Bun got out there and repped for both of them. HE DID THAT!! I knew that after that, our legacy would live on beyond us and our kids.
What’s the most underrated UGK song?
There’s a few underrated songs from them. Bumper and Grill, Family Affair, Hi Side, Feel Like I’m The One That’s Doing Dope, 3 Sixteens, 3 In The Mornin’, Like Dat(remix), etc. I can go on and on about how underrated they are.
What was your best verse from recording with Pimp and Bun?
I’ve done several songs with my brothers, but the best one is 3 In The Mornin’. Some of the songs we did, didn’t get cleared because of expensive samples. I will release those songs soon.
Did you foresee Mr. Boomtowns success?
Mr. Boomtown and I were in a rap group together before me and Chad were. We were one of the reasons Chad and Bun started rapping. He was an accomplished athlete in high school and college. We also played football together in junior high and high school. I didn’t foresee him being a communication major, but it led to him having a lucrative career in shooting videos and movies.
What’s next for you?
The game continues to change and the powers that be are STILL WINNING! We as artists, have to continuously find ways to stay innovative and get our money. They want us to stay green and eventually, give up! A lot of artists do just that. But, it’s not even an option… the show must go on! Bun, Bird and I are going to carry this torch until we can’t do it anymore. This is a lifetime contract: #UGK4EVA!!!