Read pimp the story of my life by Iceberg Slim Online


Robert (Iceberg Slim) Beck's first book is told without bitterness and with no pretense at moralizing. It is the smells, the sounds, the fears and the petty triumphs in the world of the street pimp....

Title : pimp the story of my life
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 11251639
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 498 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

pimp the story of my life Reviews

  • Greg
    2019-04-01 03:37

    I bought this as an impulse purchase because it was displayed right next to the cash register at Shakespeare & Co. I'd seen it in the AK Press catalog before, and that is probably what made me pick it up. Pimp is entertaining in a kind of trashy way. It's a biography about a part of life that many middle class suburban folks like me don't know anything about. I have no idea how truthful the book is, or if it is sensationalism, or maybe even utter bullshit like those 'confessional' books written for priveleged teen fucks such as Jay's Journal, or Go Ask Alice. I don't even know why in my mind these books are all linked together in someway, maybe because of the voyeuristic thrill a reader would get? I don't know. They are all cautionary, and in that way they all fail, two of them because they are obviously bullshit, and this one because after reading it I'm sure all the good stuff the author got out of being a pimp outweighs the awfulness that followed. I imagine the reader who is setting out to follow in his pimping footsteps would also think he (or she I guess, today girls can be anything they want, even pimps if they want, right?) wouldn't make Mr. Slim's mistakes. The one thing that I did learn from this book, and it's a lesson that will stay ingrained in my head for the rest of my life is that even the freakiest bitch don't like to be hit with a wire coat hanger that's been twisted into a metal whip. Even if the woman likes being smacked around, being beaten with the coat hanger will set her straight (straight meaning here spread her legs willingly for you, and then spread them for money which she will then give to you without cheating you of any of it). I will never forget this lesson, and I'm sure one day I'll be old and senile, and people I have known for years will come visit me and I'll no idea who they are, and if I have grandchildren I won't know there names, but I will pull them close to me and tell them what to do with freaky bitches who won't do what they are told, and I hope when this day comes my family will find it cute, but they will probably just hate me and wish I was dead.

  • Alex
    2019-04-14 05:29

    Iceberg Slim didn't invent the great American pimp archetype in 1969 but he codified it, he exposed it to mass culture, so he's an influential writer. Everything from Slick Rick to blaxploitation to the pathetic "pickup artist" scene owes a debt to him. So when Robin Kelley writes for the New Yorker, "I'm always amazed when I encounter well-read people unfamiliar with Iceberg Slim," I kinda get it. But then, does influence equal value? I mean, is this a good book? Are you going to like it?It's not terribly pleasant to read. For one thing, it uses more unfamiliar slang than A Clockwork Orange. You're gonna need the glossary in the back, or a jive translator. For another, the things it describes are unpleasant. Its narrator, who is more or less actually Iceberg Slim, has a dim opinion of women. He does bad things to them. That's an understatement.He is somewhat repentant. Borrowing a trope from Fanny Hill and Vanity Fair, he presents Pimp as a cautionary tale, and unlike those two books he seems to mean it; he doesn't glorify his life. Much. Big Daddy Kane's mileage apparently varied.The book competently follows your basic biopic plot arc. Naive youngster learns the game; rises to the top of the game; hubris; fall; wisdom. (The other way these stories end is the Scarface way, but since this is a memoir you already know that's not happening.) There's a noir influence: "She was brown-skin murder in a size-twelve dress." There are some trenchant and self-aware points made about what it means for a black man to pimp a black woman to a white man. So, is it good? Sortof, sure. It does a good job of being what it is. It is well-written.So this ends up sortof in the same department as Ulysses. It's influential and effective, but you're unlikely to enjoy the actual experience of reading it. "The account of my brutality and cunning as a pimp will fill many of you with revulsion," says Slim, showing, as he often does, remarkable perception.

  • Trish
    2019-04-03 05:40

    The thing about Robert “Iceberg Slim” Beck, the reason he is so magnetic, is that he is actually not the “Iceberg” he pretended to be. In this memoir of his life on the streets, he revels in his successes but also agonizes over his failures. He seems to tell us straight: this worked, that didn’t. He concludes it is necessary to hide one’s feelings behind an icy exterior, hiding his fear and doubt and empathy from his stable of whores and from other con men on the street who would double-cross him. Beck reminds us several times how close pimping is to slavery, and where the crass brutality of it came from: ”[The book of pimping] was written in the skulls of proud slick Niggers freed from slavery. They wasn’t lazy. They was puking sick of picking white man’s cotton and kissing his nasty ass. The slave days stuck in their skulls. They went to the cities. They got hip fast.The conning bastard white man hadn’t freed the niggers. The cities were like the plantations down South. Jeffing Uncle Toms still did all the white man’s hard and filthy work.Those slick Nigger heroes bawled like crumb crushers. They saw the white man just like on the plantations still ramming it into the finest black broads.The broads were stupid squares. They still freaked for free with the white man. They wasn’t hip to the scratch in their hot black asses.Those first Nigger pimps started hipping the dumb bitches to the gold mines between their legs. They hipped them to stick their mitts out for the white man’s scratch. The first Nigger pimps and sure-shot gamblers was the only Nigger big shots in the country.”Slim introduces us to the slavery of the skin trade. Not liking the choices he had for getting ahead, Slim decides he will pimp his way to “some real white-type living.” It is a soul-crushing world of double-cons and triple-crosses and his first couple forays onto the streets bring him low. But Slim sucks up to Sweet, a master who pimps “by the book,” and learns how to beat his whores into submission for the scratch they could earn.Robert “Iceberg Slim” Beck writes in street slang but also in full, richly detailed sentences, paragraphs, and chapters that draw us in and sketches for us his shaky beginnings and long affiliation with the whoring trade. From time in the clink and from other street hustlers ‘Berg learned the necessity of applying psychology to his treatment of his whores: he used the oftentimes horribly broken life-stories of the whores against them, and used bling and flash and cunning to dazzle his stable, their tricks, and his competition. He noted his emotional reaction times also slowed considerably when he had a noseful of coke.But the beauty of this memoir is also in the writing. Slim was in and out of prison from the time he was twenty. In one of the best escape scenes I have ever encountered, Slim describes his jailbreak from one prison that crackles with tension and bravado. We are aching for him to make it outside.In the end, it is not Iceberg Slim’s cold exterior that draws us to him but his vulnerability and susceptibility. His humanity is the most endearing thing. We have reason to hate this criminal and liar. Perversely, however, we come to admire him for surviving, and persisting in learning every day. He lets us in on those lessons. It may be his best and longest con of all, and we’re all his whores.A few weeks ago I reviewed Street Poison, the Biography of Iceberg Slim by Justin Gifford. His introduction to Iceberg Slim led to my seeking out this memoir, first published in 1969. In a heartbreaking coda to Iceberg's vulnerability in learning the street game, this first book by Iceberg Slim had a wonky contract with the publisher that earned him little. He did, however, gradually earn international recognition, and the style and naked honesty revealed in this book spawned a culture in music, film, and literature that persists to this day. Years ago I'd first seen this book; at that time I believe it wore a shocking pink cover emblazoned with an eye-popping silver scrawl. There comes a time in a reading life when a book makes sense in the order of things. The time had come for me. I can promise you an unforgettable reading experience, and perhaps some insight into the life of one black man who believed his salvation lie on the street. It is a cautionary tale, and a worthy memoir of a black man in a white world.

  • Manny
    2019-03-27 22:24

    On Proxenetism and Pandering as Metaphors for Book-ReviewingFrom a feminist/post-colonial viewpoint, the activities of book-reviewing and pimping have much in common. Operating within a patriarchal structure, the reviewer-pimp claims power over the essentially female text (recall Derrida's useful concept of "invagination"), and offers it to the reader-john as part of a quasi-commercial transaction where he is paid with "likes" or "comments". Just as the pimp symbolizes dominance over his girls using clothes which present a distorted and masculinized view of their sexuality (latex dresses, fishnet stockings, etc), the reviewer asserts hierarchic superiority over the text by structural transformations like parody, satire and use of absurd pseudo-academic gibberish.To cut to the chase: Frances, thank you for a wonderfully inappropriate present! I will treasure it forever, though I am not quite sure I can guarantee that my camerawoman feels the same way.

  • Chris
    2019-04-16 00:35

    “Pimp” is fantastic. For about a decade now this has been one of my favorite books, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Granted, I should immediately admit that I probably like this book for all the wrong reasons; I’m sure that the ‘correct’ grounds for appreciating “Pimp” (if such standards have been established) are to ponder the struggles of the black man fighting to rise up in American society and to look at the infelicitous lot he’s been subjected to and to carefully inspect the inherent disparities built into ‘the system’, which are broadly applied based solely on skin color. I don’t really care about all that mumbo-jumbo, that garbage doesn’t move me nor does it inspire any worthwhile thought on my behalf. Hell, if anything, that crap pissed me off. My enjoyment of “Pimp” is certainly less insightful and far more puerile; more of an appreciation of the basest elements of the story. Slim rapping about social injustice: yawn. Slim talking all raw to the bitches in his stable before putting a foot in their ass: brilliant. Slim trash talking some jive turkey: far out. That’s right, Slim’s badass rap has inspired me to use ‘far out’ for the first time since 1988. I’m going to need to justify that, so here’s a little taste of Slim’s masterful lambasting: “Listen square-ass bitch, I have never had a whore I couldn’t do without. I celebrate, bitch, when a whore leaves me. It gives some worthy bitch a chance to take her place and be a star. You scurvy bitch, if I shit in your face you gotta love it and open your mouth wide.” I couldn’t come up with anything remotely as solid in a hundred years. With that sample alone, and considering that many rappers consider him an influence, it’s no wonder the word ‘bitch’ has enjoyed such proliferation in their craft. Needless to say, if objectifying and degrading women bothers you, “Pimp” should probably be removed from your to-read list. The story chronicles the pimping exploits of Robert Beck in the American Midwest from the 1930s to the 1950s. He starts off small-time as Young Blood, but aspires to be the best damn pimp this world has ever seen. All he has to do is learn the rules of the game from the current master, Chicago’s alpha-pimp, the badass “Sweet Jones. Sweet may be one of the most compelling and awesome figures in US History. Before even being introduced to him, Slim gets the word on the street that Sweet is “the best n!gger pimp in the world, if they got n!gger pimps in outer space he’s the best of them too, he’s lugging twenty G’s and nobody is crazy enough to try heisting him, he croaks n!ggers for recreation.” His stable reigns supreme, his bitches are obedient and focused on getting Sweet’s ass some scratch, and there’s only one bitch in the world he cares about, his ocelot, Miss Peaches. That’s right, the baddest, bigass stud in all of Chi-town spends half his scratch on diamond necklaces and little knit sweaters for his darling feline. Miss Peaches is one of the more intriguing characters of the book as well, farting in public, chomping fried chicken, and staring punks and suckas down with a icy gaze. After learning the subtle nuances of the pimping game from Sweet and his pal “Glass Top”, Slim experiences the ups and downs of the lifestyle he sought; his bitches rat him out to the feds, he almost screws a tranny in a ridiculously hilarious scene, he gets swindled and conned, he swindles and cons, he batters his trollops, goes to prison several times, pulls a jailbreak, and discovers it’s feast or famine in this cop & blow game. In spite of all the majesty within, there are a few negative elements. The first issue is pretty inconsequential: Slim doesn’t’ spend a whole lot of time describing details of the environment or setting very well, usually you’re lucky to get such scintillating descriptions like “The sky was a fresh, bright bitch.” So when he does actually throw in something a bit beefier like “the first April night had gone sucker and gifted her with a shimmering bracelet of diamond stars…the fat moon lurked like an evil yellow eye staring down.” These few instances stick out like a sore thumb and seem like someone else added them during the editing process. The larger issue I had was his rapping about being a black man in the white man’s world and the hurdles this creates for him, which is probably the message of the book, but to me it was just an annoying interruption from his god-like dispensation of wrath upon his various whores. Call me whack, but in my humble opinion, the white man did put forth the effort to come to this new world and chase off those pesky redskin devils, which does seem to make it his ‘world’, and Slim isn’t exactly making any strides towards establishing a better life for his peeps by pimping their asses on the street. Lastly, I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number the number of times he boasts about his alleged 175 I.Q, especially since he usually mentions it to show the shock of some peckerwood honky that some brother just duped him. For a guy who is usually ‘running on all 175 pistons’ he sure as hell makes plenty of stupid-ass calls, and again, doesn’t seem to realize that pimping his own people is probably why their lot in life isn’t ideal; he and his fellow whoremongers are doing more harm than the white man would even bother to. As a last note, I’m not a fan of ‘urban-lit’ or anything minority-inspired (women’s-lit, gay-lit, latino-lit, etc) as some attempt to ‘broaden my horizons’. As a rule, if I pick up a book and see some glowing praise how it ‘helped shape and define the struggles of the inuit/aborigine/future visitors from the solar system around Alcor’ my reaction will be similar to that of grabbing an electric eel. Though I firmly embrace my narrow-mindedness and ig’nance, the fact I can still enjoy “Pimp”, even for all the wrong reasons, shows the power of Slim’s daunting invective.

  • Jafar
    2019-04-17 04:24

    You can try to sanitize this book, as Ervine Welsh has done in the introduction, and treat it as report on the social conditions of the racist America of the 1940’s and 50’s and one Black man’s attempt to break out of the cycle through the only way he found possible, blah blah blah. I couldn’t be bothered with any of this. I picked up this book to read some cool pimp talk. Pimp daddies and their bitches going about their binniz. Mindless degenerate entertainment. Like watching rap videos of the most debauched type. There are passages in the book that satisfied my depraved expectations. There are some funny pimp-talk one-liners, like: I was busier than a whore on soldiers’ payday. There’s glossary at the end to help with the pimp lingo, in case you’re not hip enough.After a while the book stops being entertaining and the writing starts to feel flat. Worse, you can’t ignore the fact that it’s mostly a story of brutality and exploitation, and in the back of your mind you know you cannot justify it in spite of what the apologists tell you about racism. It stops being funny when you get to the part where Iceberg Slim uncoils a wire coat hanger to beat up one of his whores, who is also Black. I leave it to others to glorify this book. Irvine Welsh calls Slim “one of the most influential writers of our age.” Go figure. I’ll remember not to read anything by Welsh again.

  • Naomi
    2019-03-31 23:43

    This is not a book you can "like." It is a repulsive book you can learn something from and hope desperately that conditions have changed since its publication. You'll find cultural commentary and insights into the psyche, but you'll also find vile, unimaginable misogyny and disregard for humanity in general. I suppose I learned something, but the urge to vomit accompanied that awful education. Why the four stars, you say? Old Iceberg Slim's tale, in the most (for lack of any other way to say it) yucky way, shows the tremendous and awful danger that occurs when the torments of anger and hatred rise above conscience and the most basic elements of human decency and actions.

  • Kristen
    2019-04-01 05:39

    What does it mean to be a hero in an antagonistic universe?This book is a thoughtful and brutal examination of the choices one is forced to make in a world turned against the individual. In prose reminiscent of a street-wise Dostoyevsky, the author recounts the story of his life through various moralistic phases. These tend to impress upon the reader a recurring theme, not of the universe's intense silence to human cries, but of openly ambivalent laughter and playfulness that voices itself most loudly in universally relevant cosmic irony.Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in a pivotal recollection of his meeting with a quaint and attractive young woman from the suburbs. An ecstatic ascension of hopes and elation, built up over several pages, comes crashing down when through various subtleties this once thought good woman is dramatically revealed to be a man in disguise, hid behind cheapness. Our hero, setting himself apart from the ordinary individual in his place, chooses not just to run from that place, but to steal the man's piggy bank (who else would be brave enough under such circumstances?) and thereby set himself apart from the victims of his world, who huddle in cowardice under the touch of sexually ambiguous attractors.On his path to becoming a man with dominion over the streets, our hero learns, as would a prince from Machiavelli, that neighbourhood politics is of a fickle nature. One can hear the ominous echo of ancient political thought across many a page of this book. Who cares to see the parallel between Plato's Republic and our hero's contemporary treating prostitutes to a week without food will unlock the hidden meaning to this book. It hits you like a twisted up coathanger hits a hooker.There is a holiness and spiritual honesty to this work you will find nowhere else in literature. For that I give it two stars.

  • Gary Foss
    2019-03-28 03:19

    Think of the worst crimes a person can commit: murder, rape, child molestation, pandering drugs, torture, slavery. It doesn't matter which of those you think might be worse than any other. Take your pick. And then consider:The pimp engages in all those things. They are, in fact, his routine.I picked this book up after having stumbled across the documentary Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp produced by Ice-T. Here's the trailer: film was interesting enough to get me to seek out the book if for no other reason than I was curious to see how a pimp might turn pulp novelist. What it lead to was a book that has the ring of true crime novels plus the authenticity of the autobiography. Which is not to say much for truth in either crime novels or autobiographies... but more of that in a bit.What kind of person could possibly be so loathsome as to become a pimp? How could a person's humanity be warped to the point of victimizing women under the pretense of love and protection? How could anyone have any sympathy for someone who engages in the most despicable crimes?This book answers those questions because, in a surprisingly skillful way, the author, Iceberg Slim/Robert "Bobby" Beck/Robert Lee Maupin, gives humanity to the most inhuman of lifestyles. (I'm going to give the author his pen name "Iceberg Slim" for the rest of this review.) A cycle of misogyny, sadism, masochism, self-loathing and depravity are the mainstays of that existence, and they are portrayed with verisimilitude in this book. The sins of the author are comprehended by readers, we even occasionally relate to them, because of the apparent self-loathing and deep-seated trauma (in this case, Slim claims to have been molested as a child by a babysitter) that is described as their original causal motive.Please note that I say "verisimilitude" not truth. I sincerely doubt this book is a full and reliable accounting of his activities as a pimp. The prose is far too much of a pulp novel "hard-boiled" affectation to be truthful in any meaningful sense of that word. In fact, that style of prose and the particulars that are given would appear in many cases to have lead to a misinterpretation of this book as an instruction manual rather than a cautionary tale, and the author himself warned against that reading later in his career. (In a scene portrayed in the aforementioned documentary.)In reality, there are no practical lessons on pandering sex to be learned in this book. Despite that supposed reading by fans, I seriously doubt that it had a substantial effect on those who aspire to a criminal lifestyle. Like any potboiler it is as much wish-fulfillment as provocation. Rather, the supposed style presented as the mystery and allure of the pimp is, no doubt, simply a cover for the underlying and constant violence or threat of violence that is the heart of the process. It is the violence that is truly the method of a pimp. The patter is just the veneer. Learning about that veneer cannot truly prepare someone for a lifestyle filled with the most atrocious of crimes any more than reading a book about the one inch punch will turn the reader into Bruce Lee.Nonetheless, the strength of this book is in that veneer/voice. Published as the paperback dime novel equivalent of black exploitation films, Iceberg Slim's story has a voice that compares to detective novels of the preceding decades. As such, there is a considerable amount of sardonic humor, and even in the darkest of situations, the story is told with an almost nostalgic care. Granted, the book uses the "cant" of the panderer and criminal underworld of black America in the 40s through the following decades, but readers of Raymond Chandler or even Dashiell Hammett will recognize the patter and meter, if not the prose and metalanguage, of the narration by Slim. In fact, the book comes with a handy glossary in the back, apparently at the publishers' insistence, which is itself fascinating to read. It is interesting to see how much of the vocabulary that the author and publishers felt required a glossary when the book was published is part of the mainstream these days.Predictably, quite a bit of the language is sexist, racist or otherwise offensive, so if I might issue the most unnecessary warning in the history of Goodreads reviews: this book contains many trigger words for some people.The general facts presented by Slim are likely true. That is, where he says he was imprisoned and when we can probably believe. However, it is the nature of that profession (and the nature of a writer, as well as the nature of an autobiography) to glorify the self in a way that is certainly deceptive. Was Iceberg Slim molested by a religious nut babysitter when he was just little Bobby Maupin? That's hard to say. Even if one wants to believe the testimony of children in such a situation, one must temper that desire with the recognition that as Iceberg Slim he made his living as a depraved and drug-addled liar whose every word was a rationalization of his own behavior. That means that as a book it's a decent piece of work. As a confession it is almost certainly not decent (in any sense of that word.)In any case, I would recommend this book, but only to those with an interest in crime novels in the first place. For anyone wanting to see a bit of the dark side, it can be found in this book, but I would sprinkle even that assessment with more than a few grains of salt. This is a cautionary tale, but it's one that ultimately ends in redemption. It's debatable whether there really is redemption for someone whose life has been so dedicated to preying on others, and it's equally debatable whether a person who would so justify his past crimes with something like a tell-all crime autobiography has done anything to merit it.

  • Paula W
    2019-04-17 22:44

    Name the most influential writer of the 20th century. Chances are, none of you said Iceberg Slim. You could be wrong. Perhaps not, but he was way more influential than you think. Now you’re asking, “Who is Iceberg Slim, Paula, you idiot?”You might not know who he is, but I bet he influenced even you. He certainly influenced Ice-T and Ice Cube, who named themselves after him. He found his way into some songs by Jay Z, Biggie, and Nas. Jay Z actually called himself Iceberg Slim when he got his start. ‘Berg’s influence can be seen in every Chris Rock and Katt Williams standup show. There is even the “Butters’ Bottom Bitch” episode on South Park. And, of course, this book was referenced in the most recent Dave Chappelle Netflix special when he used a story from the book to explain why he left his highly successful and financially lucrative gig at Comedy Central, which is what made me pick it up. It is the cult classic that influenced people without their realizing it, kind of like how 90% of people don’t realize that “Bye Felicia” came from the movie Friday, or why people who didn’t even watch Seinfeld still say “yada yada yada” to this day. Iceberg Slim, in short, is the backbone of hip hop music, movies, TV, comedy, and is the reason you know anything at all about flashy pimps with their pimp suits and pimp tactics and.... basically pimps, in general. Maybe you don’t want to know about pimps. I didn't think I did. I could have been wrong. This book is a semi-autobiographical mostly true look at Iceberg Slim’s 25 years pimping on the street in the early part of the 1900s. A boy with a ridiculously high IQ, he was sexually abused by a babysitter at a very young age, abandoned by his father, and yanked away from a loving, stable step-father by his mother. When he ended up incarcerated before he turned 20, he spent a lot of time reading philosophy and psychology books. One would think it would have clued him in to reasons behind his misogyny and mama hatred, but he instead used the info to learn the art of master manipulation and control. Difficult as hell to read, the book is full of violence against women. He was a nasty, abusive, disgusting sonofabitch. He recognized a former “whore” years after she turned on him simply from the scars he left on her when he beat her with a braided coat hanger. His recurring nightmare was that he was beating one of his girls until he realized it was his mom. Hello, Freud? He lived a life where he couldn’t trust his employees, his friends, his family, his advisors, or even himself. But the book is also full of fantastic little nuggets like:We are the absolute bosses of that whole theater and show in our minds. We even write the script. So always write positive, dynamic scripts and show only the best movies for you on that screen whether you are pimp or priest.It isn’t exactly literary excellence, but I will never forget this book. And how could I even if I wanted to, when it has influenced our world so much? If you have the guts to take it on and the stomach to make it through the rough parts, I highly recommend this. It is one of my favorite reads so far this year.

  • Sarah Etter
    2019-03-27 04:43

    where to start with this book? some of the most gruesome scenes i've ever read, but i couldn't resist it. about three pages in, i had to put it down and take a deep breath. anyway - gut-wrenching account of life as a pimp before it became gangster rap fodder. i know there's a big debate - at least at the academic level - about whether slim wrote this book or it was ghostwritten. i'm not sure that matters to me - the story still needs to be told. it's interesting that despite the fact that slim eventually reformed, this book has some of the coldest lines ever written about women in it. the part about whores laughing is stuck in my bones now, as is much of the rest of this book. it's also really hard to resist the time period the book takes place in, and i think slim does a killer job using the lingo in a way that makes it understandable.maybe this is less a book and more an experience and a life. but it's one i'm glad i got a chance to see, no matter how horrifying it was.

  • Lee
    2019-03-23 01:19

    Entertaining to the core, but that doesn't mean Iceberg brushes over the nuance and complexity surrounding his situation. "The Skull Book on Pimping" concisely covers issues that sociologists have prattled about in dense and meaningless jargon for decades. Slim is among the few honest autobiographers in his embrace of his contradictions. The book is neither self-glorifying nor moralizing. Nor is it, and it does not pretend to be, simply the facts. Like the hip-hop music it would influence several decades later, it thrives in its own contradictions. As a Gemini, I find that sort of thing to be excessively dope.

  • Scott Rhee
    2019-04-16 04:26

    “[A] pimp is really a whore who has reversed the game on whores. So... be as sweet as the scratch, no sweeter, and always stick a whore for a bundle before you sex her. A whore ain’t nothing but a trick to a pimp. Don’t let ‘em Georgia you. Always get your money in front just like a whore.” ---Iceberg Slim, “Pimp: The Story of My Life”Robert Beck, a.k.a. Iceberg Slim, was born in 1918 to a single mother. He never knew his father, who left town before he was born. His mother worked several jobs to support them; long, odd hours that required him to stay with babysitters in the Chicago neighborhood where they lived. It was one of these babysitters that sexually molested him at age three. It’s telling and appropriate that Beck’s autobiography, “Pimp: The Story of My Life”, should open with this admission. Despite his young age, Beck vividly recalls the strange mix of terror, confusion, and excitement of that horrible incident. It was, without having been said, an experience that set the stage for his life; an experience that contributed to a confused and twisted view of sexuality and a dark misogyny that would rule most of his young life.The love-hate relationship that Beck had with his mother also started early. Beck recalls the life that could have been lived with a kind-hearted man named Henry. A devout Christian and well-to-do business owner (a rarity at the time, especially for black people), Henry Upshaw fell madly in love with Beck’s mother. Unfortunately for Henry, his feelings were never reciprocated. Beck, himself, fell in love with the man, claiming “[h]e was the only father I had ever really known.”In regards to Henry, Beck writes, “He could have saved himself an early death from a broken heart if instead of falling so madly in love with Mama he had run as fast as he could away from her. For him, she was brown-skin murder in a size-twelve dress.”Beck’s mother fell in love with a handsome young grifter named Steve, and he took her and her son away from Henry, something for which Beck was never able to forgive his mother.Beck started pimping at age 18. He attained the moniker “Iceberg Slim” from his peers due to his ice-cold demeanor toward his whores. He was violent and vicious and rarely cracked even a smile.He grew up believing that compassion and generosity were signs of weakness, that people would walk all over you if you let them. Respect was earned through fear and intimidation. It was a hard way to live.It also led him to several stints in prison. In 1961, after a ten-month stint, Iceberg Slim called it quits from the pimping game. He legally changed his name to Robert Beck (His given name was Robert Maupin) and moved to Los Angeles, where he met his wife, Betty. It was she who encouraged him to tell his story. Thus, “Pimp” was born.Beck would go on to write and publish seven more books, all of which quickly gained a following, especially among the black community. “Pimp” has consistently been in print since it was published nearly 50 years ago. Its greatest (albeit dubious) influence has been on the hip-hop movement. Rappers Ice-T and Ice-Cube acknowledge that their rapper names are an homage to Iceberg Slim. Indeed, many of their songs quote from Slim’s books. “Pimp” is not a great book. It should not be viewed as anything more than a fascinating memoir and reportage of a life amidst a criminal underworld within the black community. That said, there is, despite the blatant misogyny and violence within its pages, something extraordinarily profound about Beck’s book. Perhaps it is the fact that, from that life, Beck was still able to find some semblance of a normal existence: marriage, children, success as a writer, and a quiet death in 1992.

  • Crowei
    2019-03-26 23:24

    I wonder how many people will end up here because of Dave Chappelle's Netflix special.Interesting book, the language is coarse and rather offensive to women, but that was the times they lived in.I wonder if the pimp game today is still as complex as it was back then. I'd recommend it to everyone to read, especially if you enjoy the show Boondocks and the character A Pimp named Slickback.

  • Rebecca McNutt
    2019-04-16 05:33

    From the films and modern music videos often pushed out in the media, many people often see life on the streets, surrounded by girls, money and drugs, to be glamorous, but Pimp is one of few books that gives readers a view of the ugly side of things, as told from the perspective of a former pimp himself. Beneath the gold and lights and fast music and fun, there is crime, a false sense of materialism, prostitution, junkies and winos, hobos and crooks, corrupt cops and danger at every turn. It's an often dirty and unsafe environment, where the most vulnerable of people are exploited, and this book captures it all for what it really is, without sugar-coating anything.

  • José Vázquez
    2019-03-21 04:35

    Que toda autobiografía contiene un porcentaje de novelización es algo imposible de negar. Pero a poco que la vida de Robert Beck, más conocido como Iceberg Slim, se haya parecido a lo que aquí cuenta uno no sabe si sentir más pena o más repulsión por el personaje. Pimp no es un libro para gente que se impresiona con facilidad. Desde el relato de maltrato a la mujer a la vida en prisión para un negro en unos Estados Unidos abiertamente más racistas que su encarnación actual, Pimp es casi la definición del arquetipo del chuloputas negro que tanto abundó en la época del blaxploitation (y que hoy vuelve a nuestras pantallas con The Deuce) y que tan influyente es en la cultura del hip-hop. La leyenda dice que raperos tan famosos como Ice Cube o Ice-T sacaron su nombre de guerra de Iceberg Slim. Y por mucho que él intente planear este texto como una especie de historia de redención y de cómo puede uno salir de esa espiral de violencia, parece difícil creer que no aceptaría esos honores con orgullo.Para Slim su "profesión" era la única forma de acceder al mundo de lujo y dinero de los blancos. En ese sentido se diría que ser chulo en los 50 era el equivalente a los pandilleros que venden droga hoy en día. Y como ellos, su vida es una de violencia (también recibida, aunque sobre todo ejercida) y de altibajos. Quizá el relato se hace un poco largo y las situaciones se repiten, pero uno puede sentir por qué Pimp ejerce una influencia tan poderosa incluso hoy en muchos autores negros. De alguna forma Pimp es una especie de relato oral, una canción de blues o un rap hecho libro. Una gigantesca glosa de las andanzas de un personaje al que uno puede encontrar características similares a la picaresca del Lazarillo cuatro siglos después.Lo más "curioso" del libro es la jerga que emplea Slim, bastante críptica y no envidio nada la labor de Enrique Maldonado, traductor del libro. No es un libro para cualquiera, pero sí un libro más que recomendable para los fans del género negro (no pun intended) y para aquellos que quieran descubrir los desconocidos orígenes de buena parte de la cultura afroamericana tal y como la conocemos hoy en día.

  • Samwise Griffin
    2019-04-15 01:30

    A powerful story of underground America.

  • Cheryl
    2019-04-14 23:32

    Smooth. Slick. Poetic, slithered in pimpology.I think it is clear pimps are not nice people. They are cunning, abusive, emotionless creatures and liars. And their street walkers are lost souls, foolish and not too bright. That's why I loved this book. It's blunt, gritty, and organic. Some might read Pimp and believe it's teaching tool how to pimp and to whore. Granted, while some might read this book and take it that way, I look at it as to why one shouldn't get into the life at all. Like what Iceberg said at the end that pimping is for young, stupid men. Same can said for the street walkers, it is for young, stupid women. It is a get rich money scheme but it has its consequences. You can get locked up, addicted to drugs, raped, physically/mentally abused and/or let the game kill you one way or another. Iceberg does acknowledge behind the mask of every pimp in his biography there is a dark past into why they get into the life. With Iceberg, that was his mother. His mother plays a key role into why he chose the pimp life instead of the square life. Again fantastic look into the life of pimping by Iceberg Slim. I also would recommend reading Whoreson by Donald Goines. It's quite similar to Pimp which gives one an idea into Goines' life as a pimp. Lastly there is a documentary film based on 'Berg and on this very book that is worth checking out.

  • Samsquatch Samsquatch
    2019-04-10 01:35

    I learned everything i know from this book. I was practically raised by it, as well as sports highlights commentary reels. I currently am a pastor at the Skokie Baptist revival church in Skokieville, NY, and I make all my flock read this book. I've actually taped the pages into my bible (after Deuteronomy), so I can quote easily from it. Sure, some of the older members don't like the dirty language and risque situations (the scene where all the ho's air their battered pussies out of the side of his convertible as he drives down the street has a few double entendres that are quite graphic), but most of them sleep through church anyways. Five stars!!!!Through with the game before you knew what to do with the game,Pastor Spots

  • Zoe
    2019-04-10 02:21

    Slim writes with poetic ease of the streets, he was born with storytellers talent. He lived a hard life and was a real pimp sometimes he doesn't fully describe his pimp ways, but I'm sure he wasn't as soft as he sometimes portrays. I love all Slims books and suggest them to any one interested in the world of prostitution and big city's back in the good old days, when gangsters were truly gangsters and hustling was an exciting way of life. Similar style to my idol Herbert Huncke, pure, natural & raw.

  • Nahid
    2019-03-23 22:45

    "I tried hard to make up for all those years. I had neglected her. It's hard to square an emotional debt. That last sad day she looked up into my eyes from the hospital bed. In a voice I could scarcely hear through her parched lips, she whispered, 'Forgive me, Son, forgive me. Mama didn't know. I'm sorry.'I stood there watching her last tears rolling down her dead cheeks from the blank eyes. I crushed her to me. I tried to get my final plea past death's grim shield, 'Oh Mama, nothing has been your fault, believe me, nothing. If you are foolish enough to think so, then I forgive you."

  • Khalidalbanna
    2019-03-28 00:47

    A dark and fascinating insight on the life of iceberg slim.

  • Marsha Altman
    2019-03-29 03:20

    I tried this on a recommendation from Dave Chapelle's comedy special. It's probably an important piece of American culture, from a sociology perspective. That said, I just couldn't make it through it. I almost never give up on a book for cursing or sex, so I think it's just how much the character hates women and how dirty I felt reading it that made me put it down. Not that Iceberg Slim would be offended.

  • Wynne Kontos
    2019-03-23 01:31

    I began a "borrowing library" in my office, where I work as a social worker in the Bronx. Reading has always been a passion of mine, especially books about the city I now call home and human suffering that has always informed my work. Many of my clients don't enjoy reading, and I have few people utilizing my books, but one client in particular is a frequent borrower and when I told him I was reading this memoir, he shared with me several books that were important to him growing up, this being one of them (another was a Donald Goines novel I had already purchased but not read yet). It was an exciting moment to have a LITERARY connection with a client, and an important part of my exposure to "blaxploitation" novels. "Pimp" is a strange duck indeed. I've been working in "the hood" for several years now, but this is not where I'm from or where I live. It's where I work, and despite the deep kinship I feel to the neighborhood and the people in it, I'll always be a little bit of an outsider. Iceberg Slim brought the hood to America, and in the gritty, disgusting way it sometimes presents itself. Even though this memoir began before WW2, the language, the movement, the neighborhood, it all felt the same. In fact, I had a hard time remembering that it wasn't New York in present day. It's a story more than fifty years old that never took place in New York at all. "Pimp" is not an easy read. Slim isn't a very likable guy, and he's in an even more unlikable profession. He treats women terribly, which is to be expected because he doesn't treat himself with any love either. In and out of jail, up and down in the "game," (one day he'll have a full stable of whores, the next no one and be sleeping on the street strung out), it becomes exhausting to read let alone live in real life. The language is also difficult. Not because it's profane, but the slang is so thick it was hard to really adapt and always know what he was talking about. I also found myself disbelieving that any of the women who worked for him REALLY talked the way he wrote them. But Slim's memoir is important, it brought me a new awareness. And he's a talented writer. In the same sentence he'll describe a dirty vagina and a beautiful sunrise over the projects and neither seems out of place. There's a reason Slim was always on top of his game, no matter what game that was.

  • AJ Conroy
    2019-04-19 00:46

    "A pimp is happy when his whores giggle. He knows they are still asleep." Chilling. This was a loan from Dan. The narrator is such a bastard. If it wasn't an autobiography, it would be decried as misogynistic, which it is. But that would be the point, right? I mean, he is a pimp. He beats his women, hooks them on drugs and sucks the life out of them until they run away. Hustle & Flow owes a great debt to Pimp and its sympathetic portrayal of that world.Putting morality aside, if one can, the narrator's voice is unflinching and compelling. He also speaks with a unique vocabulary. There is a glossary in the back to help the squares. Pimp reminds me of The Invisible Man and would make a nice companion to that text. My guess is that this book would polarize its audience. Some readers might idolize Slim, some might pity him as a victim of circumstances. I think that he took his honey-tongue and went for the easy buck. He earned the misery he suffers. I'm glad Iceberg eventually found a pen.

  • Lex Alexander
    2019-04-02 05:26

    The one thing that I did learn from this book, and it's a lesson that will stay ingrained in my head for the rest of my life is that even the freakiest bitch don't like to be hit with a wire coat hanger that's been twisted into a metal whip. Even if the woman likes being smacked around, being beaten with the coat hanger will set her straight (straight meaning here spread her legs willingly for you, and then spread them for money which she will then give to you without cheating you of any of it). I will never forget this lesson, and I'm sure one day I'll be old and senile, and people I have known for years will come visit me and I'll no idea who they are, and if I have grandchildren I won't know there names, but I will pull them close to me and tell them what to do with freaky bitches who won't do what they are told, and I hope when this day comes my family will find it cute, but they will probably just hate me and wish I was dead."---Greg

  • Andy
    2019-03-29 02:33

    You've heard of Ice Tea and Ice Cube...both of whom took the name as an homage to Iceberg Slim, author of Pimp. Prompted to read this after watching the movie "Straight out of Compton", it's an autobiography of the rise and fall of a real life pimp in mid century America. The story unfolds across Rockford, Milwaukee, and Chicago, which peaked my intrigue. I was told if you were a black man in the 1970s, you read this book, along with those by Malcom X. It gives a dark insight into the misogyny that is so prevalent in hip hop, and the history of the pimp culture. It's a tough read -- think of the slang found across "On the Road" but in a crass black vernacular. It's best read as an insight into one man's view of the pimp culture, and an exposure to a time and world gone by, than as a literary experience.

  • Tariq Mahmood
    2019-04-07 05:21

    The book was a waste of my valuable time. So Ice had a pretty horrible time as a kid so he decided to avenge against all the vulnerable women of the world by living off them as they slaved into the cold dark nights? I found it quite impossible to empathize the author's methods of kicking and abusing vulnerable women in order to maintain his Pimping principles. I did find ironic that 'principles' are required for success in pimping seems similar to banking?

  • Danny Kroha
    2019-04-16 02:41

    When I first bought this book I just assumed that it took place in the '60s and '70s but it actually takes place in the '20s,'30s, and 40's and yeah, it's amazing. Told in a very straight forward matter of fact style, cold and hard and filled with old school street slang. Just like you'd expect from a guy named Iceberg Slim.

  • Thom Behrens
    2019-04-18 05:35

    This book was deeply humbling. It is deeply touching, and I found myself emotional at several points throughout.The structure of the narrative is also brilliant and gripping. Scenes are vividly set and immaculately described. I listened to it on audiobook, and I recommend this to anyone who wants to understand the lexicon through the context of inflection & conversation instead of constantly flipping back to the Glossary of Terms.