Pimpin’ Ken: Pimp Tales

by: Todd Davis

Pimpin’ Ken, nee’ Ken Ivy literally has seen and done it all. After first appearing in the HBO documentary expose’ Pimps Up, Ho’s Down, the internationally known self-made entrepreneur has since gone on to conquer the entertainment business with his mega-popular series of DVD releases, as well as his countless cameo appearances on high profile projects from a who’s who list of Hip-Hop heavyweights.

Rap Industry Dot Com recently had the pleasure of speaking with the Annual Player’s Ball ‘Mack of the Year’ award winner, shortly after he had embarked on his latest business endeavor, and newest facet of his career, publishing…

What prompted you to author your first literary work? And, what exactly did you mean by calling it, Pimpology: The 48 Laws of the Game?

Pimpin’ Ken: Well, first of all, I never really wanted to write a book, but about four years ago this guy Jeremy, from the publishing company Simon & Schuster, he was with another company (then), he came to me and asked me to write the book. He was like, “I want you to write this book. A lot of guys love you. You’ve worked with 50 Cent, you’ve worked with Nelly, you done worked with Jermaine Dupri, Too $hort, and all these other rappers, Pimp C.[RIP]” He said, “Man, they love you. Why don’t you write the book, because I know that you can do it ‘cause I seen you in Pimps Up, Ho’s Down, blah, blah, blah.” So, I said, “How much you gonna give me?” So he’s like, “$30,000.” And, I said, “Man, I’m not writing no book for $30,000!” I said, “It’s gonna consume too much of my time.” So, four years later, he got a more prestigious position with a major company, Simon & Schuster, which is owned by CBS, and he said, “Ken do you still want to write the book?” At this point, my career was kinda taking a slump, in terms of everybody saturating the market doing DVD’s, so it was kinda hard to get the kind of money that I was getting initially, so I said, “Yeah, I’m interested in writing the book, but I’m still not gonna go for $30,000!” He said, “Don’t worry about it. I’m gonna get you six figures or better.” So, we end up talking, the lawyers and my lawyers talk, and we negotiated, and finally I went to New York, and went to Simon & Schuster and we were able to secure the deal. That’s how actually the book deal got gone about. I didn’t really even know that I was able to write on that level, until I actually went to the lab and (started to) bring up stories, and bring up different machinations and different moves that I used to do in the game to get to where I’m at (now). And, that’s why we coined it The 48 Laws of the Game. I mean, I have more laws it’s just 48 that I choose to pick. It’s like my…I could say, hood response to Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power. I could mimic his book, but use real life situations as opposed to research. Whereas in his book, anybody with a Harvard, Yale, or educational background in research, could’ve did that book, ‘cause it’s basically talking about machinations and manipulations. So, I felt, well a lot of my life is synonymous with some of the stories that he spoke about in there, so I said, “Put 48 Laws of Game,” instead of doing an autobiography. That’s how the book came about. Of course, you know, the book is doing good. The book has already went to re-print, and it’s only been out for a couple months. I mean, people are quoting it on their albums. Me and 50 Cent did a mix-tape called Sabrina’s Baby Boy, where 50 Cent allowed me to host it, the CD, the mix-tape, and mention the book on there. My Space is eating it up. So, the book is like, it’s a…It was a pleasant surprise for all of us. Even Simon & Schuster, they call me more. They used to…I had to try to get on the phone with them, now they calling me. It’s a serious change of events. And, I thank God for it, because it’s causing a lot of young people, who normally don’t read, who are Pimpin’ Ken fans who have watched me from Pimps Up, Ho’s Down, on down to, now, even in the 50 Cent ‘P.I.M.P.’ video, where I told 50 Cent, “Don’t down him, Crown him.” So, all those kids who seen me over the years and seen all the rappers, now they get a chance to, like, say, “Okay, I’m gonna go buy Pimpin’ Ken’s book, ‘cause I want to see what’s about this guy that everybody like him? Why 50, and Too $hort, and Yung Joc, and Shawty Lo, all these rappers, why they love him?” They pretty much get an understanding why I was the guy that was picked as the intro/outro man for all of these CD’s. Lil’ Jon, I did twice on his albums back to back, did Jermaine Dupri album, did 50 Cent album, did Too $hort album three times, did Mack 10 album twice, Pastor Troy album three times, so now they can see and study my mind to see what I’m all about.

Why do you think that there is still such a strong admiration, and amount of respect, for your ‘former’ lifestyle, especially amongst these rap artists, and their continued desire to want to glorify such a negative way of living?

Pimpin’ Ken: Well, let me give you a lil’ Hood 101. First of all, in the hood, you have the Gangsta, the Drug Dealer, and the Pimp. The Pimp sets the bar for all of these, because the difference between the Pimp, and the Gangsta & the Drug Dealer, the Pimp’s the only guy, normally, unless he violates or leaves his realm, that, as far as statistically speaking, that don’t go to jail. Pimping, I.N.G., I’m Not Going, the I.N.G. means I’m Not Going. So, when people look at that, and they see these guys for years and years and years and years doing their thing, buying big mansions, and so on and so forth, they know that it’s like being a doctor or a lawyer. It takes a certain attribute, a certain amount of knowledge and wisdom and understanding to be able to control women, and control that situation, and stay on top for that long. Whereas with the Drug Dealer, it’s a matter of, “Hey, I passed this, I passed that,” or the Gangsta, it’s a matter of he’s pulling a gun out, and ‘shoot ‘em up bang bang’, anybody with a trigger can be a Gangsta, anybody who got start-up capita could be a Drug Dealer, but it takes a real unique individual to be a Pimp, so that’s why they’re so revered, and there’s so much adulation and admiration surrounding these guys, ‘cause these guys are the elite of the hustling game. That’s why in all this rap and influence stuff, ain’t nothing but street stuff, it ain’t nothing but street culture. So, when you look at the street culture, you have to put the Pimp above all those guys. That’s why Too $hort said, “It was my destiny to be a Pimp legacy, to have a Pimp legacy.” You hear Pimp C calling him-self Pimp C [RIP]. Nelly, Pimp Juice. I mean, MTV even got Pimp My Ride. I mean, because they have finally figured it out. Out of all of these guys, and we ain’t talking about the Huggy Bear (role, from television’s classic ‘70’s series, Starsky and Hutch), or the Hollywood version of pimping, you know, where the guy got these shoes and fishes swimming through his shoe. So, everybody loves the clown, those guys are clowns, everybody loves those clowns, but don’t nobody want to take them clowns home. But, you might be sitting, or playing golf, you might be playing golf and you might have a pimp right next to you and never know it. This guy has influence, he has a lot of money, and he has a lot of women. Okay, what sells? When you go and you watch a Colgate commercial, it say, “If you want looooove, get Colgate.” {Ken croons} But, when they saying this, and you’re looking, and you see a beautiful woman running down the beach, you ask yourself, “What do a woman got to do with Colgate?” And, then you go straight to the store, and you see a pretty woman, you say, “Man, I sure would like to make love to her!” Do you get the woman? No, you go get the Colgate. {He chuckles} I mean, we talking about women, sex, Hugh Hefner…I mean, all of us, the first thing we smell coming into this world is what? Pussy, right? And, once we smell that pussy, it’s nothing like the smell of pussy, we all want to naturally get back in it. That’s why men cheat on their wives, (and) that’s why people do what they do. So, that’s why people respect the game, but I’m giving people a different perspective. I’m letting ‘em know that the game is on a whole nother level now. I mean, it’s not like it used to be. Now, it ain’t about pimping on this chick. When you talk about pimping now, you got to look at it from a whole nother angle. We’re talking about the ‘pimp mentality’, that’s what my book is about. For example, my first chapter is called ‘Purse First, Ass Last.’ You understand that, right? Give me your money first, then I’ll do that. That’s basically what it is. Okay, two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun, that’s a Big Mac. Go to McDonald’s, and tell ‘em, “I want two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun, right now!” Can’t get it like that. Gotta pay at window one, ‘Purse First.’ Get your hamburger at window two, ‘Ass Last.’ So, the concept of my book is explaining to people, and then I got the meaning of this after I give an example. So, the book is so profound. It’s like on the same level of a Dale Carnegie or a David (J.) Lieberman or a Napoleon Hill, ‘cause these are my teachers, these are the people I’ve learned from. And, I took all of that information from these guys and incorporated it on a hood level where guys who have a mere third grade education can sit down and read the book and be inspired. To read the book and say, “I’m gonna go get me a book on grammar. I’m gonna go get me a book on mathematics. I need to expand my knowledge, because I idolize Pimpin’ Ken. I want to be like Pimpin’ Ken, so the only way I could be like Pimpin Ken (is) Pimpin’ Ken tells us in his book you have to educate yourself.” At the same time, I know that they are not gonna let me get away with no sucker shit, so I have to still give them what? I have to still give them the street side.

How did you even get involved in something like pimping in the first place?

Pimpin’ Ken: Well, I was fifteen years old, a friend of mine he was doing some petty crime and stuff like that, he end up pimping. So, he had three girls. I came to him, and I was like, “Man, I need to get in this shit, man. This shit is looking good, man. Where did you get these girls?” He said, “Well, you could have one of my chicks.” So, he gave me a chick, and that’s really how I got started. And, she kinda like laced me with the game, and she was older than me. I was fifteen she was twenty-four, so she showed me how to walk, how to talk, who was the real guys, and who for me not to trust. And then, I end up not wanting to give her the credit, (so) I end up messing with a guy named Aquarius, and he was like a friend of mine. Aquarius, what he did was he gave me, like, the real game. He showed me how to come up with girls. He even taught me, “If you see a girl I’m feeling, knock a girl!” ‘Knock-Her’ is a term used in pimping meaning to take another guy’s girl. He said, “You know, you could knock my girl.” So, I end up taking his chick. Her name was Brigitte. When I took her, me and him fell out. We became enemies, because where friendship begins, pimping ends. Pimps are allies, associates, and partners in crime, but you can not have friends because friendship requires loyalty, respect, and so on and so forth. So, it’s no respect in the game. The book on what a bitch will do hasn’t been written yet. If a chick left her mama, she’d leave you. Plus, she bleeds five times a month and don’t die. So, C’mon now! Let’s be real. So, that’s how I got in the game.

So, you’re a Chicagoan, but first started pimping out in Milwaukee, is that correct?

Pimpin’ Ken: I was born in Chicago, but my pimp career began in Milwaukee. And then, after I pimped for several years, I end up going to jail, doing a little time. I kinda strayed away from the pimping, did a robbery. Well, actually (it) wasn’t a robbery, but the D.A. gave me a robbery, and so I had to go do a stint in the Federal Penitentiary. And then, when I came home I continued my career because I refused to go back to prison. From there, seen an opportunity with HBO Pimps Up, Ho’s Down, so when that opportunity came I said, “Okay, here’s my chance out of it, out of the game.” And, I exploited that, and I kinda like went from dealing with all the rappers, to producing my movie Pimpology Uncut, and Pimpology. Then, I produced From The Ghetto Streets to the Executive Suites, and then I produced my newest movie, the one you talking ‘bout, with me and (the late, great) Pimp (C). It’s called Best of Both Worlds, with Jeezy, and TI, and 50, and Rick Ross, and Young Buck in it. So, it was like a challenge for me. It’s been about ten years, I’m in my late forties, so it’s been about ten years since I actually been in the game. That’s pretty much a synopsis of how I entered into the game, and I seen an opportunity and I said, “Hey, listen, I’m going from the ghetto streets to the executive suites, from the ghetto blocks to the wall street stocks, from the sewer to the entrepreneur, from the tracks to the facts, it’s got to be a better way!” That’s what it was.

In your opinion, who is/was the greatest pimp of all-time?

Pimpin’ Ken: The greatest pimp of all-time is Pimpin Ken, hands down. I mean, who you know got a quarter million dollars out of a book company, and did it in the name of pimping? Who you know brought HBO (pimping), and been in every magazine? I was the first pimp to get a shoe deal. I modeled shoes. So, that makes me the Michael Jordan of pimping. I mean, no other pimps have done it. (Archbishop) Don (Magic) Juan is an established individual, but Don Juan, he was a drug addict…I mean, he wasn’t a drug addict, according to his story he said he was on drugs, he was on some PCP. And then, he found the Lord, on PCP. This is what Don Juan says. He was on PCP, and he found the Lord. Okay now, at that point, he hasn’t pimped since. That’s been over some years. So, his career as a pimp was short lived. You know, he was a popular pimp, but what made him popular was the fact that he quit pimping and found the Lord. But, people know me for not finding the Lord, but for pimping. So, Pimpin’ Ken is the greatest pimp of all-time. Iceberg Slim was a great pimp, but I wrote a book (too). Iceberg Slim was also a drug addict. You don’t have no of Pimpin’ Ken (doing drugs). Of course I tried everything and stuff, from heroin and all that stuff, everybody did that, but you’ll find no Ken Ivy being strung out on no drugs. Therefore, to me, that makes me the greatest (pimp) of all-time. Now street pimps is different. There’s a whole lot of other street pimps that I can not even touch, and I wouldn’t say their names because it’ll be snitching. But, as far as pimps, on a level where the people know from a public perspective, there’s no better pimp than me — As far as who carries the name and title of pimping. I done been in every magazine. You’re interviewing me, and I’m doing it legitimately. I’m legitimate pimping! See that? Right now, you’re doing this interview for me, right? Okay, in a way I’m kinda pimping you. But, my publicist’s pimped me! I just paid her to get to you. And, you fittin’ to go and get a bunch of advertisers and sponsors and you fittin’ to pimp them! The cycle of pimping just keeps going over and over. P.I.M.P — Put It In My Pocket!

I know you’ve appeared on quite a few albums — Are you a big fan of Hip-Hop?

Pimpin’ Ken: Yes, yes, I’m a Hip-Hop connoisseur. Well, presently the state of Hip-Hop…The music business has changed tremendously ‘cause the advance of computers, and digital downloading, and ipods and pod-casts, and so on and so forth. So, therefore we in a whole different arena. We in a technological arena. So, the rappers have to come more technologically inclined. They’re gonna have to find different methods to get their music out. For example, You Tube is a good way for people to get their music out. Your place is a good way of getting music out, because now people are internet literate. So, you have to figure out a way how to be the Bill Gates of rap. Who’s gonna come out with the ultimate idea? Like Soulja Boy did. I like what he did, getting all those hits on You Tube, and becoming…Actually got a deal to make millions of dollars to set up his own ring-tones. This is where the business of Hip-Hop is going. You don’t have to worry about the mechanical rights, and publishing no more because it’s not gonna be all of that. It’s gonna be that, but it’s not gonna be to the point where you’re gonna sell millions of records no more. Those days are over with. They’re gonna sell singles instead of selling whole albums, so that’s gonna be your option. As a matter of fact, George’s Music Room in Chicago has a computer in the store where you could go and pay $.99 and pick anything you want in the world. So, yeah, I mean, this is where the business is at. So, now people…It’s about putting quality music out. You have to put a good single out. You have to put good music out. That’s why I try to tell these guys, “You guy’s not gonna be out here going platinum, selling millions and millions of records anymore. You got to get in front of that computer, and become technologically inclined, and figure out how to do something that the next guy is not doing.” Other things that I do, and I’m doing, is I’m doing a website, I already got one All my movies is gonna be uploaded to my site for free, so you can download it for free. No longer will I try to sell my movies anymore. But, it’s a company that I’m familiar with where they’ll pay me a penny a click, and these people here, as long as you give them a sufficient amount of clicks, they will pay you. So, they’ll probably pay you a penny a click. A million clicks is…What? $10,000. So, website(s) is interchangeable, and you got where a person can go on your site and they on there for two or three hours like My Space, and you getting maybe one person clicking 50 or 60 times, and you got a million people coming to your site, that’s 50 million clicks — So, 50 million clicks that’s a half-a-million dollars a day. I mean, now, this is where the business at. This is where the artist tell everybody, “Come down to my website, and listen to exclusive music by 50, or listen to exclusive music by Yung Joc, or exclusive music by Paper Chase.” Now, you’re making sense. Now, you’re doing your Google’s and your Yahoo’s. Why you think Yahoo don’t charge? Why you think My Space don’t charge? Because it’s not economically correct to charge. Economically, it makes more sense if you could give it away, and then you charge the advertiser ‘cause the advertiser needs those 3 million consumers that you helped so proficiently and efficiently attract. So, that’s where the music game is at now. That’s why I say, “Pimping!” See now, that’s pimping ain’t it? I just gave you some real good pimping game. That’s why I was telling you about the pimp mentality. That’s what my book is all about — How to pimp the situation.

What exactly does it take to possess a ‘Pimp Mentality’?

Pimpin’ Ken: Cognitive thinking, that’s what pimping is all about. That’s why people…Everybody’s amazed, like, “How did Pimpin’ Ken become Pimpin’ Ken? Where did he come from? He don’t rap, he don’t act!” I used every rapper conceivable to make myself popular. I got on 50 Cent’s video, 100’s of millions, right now it’s at four million on You Tube, five million on You Tube. I got on Lil’ Jon’s album, over ten million people know who Pimpin’ Ken is. I got on Pastor Troy. I got in all these videos. All these people know who I am. Now, I get all this money based just on my name. You are interviewing me, why are you interviewing me? Who the hell am I? I don’t rap, I don’t act. But, I pimp myself into that situation, and that’s what my book teaches people. Don King was a pimp. The man put together Rumble in the Jungle, never had a penny. Never had one red cent! Told both of the guys he had enough money to sign (them), they both signed the contract, he went to the King of Zaire, got him to give him ten million dollars, and the rest is history — Don King, greatest promoter of all-time! Pimped the situation, never had no money. This is where my book teaches people how to become (an) ‘official’ pimp. Not a peddler of flesh, but a pimp mentality — How to pimp the situation.

What do your future goals and plans entail?

Pimpin’ Ken: I will be one of the biggest pimps of all-time. I (will) have several more books. I will have…My movie will be done, loosely based on the book The 48 Laws of the Game. I’ll probably be working on my third movie. My ring-tones will be selling off the chain, ‘cause people love the way I talk. And, more than likely, be a consultant to the rap industry, you know, to the young rappers, because a lot of these guys they value my wisdom. So, I mean, I see myself in that light. And, financially, I’ll definitely be cool.

What’s up next for you, Pimpin’ Ken?

Pimpin’ Ken: For the immediate future, we working on the movie The 48 Laws of Game. We also working on a reality show. I’m trying to do a reality show. I got some people talking to Playboy, and we’re gonna see who’s the hoe that everybody love. It’s gonna be funny, have some comedians down there with me, just something (to) fit in with my character. Also, working on a possible reality show for MTV, I’m under a non disclosure, so I can’t talk about that right now. My site,, is gonna be free. I’m also working on a site for my adult fans,, where people can go and download free videos, basically the same thing where we can get some people to hit the site up and get some clicks and make some money off the banners. Not into porn, but I just put the site together ‘cause a lot of people like it, and I feel that if I get the hits and the site gets real big, I’ll just sell it off like Tom did from My Space for a half-a-billion dollars. I’ll be cool. I’ll retire, and then next time you ask me for an interview, I’ll be like, “I love you, but kiss my ass!”

Do you have any message for the readers of Rap Industry Dot Com?

Pimpin’ Ken: Yes, I just want all the readers to know that just because the book is titled Pimpology: The 48 Laws of the Game, that doesn’t mean it excludes people that are not in the pimp game. The book is the equivalent to Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power. You might not be into power, but you want to read the book cause it’s some fun stuff in there. It’s humorous, and it’s funny. And, I want to tell all the young people that reading is fundamental, so its really good to go out there, get you a book and read it, and spark an interest in you to educate and elevate your mind to another level. And, just remember, I want people out there, the young people, to know that whatever your mind believes it can see, your mind can achieve. And, a winner never quits, and (a) quitter never wins. Always believe your beliefs, never doubt your doubts, never doubt your beliefs, and never believe your doubts — Pimpin Ken, I’m gone!