"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 25 October 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.



Rosebudd Bitterdose, retired hustler and budding memoirist, is one of the featured players in the Hughes brothers' upcoming documentary American Pimp. Having played the sex game from the mid-1970s to the early '90s, he has moved into a comfortable autumnal existence as a square and author but remains dedicated to sharing his pimptuition with book-on-tape listeners everywhere. For a view of how the world's oldest middlemen are faring in the age of disintermediation, we spoke with the éminence mack from his home in Hollywood.

The movie American Pimp addresses 
the difference between 
pimp reality and the overly dramatic pimp characters 
from Blaxploitation films.

Let me tell you what the Hughes brothers actually did, because 
I went to Sundance with them. The reason pimps are 
able to catch broads like they do — not the reason but one 
big reason — is because you guys, white people; the 
media; and even some black people describe motherfuckers 
that ain't pimps. You describe whoever 
you want to describe — the big hats, the big shoes, the crazy, loud 
whatever dude. But that ain't the dude that pulls up on the broads 
and gets them to ho. The Hughes brothers
pimps from all over the country, but they were so suave, they were so on another 
level, that the people that saw it didn't want to believe they were 
pimps. When we had a question and answer session, they wanted to believe 
that the Hughes brothers set this up with all these guys. Yeah, you've 
seen the ho that's a junkie, you've seen the pimp that's a junkie, you've 
seen the pimp beat the shit out of bitches, you've seen the ho that 
looks crazy because she got ran over by a trick or whatever. But 
you've never seen motherfuckers that's real pimps. 

That's why when they showed that shit, at first, the people just 
went negative crazy. People didn't want to believe, for example, 
that if a broad didn't want to be with me, she could just get the 
fuck on outta here. They did not want to believe that. Why would you 
want to keep her if she don't want to be 
with you? But you get the media telling you, "When 
that happens, he's gonna grab you, he's gonna beat you, he's gonna 
do this and that." But the Hughes brothers asked questions like, 
"What do you do when your woman goes out to work?" What do 
you think?

What do I think a pimp does when the ho goes to work?


Um, I have no idea. Takes care of the accounting? Bookkeeping?

That's what I'm saying: You guys have got some kind of trip about it. 
A pimp might go to sleep, a pimp might watch TV, a pimp might do 
whatever. But he sure ain't worried about what the ho is doing. He 
ain't following the ho to watch her.... Now don't get me wrong, you do 
have pimps that do that. But those are the pimps that a regular John Q. 
Society person wants to believe are the representative pimps. But 
those are the wannabe pimps, those are the pimps that ain't even 
matter in the game. You never get to see a real pimp.

So that's what the Hughes brothers did, showed you the real pimp, all
across the country, that you've probably talked to and didn't even 
realize he was a pimp, because he was educated and wasn't the big 
hat, big shoes motherfucker. He can talk to you about Bill Clinton, 
he can talk to you about the Soviets, he can talk to you about anything 
you want, and that's why he's the caliber of pimp he is. Because that's 
how you catch.

But you don't want to describe that guy to your daughter, because then 
in your mind you're enticing your daughter to go out and meet this 
guy. Because this is a hell of a guy! So that's why they describe the 
opposite. And when a girl sees a motherfucker like me, she sees what 
I'm representin'. She's curious. And then when 
you're bold enough to tell her what you do, she can't believe it, 
because it's the opposite of what she's heard.  

A lot of brothers in the movie were saying 
different versions of what 
I'm saying. And people in the audience were just not wanting to 
believe it. First they were screaming at the Hugheses: "Why would you risk your 
reputation on such crap?" Then when they got to me they were asking 
all kinds of questions. But they couldn't figure out, in the end, whether 
they wanted to like me or not. When we got off that stage, 
you should have seen those 60-year-old women, 15-year-old girls 
running up to me: "Let me take a picture with you!" Old white ladies 
asking me, "How can I pose to look like a hooker?" We're in Park City, 
Utah, and I'm thinking these people are totally turned off to me 
because of the kind of questions they asked me. But when they saw that 
I had conversation, that however deep they wanted to go I could go, they 
realized that they liked me, even though, knowing that I was a pimp, they 
knew they should hate me.

So you think people would have a higher regard for pimps 
if not for misinformation from the media?

Not necessarily, man. It's not just misinformation. It's racism. 
They say they dislike pimps because of what they do to 
women — like it's all about the exploitation of women. But 
they'll let a motherfucker own the Mustang Ranch, knowing what 
he does. They say it glamorizes gangsterism. But they'll practically 
make Al Capone's birthday a holiday or some bloody massacre on 
the fourth of July or Valentine's Day or whenever it was. So they send 
mixed messages. If that shit is negative then all of it is negative. Why 
glorify this Italian motherfucker taking a machine gun and killing babies, 
when a pimp ain't doing nothing but pimping on a bitch? I'm saying they 
could both be terrible. But why are you glamorizing one and making 
the other one so terrible? The only thing is, the one has brothers in it. At 
one time, if you said, "pimp," goddamnit, you were talking about a 
black motherfucker, period.

Well if you're talking about popular images, Taxi Driver has 
the worst pimp in movies, and he's a white guy.

Yeah but listen to this: That's the view that they've taken for the word 
pimp. So he's just a white boy who happens to be a pimp. But the 
reality is that they were just being politically correct and casting a white 
boy as a pimp because, believe me, if they would have cast a brother as 
a pimp, he'd have had on a big hat, the shoes, the whole works. That's just 
a part in a movie; it has nothing to do with what the producer really thinks 
about pimps. They're not going to let you see what they really know a pimp 
has become. 

But at the same time pimping did evolve according to the media definition. 
Because at first, pimps were not violent at all. It was elegance; that's why 
the pimp was a "gentleman of leisure." You've got to understand: Everybody 
cannot do this. And some people who get wind of it are not gonna be able 
to do it. But they're gonna want to do it. And they're gonna start 
manipulating what is to be done, and they're gonna start taking short cuts. 
back in the 1890s, you had black pimps going to the tailor, getting their suits 
made. They were looking different, they were standing out because they 
were hustlers. But they weren't beating no woman to do this. But when you 
get the drug addict in there, he ain't got time to talk to this woman and 
finesse her into doing what he knows these finessing pimps do. He's gonna 
beat the shit out of her. Now you also take the police; who are the police 
gonna arrest? So when the cop sees examples of drug-abusing pimps and 
drug-abusing hos, what is his idea of pimps going to reflect? It's going to 
reflect what he's exposed to.

But what does that have to do with the big-hat mack style, which, let's 
face it, is a pretty cool style?

You're right about that, but I said two things. Let me clarify. The big hat 
and the shoes — there were people who did that. But that's not the way it's 
represented in the cartoons. In the cartoons it's overly big, so that they can 
make pimps look like clowns. It's a clown image. That's why if you don't 
look like no clown you ain't no pimp. But if you go somewhere where you 
got on an orange hat and some yellow shoes — even if you're just a fool that 
don't know how to put your colors together — you're a pimp to a person who 
associates that shit with pimps. So the Hughes brothers sought out pimps 
who represented that style.

Which style?

Real game. You don't see real game. You don't know anything about it. Nobody 
does. That's the part of it that's still a secret, and you cannot imagine 
how motherfuckers get ahold of girls, besides tricking them with drugs. And 
let me tell you, a pimp thinks like this: "I don't want no motherfucking drug 
addict counting my money before I do." A pimp is selfish. He's too selfish 
to have a drug-using broad. I want to be able to let this bitch go to work and 
come back so I know I got all my money. I don't want to worry about her 
stopping off at a crack house first. A real pimp isn't thinking, "I got to stand over here to 
keep an eye on her." There are pimps who think like that. But those be little 
pimps. Those be pimps that are not willing to risk losing a broad over their 
principles. I'm willing to risk it for my principles.


Next ... Labor relations, body checks and Rosebudd's tribute to the Hollywood Madam [Next Page]