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UGK (short for Underground Kingz) is a hip-hop duo from Port Arthur, Texas. Formed in 1987 by long-time friends Chad "Pimp C" Butler and Bernard "Bun B" Freeman, they are highly respected by many of their peers, due in part to their longevity and their entrenchment in hip-hop's underground.
UGK released their first album in 1988. Titled The Southern Way. UGK major label debut album Too Hard to Swallow. While it featured several new recordings, it also featured several songs that had been culled from The Southern Way.
UGK sophomore album Super Tight... Unlike their previous effort, it managed to break into the Billboard Hot 200, but ultimately peaked at #95. UGK third album was Ridin' Dirty. It performed better than either of its predecessors, and almost broke into the Billboard Hot 200's top-ten, before stopping short at #15. Ridin' Dirty would also be UGK's last album for the time being, as they went on a five year hiatus not long afterward.
In the interim, UGK made a high-profile guest appearance on Jay-Z's 2000 smash hit "Big Pimpin" and also appeared on Three 6 Mafia's hit "Sippin' on Some Sizzurp" later the very same year.
Further problems arose when Pimp C was incarcerated for an aggravated gun assault charge on January 28, 2002. Throughout the time of his incarceration, Bun B carried on the UGK name by making numerous guest appearances on songs by other artists, with every appearance either mentioning Pimp C or featuring a "Free Pimp C!" or "Free the Pimp" chant.
As a result of Pimp C's incarceration, both members of UGK began solo careers out of necessity. Rap-A-Lot Records released Pimp C's solo debut, Sweet James Jones Stories, on March 1, 2005. Bun B later released his own solo foray, Trill, on October 18, 2005.
On December 30, 2005, Pimp C was released from prison and is on parole until December 2009. He released his first post-incarceration album, titled Pimpalation, on July 25, 2006. He and Bun B are working on UGK's seventh album, tentatively titled U.G.K. Underground Kingz.
The album is reported to have 32 tracks spanning two discs, featuring guests Rick Ross, Three 6 Mafia, Slim Thug, Sleepy Brown, as well as hiphop legends Kool G Rap, Mike Dressel, Craig Weaver, and Big Daddy Kane on a Marley Marl produced track titled "H-Town".