Robert Beck better known as Iceberg Slim, was an American pimp who subsequently became The book claims that during his career he had over women, both black and . Jump up to: Valdivia, Victor W. "Iceberg Slim: Reflections". “[In Pimp], Iceberg Slim breaks down some of the coldest, capitalist concepts I've ever heard in my Author interviews, book reviews, editors' picks, and more. Editorial Reviews. Review. "THE BEST KNOWN PIMP OF OUR TIME"--Hollie West for The 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.” An immersive experience .
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Pimp book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Robert (Iceberg Slim) Beck's first book is told without bitterness and with n. Instead, he catapulted the pimp into America's pop-culture pantheon of The new book “Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim,” by. [In Pimp], Iceberg Slim breaks down some of the coldest, capitalist concepts In the preface, Slim says it best, “In this book, I will take you, the.
Share via Email Like many people from a "non-bookish culture" I was probably always a writer, but I didn't know how to become one. In small, systems-built flats there is scant room for bookcases, so in the housing scheme where I grew up, books were passed around. Often not brilliant books, but none the less they circulated.
My own writer's journey probably started with Evelyn Waugh, via my Uncle Jack, a fireman, who was taking an Open University degree course. Waugh - who conjured worlds so different from my background - became, and remains, one of my favourite writers. The Ernest Hemingway and Jack London cult of the macho writer pretty much passed me by: I thought them all very well for the wild frontier lands of America, but writers in Britain were supposed to be like Evelyn Waugh.
So Waugh was inspirational, but he was also prohibitive - he confirmed that you had to be posh and wealthy to be a writer. This, of course, was nonsense, and I can see now that I was looking for reasons to fail, as one does when failure is the cultural expectation. To get past this means that invisible barriers have to be broken down: I found the inspiration to do that under my nose, in Scotland.
William McIlvanney, the author of Laidlaw and other books set in Glasgow, was a revelation. He wrote about people I could identify with, and they were the central characters, the stars of the show, not token villains or comedians. Kelman's insistence on an authentic voice was particularly liberating.
And then I looked further afield, to Beckett and Tolstoy and so on.
But wherever I travelled, a more surprising writer - a Chicagoan called Iceberg Slim - remained one of my biggest influences. How could you not pick up a book called Pimp written by a guy named Iceberg Slim?
The narrative had wit, verve, rage and humour. Later I learned that Slim had produced novels, too. I found a tatty old copy of Trick Baby in another shop; it had long been out of print in the UK. Any real writer should be able to speak truth to power, and do it entertainingly. After reading Trick Baby, I was sure Iceberg Slim was a writer with a mission, rather than just an entertaining street raconteur.
So I hunted down the rest of his fiction. Much of his childhood was spent in Milwaukee's poor North Side and the industrial town of Rockford, Illinois - consistently ranked as one of America's most blighted cities - before he returned to Chicago as a teenager. His father left, and his mother supported the family by working as a domestic and running a beauty shop. He later - somewhat uncharitably - credited her with having prepared him for the pimp lifestyle by pampering him during his childhood.
As a teenager in the mid 30s, Robert briefly attended the Tuskegee Institute, at the same time as Ralph Ellison, the author of Invisible Man, though the two moved in different circles, each oblivious to the presence of the other.
Robert was a tall, lithe youth he kept his good looks into late middle age, despite a fondness for cocaine, heroin and whisky , and women were drawn to him - a certain type of woman in particular.
He started pimping at 18, and plied his trade until he was 42, adopting the moniker "Iceberg Slim" along the way. It was said that he was given the nickname after standing at a bar unflappably drinking whisky as a shootout raged around him. This is no doubt a myth, though the fact that it was attached to him is telling. More likely, the name was a mundane reference to his pimp's ruthlessness and his slender build. Slim informed the archetype of the blaxploitation movie pimp and street hustler - from violent and edgy incarnations to the more benign, such as Antonio Fargas's Huggy Bear in the TV Starsky and Hutch, updated with added "ice" by Snoop Dogg in the movie version.
Slim worked Chicago's unforgiving streets, and was imprisoned more than once. He did a stretch in Leavenworth and then spent the best part of in solitary confinement at Cook County House of Corrections.
It was this last spell inside that motivated Slim to reject crime and try to write about his experiences. He moved to California in the s to pursue a writer's life, changing his name to Robert Beck, the adopted surname belonging to his mother's then husband. Pimp, described as an "autobiographical novel", was published in by Holloway House.
It makes me feel greater than those white bitches living in soft luxury. Those white broads got Nigger maids they laugh at. Black and low as I am. The first thing Iceberg needs is a whore, and after being made a fool of more than a few times, he finally meets a woman who fits the bill. My ass bone starched on stiff point. Her big peepers were two sexy dancers in the velvet midnight of her cute Pekingese face.
She has opinions. She has demands. Since she is doing the humping that provides all the money for Young Blood Enterprises, she actually has the audacity to think she has the right to have a say in how the business is to be conducted.
She even threatens to leave. The first line of defense for a pimp is to use psychology. The most important rule of pimping is to find out the life story of every whore under his control.
It must have been a relief for many of them the times Slim went down for a hitch in the joint. For all his "hard work", Slim never seemed to achieve his ultimate dream, to be like Sweet Jones.
The top was down. My peepers did a triple take. A huge stud was sitting in the back seat. He had an ocelot in his lap dozing against his chest. The cat was wearing a stone-studded collar. A gold chain was strung through it.
He was sitting between two spectacular high-yellow whores. His diamonds were blazing under the streetlight. Three gorgeous white whores were in the front seat. He looked exactly like Boris Karloff in black-face. By the time he hits his 40s and he is doing another jolt in yet another steel casket, he realizes that his time is up.
He turns to writing his life story in the s shortly after being paroled, and Pimp is the first of several books he publishes.