Influential Southern rapper Pimp C died of an accidental overdose of a combination of drugs he had named in his lyrics - codeine and promethazine, the county coroner’s office ruled Monday.
The drugs are key ingredients in “syrup,” a narcotic of choice in Southern rap circles that was most famously celebrated by Three 6 Mafia and Pimp C’s group Underground Kingz in the 2000 single “Sippin’ on some Syrup.”
The coroner’s office said Pimp C had sleep apnea, which causes people to stop breathing for up to 30 seconds at a time while sleeping. That illness combined with large amounts of prescription-strength cough syrup is what killed the rapper, coroner’s Capt. Ed Winter said.
DJ Screw, another influential figure in the Texas hip-hop scene, died of a heart attack in 2000 after a reported overdose of codeine-laced cough syrup.
Pimp C, born Chad Butler, was 33 when he was found in his bed Dec. 4 at the upscale Mondrian hotel in West Hollywood. The coroner’s office said his body was decomposing when it was found.
With partner-in-rhyme Bun B, Pimp C was half of the pioneering Port Arthur, Texas-based rap duo UGK. The group’s self-titled CD topped the Billboard charts last year. Pimp C had been working on a solo effort before he died.