Oscar winner Three 6 Mafia may sing “It’s hard out here for a pimp”, but author Armand King knows that truth first hand. He knows about life lived in the fringes of law and of pleasure, but even more so he knows the miraculous redemption of leaving that life behind for a better future. Exactly how miraculous that is can only be appreciated when one sees the immorality and the crude complexity of the lifestyle which was left behind, and so King sets out to document just that. This begins with a rather him-centric history of pimping, from what is claimed as its origins in Biblical times up to the era in which King became involved in the culture.
Topics such as pimping hierarchy, pimping dress, pimping and the law, and pimping traditions are discussed in RAISED IN PIMP CITY, as are the distinctions among some of the more prominent subgroups, such as parking lot pimps, Romeo pimps, guerrilla pimps and hefners. King speaks of the respect a pimp seeks to garner, and how a pimp’s name and mouthpiece are everything when it comes to status. Pimp taboos are addressed, as are specifics of pimp etiquette in any number of social settings. In this comprehensive analysis of pimping even the inherent misogyny of the culture is addressed, although it is done is a rather clumsy way which only ends up adding to the demeaning aspects of the culture.
Periodically throughout this exposition King opens up with heartfelt stories about some of the individual friends and family members he has lost to the pimping lifestyle. But after each of these vignettes the narrative goes right back to the ebullient and even exhilarant descriptions. And therein lies the main contextual flaw of the book. King does eventually get to the point of his tale where he gets moves on to form the non-profit organization Paving Great Futures, which assists others on leaving the pimp culture behind. But by this time he has inadvertently glorified the lifestyle to such a degree that he ends up offering more reasons to stay in it than to leave.
Armand King’s writing in RAISED IN PIMP CITY is honest and sharp, and his story flows like the most solid of novels, unfortunately the conflicting focus somewhat weakens the narration.
~Johnny Masiulewicz for IndieReader