The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Fans can expect long lines and a large crowd at the Museum of the Gulf Coast Sunday when hip-hop/rap duo UGK is inducted into the Music Hall of Fame, said Shannon Harris, museum director.
While the museum can admit up to 350 people Sunday, fans would only be admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis, Harris said. The museum would first admit the people on a VIP list provided by Bernard “Bun B” Freeman and the family of Chad “Pimp C” Butler.
In order to include those who would not be present at the induction, the museum planned to stream live video of the 2 p.m. induction and exhibit unveiling on its website.
Harris said the museum saw similar crowd situations when it inducted Stephen Jackson and Raymond Meyer into its Sports Legends Gallery. The museum let people in as it was able to and did not have any problems, just a whir of excitement, she said.
Jackson signed autographs for those who did not make it inside, but Harris said she had no indication that Bun B would do the same.
News of the induction spread via word-of-mouth and social networking, Harris said. The museum had received feedback primarily from Facebook and word-of-mouth, she said.
Bun B and the family of Pimp C donated the objects that would be installed in the permanent exhibit, Harris said.
Weslyn “Mama Wes” Butler, the artists’ mother and manager, said she was incredibly excited about the upcoming event.
“This is something ‘C’ really dreamed about for years, and for me it’s a bittersweet thing because he’s not here to see it, yet I know he’s smiling down,” Butler said. “And for Bun, I’m excited for him, too. He deserves to have this honor.”
Chad “Pimp C” Butler died in December 2007 at the age of 33. His death was ruled an accident caused by sleep apnea aggravated by the use of prescription cough medication. More than 2,000 people attended his funeral at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center.
UGK, or Underground Kingz, was an American hip-hop duo from Port Arthur that formed in 1987. Many considered the group to be pioneers of Southern rap and hip-hop.
UGK released its first major label album, “Too Hard to Swallow,” in 1992. Several other albums followed, making their way onto the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. The self-titled album, “Underground Kingz,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in August 2007.
The group has been featured on hit singles by other artists, as well, such as “Big Pimpin’” by Jay-Z and “Sippin’ on Some Syrup” by Three 6 Mafia. UGK’s guest appearance on “Big Pimpin’” earned the group a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 2001. During this time, Butler also founded UGK Records in late 2005.
Soon after Butler’s death, UGK was nominated again for a 2008 Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for “International Player’s Anthem (I Choose You).” The group’s eighth and final album, “UGK 4 Life,” was posthumously released in 2009, featuring all new material recorded before Butler’s death.
Admission to the 2 p.m., Dec. 2 Music Hall of Fame induction at the Museum of the Gulf Coast is free. The permanent exhibit will be on display after Dec. 2, as well.
The Museum of the Gulf Coast is located at 700 Procter St. in downtown Port Arthur. It is owned and operated by the Port Arthur Historical Society in partnership with Lamar State College-Port Arthur and the city of Port Arthur. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information call 982-7000 or visit www.museumofthegulfcoast.org.
Staff writer Mary Meaux contributed to this article.