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Pimp

The Story of My Life
Written by: Iceberg Slim
Narrated by: Cary Hite
Length: 11 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (76 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A blueprint. A bible. What Sun Tzu’s Art of War was to ancient China, Pimp is to the streets. As real as you can get without jumping in, this is the story of Iceberg Slim’s life as he saw, felt, tasted, and smelled it. It is a trip through hell by the one man who lived to tell the tale—the dangers of jail, addiction, and death that are still all too familiar for today’s black community. By telling the story of one man’s struggles and triumphs in an underground world, Pimp shows us the game doesn’t change; it just has a different swagger.

Only Slim could tell this story and make the reader feel it. If you thought Hustle & Flow was the true pimp story, this book is where it all began. This is the heyday of the pimp, the hard-won pride and glory, small though it may be; the beginnings of pimp before it was dragged in front of the camera, before pimp juice and pimp style. Though it is a tale of his times, it will remain current and true for as long as there is a race bias, as long as there is a street life, as long as there is exploitation.

©1969, 1987 Iceberg Slim (P)2011 Blackstone Publishing, and Urban Audiobooks

What the critics say

“Iceberg Slim was the godfather of a genre.” (K’wan, #1 Essence best-selling author)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

fantastic way with words

this book holds your attention waiting to hear the next line, paints a beautiful picture of something so dark

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Absolutely Fascinating!

Enjoy Iceberg Slim's tails I was sad when the book was done! Great listen....huge eye opener to a dark world!

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Utterly riveting.

The combination of narration and writing here is about as perfect as one could ask for. Pimp: The Story of My Life is the true memoir of a pimp in the 1930s and 1940s. It is brutal, unflinchingly honest, funny, terrifying, stylized, concise, oppressive, and one of the most riveting books I have ever read. Start to finish, I probably completed the book in three days (which is fast for me, given it's 11 hours). It is brilliantly written, the author was a true talent. Introduced by the author as a cautionary tale, it reads more as a guidebook to the aspiring pimp, player, or even just a cagey entrepreneur trying to survive in a cutthroat environment. Ice-T said that "'Pimp' was the first real black experience put into a book," and given the fact that the story takes place before rap, before hip-hop, before the crack epidemic, and before even the civil rights movement, it is an astonishing look at what the urban black experience was like in the first half of the 20th Century. Also, if you need a guidebook on 20th century slang, this is the ultimate codex. If you get lost, bear with it, there is a glossary at the end. Highly recommend this book to anyone looking to expand their horizons.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • 2018-06-02

Any good pimp is his own best company

"Any good pimp is his own best company. His inner-life is so rich with cunning and scheming to out-think his whores."
- Iceberg Slim, Pimp: The Story of My Life

Iceberg Slim dances on that thread between unapologetic and remorseful. He loves and hates his mama. He loves and hates the game. This isn't a book you read because you want eroticism. This isn't Les Miserables. There isn't much at the end that redeems the story or the storyteller. HOWEVER, Iceberg Slim can write. His narrative is sharp. His stories are fascinating. His impact is large. Published in 1969, this book presented one hard, dark edge of black literature. It wasn't James Baldwin for sure. It shared more with William Burroughs. It somehow carved a bit of poetry out of depravity, misery and yearning. It inspired writers, rappers, and comedians for generations. Think of names like Ice-T. Ice-Cube. Think of acts like Richard Pryor and David Chappelle.

I had been aware of Iceberg Slim, but had never read him. It was while watching Dave Chappelle's "The Bird Revelation," however, when I decided I NEEDED to read Iceberg Slim sooner rather than later. It was Chappelle who opened my eyes a bit to how understanding Slim's perspective on pimps and whores gave one a larger understanding of capitalism, power, and race in America.* So, I didn't need to enjoy this book to get something from it.

* According to Robin D. G. Kelly, in her New Yorker profile of Robert Beck, aka Iceberg Slim “Pimp,” Beck’s most popular work, is also his least political.
20 likes

30 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • K3n
  • 2018-02-10

Cary Hite enhances a great story

If you could sum up Pimp in three words, what would they be?

A Harsh Reality

Who was your favorite character and why?

Candy was my favorite character; dumb, pretty, got OUT the game.

Have you listened to any of Cary Hite’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is my first one

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The moment he saw his Mom's suitors from back in the day. I really thought he was going to kill that guy

Any additional comments?

IT..... bothers me that this book has become a lifestyle guide for so many black celebrities. This tale, not only highlights many of the problems within the black community (addiction, drugs, petty grievances, white oppression, implied lack of parental figures), but it may glorify a lifestyle that is responsible for a lot of pain, personal pain according to this memoir. I'm blown away at how someone could read this story and say "Yeah, this could be me." I worry about consciousness of my people that we would lift up this lifestyle.

This book inspired the likes of Ice Cube and Ice Tee, Dave Chappelle referenced it brilliantly in latest stand up, so I was very interested to see why. After finishing it, even with Cary Hite's briliant performance, this is not a thing that I could get behind. Please do not misunderstand, "The Godfather" has inspired millions of criminals, hell probably not as many as "Mein Kampf", but my gripe is not with the author, my gripe is with America. Why are we fostering an environment that destroys people like this.

The most important take away from this book was the way he grew up. He has chances to grow into a productive member of society, but one thing led to another, leading him down a path of darkness. It's like he was a smart kid that woke up in a nightmare, and the only way he could get by is pimping. A story like this does not move me to pimping, it moves me to unity. The community needs people to support it, so no one falls through the cracks. I'm glad people have made careers off this inspiring story, but don't go telling children that this man was a role model. Later years? Surely, because people can change, but to see this as a guide to pimpin? BRUH

28 people found this helpful

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  • arizzle
  • 2018-01-06

I have to thank Dave Chapelle for this...

I heard this mentioned during his Netflix special. As a white man who grew up in the most traditional and sheltered manner possible, I can't think of a more direct road to scraping the opaque naivete from my eyes about the underbelly of our society - black or white. My jaw was left agape more than once listening to this man's saga. But what's more, is the disgust I feel when I pause to reflect on the disgusting, vile behavior of the authority figures, institutions, or prominent social figures of his day who seem to simply drift across the stage of his life. Volumes could be written about the sins of his world. I don't mean those committed by him, but by you and me. We're all complicit.

A must read.

71 people found this helpful

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  • Darrell
  • 2012-11-01

Excellent Urban Literature

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is a Urban readers paradise. It tells it straight forward and as the actual character would view the situation. Very raw and paints vivid pictures.

What did you like best about this story?

The Hardcore, Urban feel

What does Cary Hite bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He gives the emotion, feeling and the anger that you may not get from reading.

10 people found this helpful

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  • James Brown
  • 2013-05-05

"Extremely Real"

What did you love best about Pimp?

The raw, and blatant honesty.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character was Iceberg Slim. The reason is that I love the fact that he did not try to display himself as some kind of godlike figure, with this being an autobiography about his life. Instead he explained everything about his life, from child to middle-aged Man. From a non-pimp adolescent to a retired middle-aged Pimp. The good, the bad and the "extremely ugly." And from there he let the reading hear, feel, and interpret his story, as they so choose. Autobiographies like this are without a doubt "The most interesting."

Which scene was your favorite?

His entire 1st, jail stent.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I did not have an extreme emotional reaction, but I did have an extreme intellectual reaction. But seeing the ugliness of one man's horrors and mistakes in full detail, has help me mentally check my own deficiencies.

6 people found this helpful

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  • SIR_FERRO
  • 2016-05-05

Pimp, well, it's kind of heart breaking.

Pimp is part coming of age tale of a young man , part survival, and and ultimately true story of becoming a pimp. Despite, what you think about slim he tells the cautionary tale of hustling the streets.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Violetkupcake
  • 2013-04-22

And you think you have heard it all...

Where does Pimp rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's the top 5 by far!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Pimp?

I'm still reading it, but it is funny, sad, and serious at the same time

Which character – as performed by Cary Hite – was your favorite?

He does the characters very well! he never bores me or cause me to lose intrest

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The beginning when he mentioned his own trama at the age age of three years old. I have heard lots of stories but this takes the cake on child abuse.

Any additional comments?

Understanding the slang in the book is a bit hard to grasp at first, but the story is so good, you get it after a while.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Grand Finesse
  • 2017-10-25

Better than I thought

Very descriptive and great story. if you interested in The Sporting Life then this book will pierce your interest very deeply.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Caitlin
  • 2016-03-07

Raw and real, incredible story

Loved it! The vocabulary from that time period is great, the narrator really captivates the reader while telling this incredible story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • why about this
  • 2015-09-05

Game

LRP's long range pimping. Should be heard by everyone. Good from start to finish. Peace

1 person found this helpful