From The Well Versed
On “The Game Belongs to Me,” The late Pimp C rapped “Pimpin ain’t dead it just moved to the Web.” Somebody forgot to deliver the memo to Pimpin Ken, who asserts that pimping is alive and well in the 21st Century. However, pimping—in terms of prostitution—is very much dead according to the man who once worked hoes on the track.
These days, you can find Pimpin Ken taking the game to a new level. After moving from the streets to the corporate suites with the Simon & Schuster backed Pimpology: The 48 Laws of the Game, Ken crafted the world’s first Pimp College through his Web site, PimpinKen.net.
TWV caught up with Pimpin Ken and his assistant TP to get the inside scoop on Pimp College, why the streets aren’t the way to go, and why working yourself as hard as you’d work a hoe on the streets is the new way to pimp.
The Well Versed: Talk to me about the idea to start an online Pimp College.
Pimpin Ken: Once the book did numbers, we decided that we were going to go with our ultimate plan to convert it into a curriculum. Basically Pimp College is a reiteration of the book by way of video camera. They gave me six figures for the book but I’m not going to stop there. My book is my hoe. My website is my hoe.
TWV: TP, how’d you get down with Pimpin Ken and the Pimp College?
TP: Being an ex-member of the game, I reached out to Pimpin Ken for endorsements and guidance. What I lack he has and vice versa. Seeing the need for the youth to have a bridge between business and what they call hood culture.
TWV: For people who hear the word “pimp” and think of street life, what do you say to those who are skeptical of the project?
PK: For the person not familiar or interested with the game, I want to say, when MTV says “Pimp My Ride,” does that mean that your ride is a hoe? It’s all about definition and the power to define. Most times people let others define who they are. When we say “pimp,” we don’t mean something derogatory. We’re taking control and are on top of our game. [People] know most pimps control their women. So we’re going to take the women and the male chauvinism out of that.
Pimp doesn’t have a negative depiction when used in a certain vernacular. Define things on your own; don’t let others tell you pimp is derogatory. Usher and Beyonce have used the word pimp. Even Kid Rock had a song and it was one of the number one songs in America.
TWV: When did you realize you could be bigger than the streets?
PK: After HBO’s “Pimps Up, Hoes Down.” In 1996, I was going from the sewer to entrepreneur, from the city blocks to Wall Street stocks. So instead of pimping women, I’ma pimp Ken. We don’t need the female or the chauvinism. When you go to Barnes & Noble and Borders and you see Pimpin Ken’s book on the shelves, first thing you have to say is “I can do it [too].” Just like when I saw Iceberg Slim, I said, “I can do this one day.” We are the example. We can be crack heads, jail birds or converts.
TWV: Understandable. It still seems like people may be apprehensive about embracing the word “pimp.” What are people missing?
TP: I think what people need to understand is that pimping is a mentality. It takes a certain type of mentality. In the hood or in business, it’s like running a major company. This is what the kids see as the pimp. Everybody in the world wants to be a businessman. That’s what we realized. This is a mentality that we want to teach.
TWV: So pimping is basically getting the most out of life and your circumstances?
TP: That’s the whole thing—wanting more out of life. Never being satisfied. If you’re actively pimping [on the streets] you may have to hide or go to jail. You’re getting money, but you could be doing something else. This woman could be a building, or a Website
TWV: Ken, you’ve appeared with a lot of hip hop artists over the last couple of years, how’d you get involved with the music business?
PK: I didn’t know people were overwhelmed by the words I put together, like “make your next move be your best move.” I didn’t know [my words] were exciting. I saw that people loved the way I talked and the way I dressed. Entertainers used to ask me, “What are you? What group you sing for?” They knew the way my attire was that I was about my business.
HBO blew it out of proportion. I’m cruising and bruising. In my world it’s me and a bunch of girls. Here I am on HBO and this show blew it out of the water. I was getting interviews and people were calling me to do shows and parties. I took the opportunity to meet 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Diddy. Pimp C, Too Short.
TWV: So it was the rappers that pushed you more into the spotlight?
PK: They said I need to do interviews and albums. They see how hard we mash on ourselves. You look at Twitter or Facebook and we’re on every 20 minutes. We’re everywhere. And that’s how the bitch would be and she’d be hoeing all day and all night. That’s how we think. We got to treat ourselves the same way. You say “Damn Ken, 18 hours on the computer?” It’d be the same way [on the streets].
TWV: A lot of hip hop music glorifies the life you used to lead, what do you tell the young kids coming up about avoiding the pitfalls you experienced?
PK: If you’re doing anything wrong, it’s a matter of time before you get caught. As little kid, we were robbing banks, we were giving the lady change and when she turned away we’d take the money. When we got caught, the detective broke it down for me. He said, “We were going to catch you anyway. You can only work so many hours because the bank is open from 8-5. From 5-8, we’re open; we’re investigating you 24 hours a day. All we’re waiting for you to make is one mistake.”
When he told me that, it woke me up. You are not slicker than these people. They’ve got cameras everywhere. When you have all this stuff, you only have that because the law is letting you have it. The police are going to let crime persist. When guys get indicted, they’ve been investigated for three years. If they’re hooking their boys up, they’re hooking the feds and the state up with a bigger indictment. We’re all working for the man. It’s called the criminal justice system.
TWV: So all that glitters isn’t gold? Is pimping—in the traditional sense of pimps and hoes—dead?
PK: I tell them don’t believe the hype. Pimping as we once knew it no longer exists. Before, females couldn’t hustle unless she had instructions. Now you got Craig’s List and the Internet; a woman can hide away at a hotel and do it all herself. Women aren’t obligated to anything anymore. If you want to get to pimping, pimp yourself. Do like Pimpin Ken did. That’s better than working for somebody for minimum wage, but you will have to work.
Some of you guys ain’t gon’ make it and some are on your way to jail. I can’t save you, some of you are too far gone and some don’t give a damn. I’m not biting; you can throw that hook back in the water. Most of the people who got all the money are square people. Donald Trump is considered a square but he’s busting real moves. All these geeks, Mark Cuban and Steve Jobs and Bill Gates; they’re squares but they’re the riches squares on Earth.
The money is not in the hustle. It’s coming up with the ideology. Most of the dealers on the corner are like Fortune 500 CEOs: they got workers, employees and distribution. All this is the game and it’s all you do. You just have to go from the ghetto streets to the executive suites. Pimps have to go from the sewer to entrepreneur.
TWV: Your Website says the Pimp College has something to offer women as well. Since women have often been on the wrong side of the game, what’s in it for them?
PK: The principles we’re teaching are unisex. Universal principles like “Purse First, Ass Last.” Just get your money up front. We want to talk about “Get Name in the Game.” If you want to model, you want to have a name like Naomi [Campbell], Tyra [Banks] or Kim Kardashian. The people who’ve got names, these are the people with the big deals. Law 16: “Give Motivation and Inspiration.” Whoever you deal with you want to leave that person with a smile on their face. You want to give them the information they need and the news they can use.
I talk about getting rid of all the “ifs” and the excuses. Write your goals down. After you set goals, have a strong desire to pursue them. Be persistent, do not procrastinate. These are things you would learn at Carnegie or from “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, or Sun Tzu. All of these are things women can learn too.