The death legendary rocker Tom Petty at age 66 sent shockwaves through the music community. Petty, along with his backing band The Heartbreakers, has been a fixture in popular music since the 1970s, and it may surprise some fans just how far his influence reached.
It definitely inspired the late Chad Butler, otherwise known as UGK co-founder Pimp C.
In 2002, Pimp C had been sentenced to eight years in prison for violating the terms his probation from an aggravated assault charge. The rapper/producer would remain incarcerated for almost four years, with Rap-A-Lot Records releasing Pimp C’s solo debut, The Sweet James Jones Stories, in 2005. At the end that year, Pimp C would see his release.
The southern rap legend would celebrate his freedom with the first single from his sophomore album. Prominently sampling the guitars and hook from Tom Petty’s 1989 hit “Free Fallin,'” Pimp C turned Petty’s ode to a “good girl” and escape into an anthem about his own literal freedom after being locked down.
The track would be included on 2006s Pimpalation and was named one the best songs the year by Rolling Stone. Sadly, Pimp C would be found dead in a West Hollywood hotel in late 2007.
You can check out the track below. Rest in peace, Tom Petty. Rest in peace, Pimp C.
Listen to Pimp C’s “I’m Free” featuring Tom Petty:
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