Really Really Pimpin' in Da South

Thu Aug 5 03:22:35 UTC 2004

        A recent opinion from a federal court of appeals has an extensive discussion of the Atlanta pimp community in the period from 1997 to 2001.  United States v. Pipkins, No. 02-14306 (11th Cir. Aug. 2, 2004).  Below is a portion of the opinion, including explanation of a number of the terms used by the pimps.  The portrayal of the pimps, and the lives they force upon their prostitutes, is profoundly unattractive, even more so in the remainder of the opinion than in this relatively short excerpt.  The two videos referred to seem to have been commercially available on VHS at one point.  The full opinion is available at

John Baker

<<To persuade underage females to prostitute for them, the Defendants (and other
pimps charged in the indictment) presented a vision of ostentatious living, promising
fame and fortune. Pimps perpetrated this myth with their own flamboyant dress,
flashy jewelry, and exotic, expensive cars. To support this apparently extravagant
lifestyle, each pimp kept a stable of prostitutes with a well-defined pecking order. At
the top of each pimp's organization was his "bottom girl," a trusted and experienced
prostitute or female associate. Next in the pimp's chain of command was a "wife-inlaw,"
a prostitute with supervisory duties similar to those of the bottom girl. A
pimp's bottom girl or wife-in-law often worked the track in his stead, running
interference for and collecting money from the pimp's other prostitutes. The bottom
girl also looked after the pimp's affairs if the pimp was out of town, incarcerated, or
otherwise unavailable.

The pimps also recognized a hierarchy among their own. "Popcorn pimps,"
"wanna-bes," and "hustlers" were the least respected, newer pimps. A "guerilla
pimp" (as other pimps and prostitutes considered Moore) primarily used violence and
intimidation to control his prostitutes. Others were regarded as "finesse pimps," who
excelled in the psychological trickery needed to deceive juvenile females and to retain
their services. Finally, "players" (apparently, in this case, Pipkins) were successful,
established pimps who were well-respected within the pimp brotherhood.

Both pimps and prostitutes generally referred to their activities as "the game."
To the pimps, an important component of the game was domination of their females
through endless promises and mentally sapping wordplay, physical violence, and
financial control. The pimps created a system in which their prostitutes were
incapable of supporting themselves or escaping their reliance on the pimp. A
prostitute lived either in her pimp's home or in a room at a motel or boarding house
paid for by the pimp. The pimp provided clothes for his prostitute, as well as money
for the prostitute to fix her hair and nails. The pimp also provided condoms to the
prostitute, or money to buy condoms. Also, the pimp frequently used threats of
violence to control his prostitutes, or rewarded his prostitutes with drugs for meeting
monetary goals. Other times, a pimp dispensed drugs to a prostitute to ensure that she
was able to function through the night and into the early morning hours.

The pimping subculture in Atlanta operated under a set of rules, presented in
the video called Really Really Pimpin' in Da South. This videotape was made in
Atlanta by Pipkins and Carlos Glover, a business associate. Really Really Pimpin'
in Da South featured prominent Atlanta pimps, including Pipkins, explaining the rules
of the game. This video, along with its companion piece, Pimps Up Hoes Down,
outlined the pimp code of conduct, and was repeatedly shown to new pimps and
prostitutes alike to concisely explain what was expected of a prostitute. The origin
of Pimps Up Hoes Down is unknown. In essence, these videos taught that prostitutes
were required to perform sexual acts, known as "tricks" or "dates," for money.
Prostitutes turned tricks in adult clubs, in parking lots, on mattresses behind local
businesses, in cars, in motel rooms, or in rooming houses. A prostitute charged $30
to $80 for each trick, and was required to turn over all of this money to her pimp.

Some pimps gave their prostitutes a "quota" to earn over $1,000 a night.
Despite the pimps best efforts to subjugate their prostitutes, the rules allowed
a prostitute to move from one pimp to another by "choosing." This was accomplished
by the prostitute making her intentions known to the new pimp, and then presenting
the new pimp with money, a practice known as "breaking bread." The new pimp
would then "serve" the former pimp by notifying him that the prostitute had entered
his fold. The former pimp was bound to honor the prostitute's decision to choose her
new pimp. A prostitute who frequently moved from pimp to pimp was known as a
"Choosey Susie." And, a prostitute might "bounce" from pimp to pimp by moving
among different pimps without paying for the privilege of choosing.

Choosing another pimp was not without risk for the prostitute. A prostitute
could be punished for merely looking at another pimp; this was considered "reckless
eyeballing." Owner pimps apparently were afraid that if their prostitutes were
sufficiently impressed with another pimp's vehicle, clothes, and manner, she might
choose a new pimp.

Other rules governed a prostitute's conduct. She was required to surrender all
of the money from her dates; if she did not, she would be guilty of "cuffing." She
was also required to unquestioningly obey her pimp and treat him with respect; if she
did not, she was "out of pocket." At the whim of her pimp, a prostitute was obligated
to have sexual intercourse with him, another pimp, or even another prostitute.

The pimps sometimes brutally enforced these rules. Prostitutes endured
beatings with belts, baseball bats, or "pimp sticks" (two coat hangers wrapped
together). The pimps also punished their prostitutes by kicking them, punching them,
forcing them to lay naked on the floor and then have sex with another prostitute while
others watched, or "trunking" them by locking them in the trunk of a car to teach
them a lesson.

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