Pimp

The Story of My Life

About The Book

“[In Pimp], Iceberg Slim breaks down some of the coldest, capitalist concepts I’ve ever heard in my life.” —Dave Chappelle, from his Netflix special The Bird Revelation

An immersive experience unlike anything before it, Pimp is the classic hustler’s tale that never seems to go out of style.

Iceberg Slim’s autobiographical novel sent shockwaves throughout the literary world when it published in 1969. Groundbreaking for its authentic and oft-brutal account of the sex trade, the book offers readers an unforgettable look at the mores of Chicago’s street life during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. In the preface, Slim says it best, “In this book, I will take you, the reader, with me into the secret inner world of the pimp.” With millions of copies sold, Pimp has become vital reading across generations of writers, entertainers and filmmakers alike, making it a timeless piece of American literature.

Excerpt

Pimp PREFACE
In this book I will take you, the reader, with me into the secret inner world of the pimp. I will lay bare my life and thoughts as a pimp. The account of my brutality and cunning as a pimp will fill many of you with revulsion, however, if one intelligent, valuable young man or woman can be saved from the destructive slime; then the displeasure I have given will have been outweighed by that individual’s use of his potential in a socially constructive manner.

I regret that it is impossible to recount to you all of my experiences as a pimp. Unfortunately, it would require the combined pages of a half-dozen books. Perhaps my remorse for my ghastly life will diminish to the degree that within this one book I have been allowed to purge myself. Perhaps one day I can win respect as a constructive human being. Most of all I wish to become a decent example for my children and for that wonderful woman in the grave, my mother.

Pimp 1
TORN FROM THE NEST
Her name was Maude and she Georgied me around 1921. I was only three years old. Mama told me about it, and always when she did her rage and indignation would be as strong and as emotional perhaps as at the time when she had surprised her, panting and moaning at the point of orgasm with my tiny head wedged between her ebony thighs, her massive hands viselike around my head.

Mama worked long hours in a hand laundry and Maude had been hired as a babysitter at fifty cents a day. Maude was a young widow. Strangely, she had a reputation in Indianapolis, Indiana as a devout Holy Roller.

I have tried through the years to remember her face but all I can remember is the funky ritual. I vaguely remember, not her words but her excitement when we were alone.

I remember more vividly the moist, odorous darkness and the bristle-like hairs tickling my face and most vividly I can remember my panic, when in the wild moment of her climax, she would savagely jerk my head even tighter into the hairy maw.

I couldn’t get a breath of air until like a huge black balloon she would exhale with a whistling whoosh and relax, limply freeing my head.

I remember the ache of the strain on my fragile neck muscles, and especially at the root of my tongue.

Mama and I had come to Indianapolis from Chicago, where since the time when she was six months pregnant, my father had begun to show his true colors as an irresponsible, white-spats-wearing bum.

Back in that small town in Tennessee, their home town, he had stalked the beautiful virgin and conned her into marriage. Her parents, with vast relief, gave their blessing and wished them the best in the promised land up North in Chicago.

Mama had ten brothers and sisters. Her marriage meant one less mouth to feed.

My father’s father was a skilled cook and he passed his know how to my father, who shortly after getting to Chicago scored a chef’s job at a huge middle-class hotel. Mama was put on as a waitress.

Mama told me that even with both of them working twelve hours a day, six days a week they couldn’t save a nickel or buy furniture or anything.

My idiot father had come to the big city and gone sucker wild. He couldn’t stay away from the high-yellow whores with their big asses and bitch-dog sexual antics. What they didn’t con him out of he lost in the cheat crap joints.

At the hotel one night he vanished from the kitchen. Mama finally found him thrusting mightily into a half-white waitress lying on a sack of potatoes in a storage room, with her legs locked around his back.

Mama said she threw everything she could lift at them. They were unemployed when they walked away from the shambles.

My father tearfully vowed to straighten himself out and be a man, but he didn’t have the will, the strength to resist the cheap thrills of the city.

After my birth he got worse and had the stupid gall to suggest to Mama that I be put on a Catholic Church doorstep. Mama naturally refused so he hurled me against the wall in disgust.

I survived it and he left us, his white spats flashing and his derby hat at a rakish angle.

It was the beginning of a bitter winter. Mama packed pressing irons and waving combs into a small bag and wrapped me warmly in blankets and set out into the bleak, friendless city to ring door bells, the bag in one arm and I in the other.

Her pitch was something like this, “Madam, I can make your hair curly and beautiful. Please give me a chance. For fifty cents, that’s all, I will make your hair shine like new money.”

At this point in the pitch Mama told me she would slip the blanket aside to bare my wee big-eyed face. The sight of me in her arm on a subzero day was like a charm. She managed to make a living for us.

That spring, with new friends of Mama’s we left Chicago for Indianapolis. We stayed there until nineteen twenty-four, when a fire gutted the hand laundry where Mama worked.

There were no jobs in Indianapolis for Mama and for six months we barely made it on the meager savings. We were penniless and with hardly any food when a tall black angel visiting relatives in Indianapolis came into our lives.

He fell instantly in love with my lissome beautiful mother. His name was Henry Upshaw, and I guess I fell as hard for him as he fell for Mama.

He took us back to Rockford, Illinois with him where he owned a cleaning and pressing shop, the only Negro business in downtown Rockford.

In those tough depression times a Negro in his position was the envy of most Negro men.

Henry was religious, ambitious, good and kind. I often wonder what would have happened to my life if I had not been torn from him.

He treated Mama like she was a princess, anything she wanted he got for her. She was a fashion plate all right.

Every Sunday when we all three went to church in the gleaming black Dodge we were an outstanding sight as we walked down the aisle in our fresh neat clothing.

Only the few Negro lawyers and physicians lived as well, looked as well. Mama was president of several civic clubs. For the first time we were living the good life.

Mama had a dream. She told it to Henry. Like the genie of the lamp he made it a reality.

It was a four stall, opulent beauty shop. Its chrome gleamed in the black-and-gold motif. It was located in the heart of the Negro business section and it flourished from the moment its doors opened.

Her clientele was for the most part whores, pimps, and hustlers from the sprawling red light district in Rockford. They were the only ones who always had the money to spend on their appearance.

The first time I saw Steve he was sitting getting his nails manicured in the shop. Mama was smiling into his handsome olive-tinted face as she buffed his nails.

I didn’t know when I first saw him that he was the pin-striped snake who would poison the core of our lives.

I certainly had no inkling that last day at the shop as live billows of steam hissed from the old pressing machine each time Henry slammed its lid down on a garment.

Jesus! It was hot in that little shop, but I loved every minute of it. It was school-vacation time for me and every summer I worked in the shop all day, every day helping my stepfather.

That day as I saw my reflection on the banker’s expensive black shoes, I was perhaps the happiest black boy in Rockford. As I applied the sole dressing I hummed my favorite tune “Spring Time in the Rockies.”

The banker stepped down from the shine stand, stood for a moment as I flicked lint from his soft, rich suit, then with a warm smile he pressed an extravagant fifty-cent piece into my hand and stepped out into the broiling street.

Now I whistled my favorite tune, shines were only a dime, what a tip.

I didn’t know at the time that the banker would never press another coin into my hand, that for the next thirty-five years this last day would be remembered vividly as the final day of real happiness for me.

I would press five-dollar bills into the palms of shine boys. My shoes would be handmade, would cost three times as much as the banker’s shoes, but my shoes, though perfectly fitted would be worn in tension and fear.

There was really nothing out of the ordinary that day. Nothing during that day that I heard or saw that prepared me for the swift, confusing events that over the weekend would slam my life away from all that was good to all that was bad.

Now, looking back remembering that last day in the shop as clearly as if it were yesterday, my stepfather, Henry, was unusually quiet. My young mind couldn’t grasp his worry, his heart break.

Even I, a ten year old, knew that this huge, ugly, black man who had rescued Mama and me from actual starvation back in Indianapolis loved us with all of his great, sensitive heart.

I loved Henry with all my heart. He was the only father I had ever really known.

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.

That last night at eight o’clock Dad and I flicked the shop’s lights out as always at closing.

In an emotion muffled voice he spoke my name “Bobby.”

I turned toward him and looked up into his face tense and strained in the pale light from the street lamp. I was confused and shaken when he put his massive hands on my shoulders and drew me to him very tightly just holding me in this strange desperate way.

My head was pressed against his belt buckle. I could barely hear his low, rapid flow of pitiful words.

He said, “Bobby, you know I love you and Mama, don’t you?”

His stomach muscles were cording, jerking against my cheek. I knew he was going to burst into tears.

I said as I squeezed my arms around his waist, “Yes, Daddy, yes, Daddy. We love you too, Daddy. We always will, Daddy.”

He was trembling as he said, “You and Mama wouldn’t ever leave me? You know Bobby, I ain’t got nobody in the world but you two. I just couldn’t go on if you left me alone.”

I clung tightly to him and said, “Don’t worry Daddy, we’ll never leave you, I promise, honest, Daddy.”

What a sight we must have been, the six-foot-six black giant and the frail little boy holding on to each other for dear life, crying there in the darkness.

I tell you when we finally made it to the big black Dodge and were riding home my thoughts were turning madly.

Yes, poor Henry’s fears had foundation. Mama had never loved my stepfather. This kind, wonderful man had only been a tool of convenience. She had fallen in love with the snake all right.

His plan was to cop Mama and make it to the Windy. The dirty bastard knew I would be excess baggage, but the way Mama was gulping his con, he figured he could get rid of me later.

Only after I had become a pimp years later would I know Steve’s complete plot, and how stupid he really was.

Here this fool had a smart, square broad with a progressive square-john husband, infatuated with him. Her business was getting better all the time.

Her sucker husband was blindly in love, and the money from his business was wide open to her. If Steve had been clever he could have stayed right there on top of things and bled a big bankroll from the businesses in a couple of years.

Then he could have pulled Mama out of there and with a big bankroll he could have done anything with her, even turned her out.

I tell you she was that hot for him. She had to be insane over the asshole to walk away from all that potential with only twenty-five hundred in cash.

Steve blew it in a Georgia-skin game within a week after we got to Chicago.

I have wished to Christ, in four penitentiaries, that the lunatic lovers had left me in Rockford with Henry when they split.

One scene in my life I can never forget and that was that morning when Mama had finished packing our clothes and Henry lost his inner fight for his pride and dignity.

He fell down on his knees and bawled like a scalded child, pleading with Mama not to leave him, begging her to stay. He had welded his arms around her legs, his voice hoarse in anguish, as he whimpered his love for us.

His agonized eyes walled up at her as he wailed, “Please don’t leave me. You are sure to kill me if you do. I ain’t done nothing. If I have, forgive me.”

I will never forget her face, as cold as an executioner’s, which she was, as she kicked and struggled loose from him.

Then with an awful grin on her face she lied and said, “Henry, Honey, I just want to get away for a while. Darling, we’ll be back.”

In his state she was lucky he hadn’t killed her and me, and buried us in the backyard.

As the cab drove us away to the secret rendezvous with Steve sitting in his old Model T, I looked back at Henry on the porch, his chest heaving as tears rolled down his tortured face.

There were too many wheels within wheels, too much hurt for me to cry. After a blank time and distance we got to Chicago. Steve had vanished and Mama was telling me in a drab hotel room that my real father was coming over to see us, and to remember that Steve was her cousin.

Steve was stupid all right, but cunning, if you get what I mean.

Mama, at Steve’s instruction, weeks before, had gotten in contact with my father through a hustler brother of Mama’s in Chicago.

When my father came through the hotel room door reeking of cologne and dressed to kill, all I could think was what Mama had told me about that morning when this tall brown-skin joker had tossed me against the wall.

He took a long look at me. It was like looking in a mirror. His deep down guilt cream puffed him and he grabbed me and squeezed me to him. I was stiff and tense in the stranger’s arms, but I had looked in the mirror too when he came in, so I strung my arms limply about his neck.

When he hugged Mama, her face was toward me and stony, like back there with Henry. My father strutted about that hotel room boasting of his personal chef’s job for Big Bill Thompson the mayor of Chicago.

He told Mama and me, “I am a changed man now. I have saved my money and now I really have something to offer my wife and son. Won’t you come back to me and try again? I am older now, and I bitterly regret my mistakes of the past.”

Like a black-widow spider spinning a web around her prey, Mama put up enough resistance to make him pitch himself into a sweat then agreed to go back to him.

My father’s house was crammed with expensive furniture and art pieces. He had thousands of dollars invested in rich clothing and linens.

After a week, my hustler uncle brought Steve to visit us, and to case the lay out. My father bought the cousin angle and broke out his best cigars and cognac for the thieves. It was another week before they took him off.

Remember, at the time I had no idea as to what really was going to happen. I would learn the shocking truth only after we got to Milwaukee.

On that early evening when it happened Mama was jittery as we prepared to visit some close white friends of my father. I had a wonderful time getting acquainted with the host’s children who were around my age. Too soon it was time to go home.

In my lifetime I have seen many degrees of shock and surprise on the human face. I have never seen on any face the traumatic disbelief and shock that was on my father’s face when he unlocked the door and stepped into his completely empty house. His lips flapped mutely. He couldn’t speak. Everything was gone, all the furniture and drapery, everything, from the percolator to the pictures on the wall, even my Mama’s belongings.

Mama stood there in the empty house clinging to him, comforting him, sobbing with real tears flowing down her cheeks. I guess she was crying in joy because the cross had come off so beautifully.

Mama missed her calling. She should have been a film actress. With only a bit part, an Oscar a season would have been a lead-pipe cinch for her.

Mama told my father we would go to Indianapolis to friends until he could put another nest together.

When we got to Milwaukee by train, ninety miles away, Steve had rented a house. Every square inch of that house was filled with my father’s things.

Those lovely things did us little good and brought no happiness. Steve, with his mania for craps, within weeks had sold everything, piece by piece, and lost it across the craps table.

Mama worked long hours as a cook, and Steve and I were alone quite often.

At these times he would say, “You little mother-fucker, you. I’m going to beat your mother-fucking ass. I am telling you, if you don’t run away, I’m going to kill you.”

He was just so cruel to me. My mother had bought me a little baby cat. I loved that kitten, and this man hated animals. One day the cat, being a baby cat, did his business on the kitchen floor.

Steve said, “Where is that little mother-fucker?”

The little kitten had hidden under the sofa. He grabbed that kitten and took it downstairs where there was a concrete wall. He grabbed it by the heels. I was standing (we lived on the second floor) looking down at him; he took the kitten and beat its brains out against that wall.

I remember, there was a park behind our house, concrete covered. There were some concrete steps. I sat there and I cried until I puked. All the while I kept saying like a litany, “I hate Mama! I hate Mama! I hate Mama!” And, “I hate Steve! I hate Steve! I hate him! I hate him!”

For many tortured years she would suffer her guilt. She had made that terrible decision on that long ago weekend.

I know my lousy old man deserved what happened to his goods. I know Mama got her revenge and it was sweet I am sure, but it was bitter for a kid like me to know that Mama was part of it.

Perhaps if Mama had kept that burglary cross a secret from me, in some tiny way I might have been stronger to fight off that pimping disease. I don’t know, but somehow after that cross Mama just didn’t seem like the same honest sweet Mama that I had prayed in church with back in Rockford.

I went to her grave the other day and told her for the hundredth time since her death, “Mama, it wasn’t really your fault. You were a dumb country girl, you didn’t understand. I was your first and only child. You couldn’t have known how important Henry was to me.”

I choked up, stopped talking to her beneath the silent sod, and thought about Henry lying rotten, forgotten in his grave.

Then, through my tight throat I said to Mama, “To you he was ugly, but Mama I swear to heaven he was so beautiful to me. I loved him Mama, I needed him. I wish you could have seen beyond his ugly black face and loved him a little and stayed with him. Mama, we could have been happy, our lives would have been different, but I don’t blame you. Mama, I love you.”

I paused looking up at the sky, hoped she was up there and could hear me, then I went on, “I just wish you were alive now, you would be so proud of me. I am not a lawyer as you always wanted me to be, but Mama, you have two beautiful grandchildren and another on the way, and a fine daughter-in-law who looks a lot like you when you were young.”

The grave next to hers had visitors, an old man and a bright eyed girl about ten.

I stopped my bragging until the pair walked away, then I said, “Mama, I haven’t shot any H in ten years. I haven’t had a whore in five years. I have squared up, I work every day. How about it Mama, Iceberg Slim a square? You wouldn’t believe it Mama, I wear fiftydollar suits right off the rack, and my car is ten years old, you gotta believe it now Mama. Goodbye Mama, see you at Christmas, and remember, I’ll always love you.”

When I walked away from her grave I thought, “I don’t know, maybe that prison head-shrinker was right when he told me I had become a pimp because of my unconscious hatred for my mother.”

I know one damn thing, I can’t help crying at her grave almost as if I was crying because I did so much to put her there. Maybe the hidden hate that I can’t feel wants me to laugh that she’s down there in the earth. Maybe my crying is really laughing.

About ninety days after Steve smashed my kitten Mama cast off her spell, and one gray April dawn while Steve lay in a drunken, open-mouthed stupor, Mama and I packed what we could carry and moved into a hotel room. It was complete with hot plate and down-the-hall toilet.

Steve had stomped on three and a half years of our lives. I would soon be fourteen.

On August fourth, my birthday, our old friend Steve, with diabolical timing, made that event unforgettable. Since that chilly dawn in April he had searched the slum streets for his escaped dupes, thirsty for revenge.

I waited eagerly in the hotel room for Mama who had promised to bake a cake in her white woman’s kitchen. She said she would be home early at six o’clock to celebrate my birthday.

Well, she came home all right on the seventh of August, from a hospital, with her broken jaw wired, and her body covered with bruises.

Steve had stalked her and attacked her with his fists and feet and then escaped through the grimy catacombs of the Ghetto.

All that night and all the next day I crouched in the dark shadows beneath his stairwell gripping a gleaming ice pick. He never came back. He had moved.

Twenty years later, while idly looking from the window of a plush hotel suite I would see something familiar in the white-haired stooped figure of a garbage collector on the street three stories down.

I blacked out, when reason returned I was down there on the street in the bright morning sunlight, clutching a pistol, wearing only a pair of red silk pajamas.

As the garbage truck turned the corner a block away out of range, a small crowd of passersby stood bug-eyed watching the strange scene as Rachel, my main whore, tugged at my arm, pleaded with me to get off the street.

That was the last time I saw Steve, but I just don’t know, even now, what I would do if our paths crossed.

Perhaps that beating Mama took was good, as painful as it was. I remember how it worried me in that cruddy hotel room when the hotel’s neon sign outside our window would flash on her face. Her eyes would be bright, riveted on the ceiling, she would be in a trance, remembering, still hot for him.

As worthless as that bastard was otherwise, he sure must have been a son-of-a-bitch in the bed.

After all he had done to us, she still had a terrible itch for the bastard. That beating was good for her, it cured the itch.

Mama had learned a bitter lesson the hard way. The country girl had rolled in the hay with the city slicker and now I saw all of her sorrow and guilt in her eyes.

We couldn’t go back to the peaceful, green hills of Rockford. She had destroyed a good man back there, a native son. Henry died a year after we left him. Until the grave claimed her, Henry would rise from his own to haunt her in the lonely gloom.

Mama was desperate to save at least fragments of her image, to hold fast the love and respect I had for her in Rockford. I had seen too much, had suffered too much. The jungle had started to embalm me with bitterness and hardness.

I was losing, page by page, the fine rules of thought and deed that I had learned in church, from Henry to the Boy Scout Troop in Rockford. I was sopping up the poison of the street like a sponge.

I had begun to play Steve’s favorite game, craps, in the alleys after school.

Dangerously, I was frantic to sock it into every young girl weak enough to go for it. I had to run for my life one evening when an enraged father caught me on his back porch punching animal-like astraddle his daughter’s head. I had become impatient with the unusual thickness of her maidenhead.

Pimp EPILOGUE
I am lying in the quiet dawn. I am writing this last chapter for the publisher.

I am thinking, “How did a character like me, who for most of his life had devoted himself to the vilest career, ever square up? By all the odds, I should have ended a broken, diseased shell, or died in a lonely prison cell.”

I guess three of the very important reasons are lying asleep in the bedroom across the hall. I can see their peaceful, happy faces. They don’t know how hard and often discouraging it is for me to earn a living for them in the square world.

This square world is a strange place for me. For the last five years I have tried hard, so hard, to solve its riddles, to fit in.

Catherine, my beautiful wife, is wonderful and courageous. She’s a perfect mother to our adorable two-year-old girl, and our sturdy, handsome three-year-old boy.

In this new world that isn’t really square at all, I have had many bitter experiences. I remember soon after my marriage how optimistic I was as I set out to apply for the sales jobs listed in the want ads.

I knew that I was a stellar salesman. After all, hadn’t I proved my gift for thirty years? The principles of selling are the same in both worlds. The white interviewers were impressed by my bearing and apparent facility with words. They sensed my knowledge of human nature.

But they couldn’t risk the possible effect that a Negro’s presence would have on the firm’s all white personnel. In disgust and anger, I would return home and sulk. Bitterly I would try to convince myself to go back into the rackets. Catherine always said the right things and gave me her love and understanding.

There was another indispensable source of help and courage during these hard times. She’s a charming, brilliant woman. She had been a friend to my mother. She functioned as a kind of psychotherapist. She explained and pointed out to me the mental phases I was passing through. She gave me insight to fight the battle. To her I shall always be grateful.

The story of my life indicates that my close friends were few. Shortly before I started this book I met a man I respected. I thought he was a true friend. I was bitterly disillusioned to discover he wasn’t. I’m glad in a way it turned out the way it did. I’ve always come back stronger after a good kick in the ass.

I have had many interesting and even humorous experiences in this new life. They will have to wait for now. I see my little family is awake. I’ll have to light the heater. I can’t let them get up in the early morning chill.

How about it, an Iceberg with a warm heart?

Pimp GLOSSARY
APPLE, New York City

BANG, injection of narcotics

BEEF, criminal complaint

BELL, notoriety connected to one’s name

BILL, a hundred dollars

BIT, prison term

BITE, price

BLACK GUNION, powerful, thick, dark, gummy marijuana

BOO KOOS, plenty

BOOSTER, shoplifter

BOOT, Negro

BOSS, very good, excellent

BOTTOM WOMAN, pimp’s main woman, his foundation

BOY, heroin

BREAKING LUCK, a whore’s first trick of working day

BRIGHT, morning

BULL SCARE, blustering bluff

BUSTED, arrested and/or convicted

C, cocaine

CANNON, pickpocket

CAN, derriere

CAP, a small glycerin container for drugs

CAT, female sexual organ

CHILI PIMP, small-time one-whore pimp

CHIPPIED, light periodic use of heavy drugs

CHUMP CHANGE, just enough money for basic needs

CIRCUS LOVE, to run the gamut of the sexual perversions

COAST, somnolent nodding state of heroin addict

COCKTAILED, to put a marijuana butt into the end of a conventional cigarette for smoking

COME DOWN, return to normal state after drug use

COP AND BLOW, pimp theory, to get as many whores as leave him

COPPED, get or capture

CRACK WISE, usually applied to an underworld neophyte who spouts hip terminology to gain status

CROAK, kill

CROSSES, to trick or trap

CUT LOOSE, to refuse to help, to disdain

DAMPER, a place holding savings, a bank, safe deposit box, etc.; to stop or quell

DERBY, head, refers to oral copulation

DIRTY, in possession of incriminating evidence

DOG, older, hardened whore, or young sexual libertine

DOSSING, sleeping

DOWN, a pimp’s pressure on a whore, or his adherence to the rules of the pimp game; when a whore starts to work

FIX, to bribe so an illegal operation can go with impunity; also an injection of narcotics

FLAT-BACKER, a whore who gets paid for straight sexual intercourse

FREAK, sexual libertine

FRENCH, oral copulation

G, one thousand dollars

GANGSTER, marijuana

GEORGIAED, to be taken advantage of sexually without receiving money

GIRL, cocaine

GORILLA, to use physical force

GORILLA PIMP, no brains, all muscle

GRAND, one thousand dollars

H, heroin

HARD LEG, an older, street-hardened used-up whore

HEAT, police, or adverse street conditions for hustlers

HIDE, wallet

HOG, Cadillac

HOOKS, hands

HORNS, ears

HYPE, addict

JASPER, lesbian

JEFFING, low level con

JIB, mouth

KEISTER, derriere

KITE, note

KITTY, Cadillac

LARCENY, to turn against by vocal condemnation

LINES, money

LIP, lawyer

MACKING, pimping

MARK, victim; sucker

MITT MAN, a hustler who uses religion and prophecy to con his victims, usually the victims are women

MOP, hair

MUCKTY-MUCKS, a temptuous term applied to the rich and privileged by the poor and underprivileged

MURPHY, con game played on suckers looking for whores

NUT ROLL, a pretense at stupidity or unawareness

OKEE DOKE, a con game

OIL, pay-off money to the police

OUTFIT, hypodermic kit used by addicts

PACIFIER BULB, the rubber top of a baby’s pacifier used by addicts to draw up drugs through the eye dropper

PIECE, measurement of narcotics; usually an ounce

PIECE OF STUFF, one ounce of narcotics

PINNING, looking

POKE, wallet or bankroll

REEFER, marijuana

ROLLER, policeman, usually plain clothes

ROUST, stopped, harassed by police

SHAKE, extort

SHEET, police record

SHIELD, badge

SHIV, knife, usually made by convicts from various objects

SHORT, car

SIZZLE, narcotics carried on the person

SLAT, one usually refers to money or length of prison term

SLUM HUSTLER, a phony jewelry salesman

SMACK, heroin

SNATCH, female sexual organ

SNORT, sniff or inhale

SPADE, Negro

SPEED BALLS, a combination of heroin and cocaine injected

SPIC, Mexican

SPIELING, talking, a term used by older hustlers and pimps

SQUARE UP, get out of the life

STABLE, a group of whores belonging to one pimp

STALL, an accomplice of a cannon

STAND UP, to endure or survive

STASH, hiding place

STING, rob

STRIDES, trousers

STUFF ON, to play on or con

THREADS, clothes

THREE WAY, orally, rectally, vaginally

TO PULL COAT, to inform and teach

TURNED OUT, introduced to the fast life or drugs

UPTIGHT, in trouble, financial or otherwise

VIC, mark, victim

VINE, suit

WHALE, throw, usually applied to throwing dice

WIRE, information, message, etc.

YEASTING, to build up or exaggerate

YELLOW, a yellow capsule containing barbiturate powder

PRAT, to pretend rejection to increase desire

PEEL OFF, removal of only a portion of money from a wallet or roll

About The Author

Photograph used by permission of Diane Beck

Iceberg Slim, also known as Robert Beck, was born in Chicago in 1918 and was initiated into the life of the pimp at age eighteen. He briefly attended the Tuskegee Institute but dropped out to return to the streets of the South Side, where he remained, pimping until he was forty-two. After several stints in jail he decided to give up the life and turned to writing. Slim folded his life into the pages of seven books based on his life. Catapulted into the public eye, Slim became a new American hero, known for speaking the truth whether that truth was ugly, sexy, rude, or blunt. He published six more books based on his life and Slim died at age 73 in 1992; one day before the Los Angeles riots.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Cash Money Content (May 10, 2011)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781451617139

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

"THE BEST KNOWN PIMP OF OUR TIME"--Hollie West for The Washington Post

"ICEBERG SLIM WAS THE GODFATHER OF A GENRE." --K'wan, #1 Essence Best-selling author

"ICEBERG, SLIM BABY RIDE RIMS" --Jay-Z lyrics to "So Ghetto"

"ONE OF THE GREATEST BLACK WRITERS IN AMERICAN HISTORY." --Ice-T

"ESSENTIAL READING" --Irvine Welsch for The Guardian

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