Meet America’s Quintessential Pimp-Turned-Influential Author: Iceberg Slim
- Alexander Lendrum
The name Iceberg Slim became familiar to me after perusing through the old shelves of Downtown Los Angeles’ “The Last Bookstore,” where by sheer randomness, I happened to have chanced over to a collection of small paperbacks sat neatly in a row. Each book was clad in either matte gold or silver, and after lifting and turning the closest one to me, I saw in bold purple lettering the word “PIMP” emblazoned across the cover. Below that, a small black stamp that served as a portrait insignia of who I would later discover to me one of America’s most influential pimps: Robert Beck, or Iceberg Slim as he was known in his circuit.
The book was an enthralling journey into the real life of a pimp during the ’50s through to the ’70s, and by the grace of someone, Beck was able to capture the grit, spit and everything in-between that made up his life back then into books that would chronicle the actual life of Beck and those around him. From sex, violence, drugs, gangs and then some, Slim’s writing became one of the most influential pieces of literature on that side of the underworld, grabbing the attention of the likes of Quincy Jones, Ice-T, Snoop Dogg, the Archbishop Don “Magic” Juan, Henry Rollins and Chris Rock to name a few. With a story much larger than himself, Ice-T and Phase 4 Films came together to release Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp, a documentary on the life and times of Robert Beck, featuring the aforementioned notables and more. Check out the trailer for the 2012 film in the jump above, and if you happen to chance on an Iceberg Slim yourself, grab it and don’t let go. You’ll thank us later.