"A pimp is really a whore who has
reversed the game on whores." [Iceberg Slim]
Katt Williams, the self-styled actor/comedian/rapper of MTV's Wild N Out, is much like the pimps of Yesteryear. He is fast-talking, super fly and very sure of himself. He also shares another trait with the street pimps from back in the day- a tendency to only show up when he's collecting money or smacking someone down (if only in the verbal sense).
Williams is not the modern black comedy man folks have come to expect. Much of this has to do with the fact that he does not conform to either the black side or the white side. His Wild N Out mohawk, a much-ridiculed feature of certain episodes, and his otherwise perpetual perm, make him a far cry from the less flamboyant gangsta image propagated by latter-day Hip Hop. On the other hand, he is not about to be no Ajax Negro, unlike his Norbit co-star Eddie Murphy who has fast become the Colin Powell of actors ever since he learned, with Dr. Doolittle, that the real money wasn't in being Raw but being ostensible.
Katt doesn't pander, at least not to anything other than Pimpdom which, while being a lucrative modern trend, is hardly something new in the black world or any other world.
A veteran of the improv scene and a self-made entrepreneur, Katt Micah Williams embodies the success end of the pimp definition. But that's where it stops. "In today's society," he says, "Pimpin' is not about putting women on the street. Pimpin' is about having a mentality that allows you to get paid off of things that are not necessary from the sweat of your own brow. If your manager at your job does less work than you and makes more money than you, that's pimpin.'"
"I pimp situations and scenarios, not women. Everyone should pimp life; that's how people make it in this society."
This makes sense, especially considering that Katt has achieved all of the luxuries of a pimp and none of their flaws. "A pimp was a guy that you always saw dressed nice; he always had a car, he always had money, he always had women; he didn't work a 9 to 5 and, yet, he was successful." This describes Katt to the T. Or, in his case, the double-T.
Williams earned his pimp cane with his portrayal of the sawed-off proprietor of Pimps N Hoes, in the Ice Cube flick "Friday After Next." But the thing that kept this smooth cat's pimp-hand strong was the surprise popularity of his pimpin' ringtones.
As Katt recalls, "God just blessed me. Urban World Wireless had an idea it might work and I was game for it. 896,000 ringtones later, at $1.99 a piece, and we all look pretty smart!"
In addition to his ever-prolific work in front of the camera and on stage (Katt Williams: Live on HBO), Katt is also busy stretching the limits of comedy and rap music with a hot new album from Diplomat Records coming out later this year.
Where the "moral majority" of American conservatives ignorantly view pimps as uneducated 'house niggers' that got too big for their britches, Katt Williams is anything but. A devout book reader with a massive I.Q., Katt is witty, astute and well-versed in business. He is dedicated to his craft and says that, "As a comedian, you are a journalist. You see the world and translate it into funny. To listen to the radio, watch the news networks and read the newspapers that's your job."
When asked if he thinks his father's background as a member of the Black Panther Party had any influence over his intellectual growth, Katt gave it some serious thought and weighed in. "Not really. I mean, I feel like that power is in my veins, but you have to understand, I was older when I found out and my father was already a prominent member of the Jehovah's Witness Organization. That's what I remember."
It ain't all about slingin' digs, telling jokes or making the scene in Gators for this cat. He is also a doting father. Having a child hasn't aged the energetic comedian any, but it has certainly made him think twice about the consequences of his actions. "As a parent," explains. "You realize your babies suffer with you and that responsibility changes you."
He takes the opportunity to thank his son Micah for the inspiration he provides. "All I wanted was for him to be cool and the grind made that possible. So I'm eternally grateful to him for making my work ethic what it is today."
Ever pimpin' and never slippin' Katt will be throwing down as "Lord Have Mercy" opposite Eddie Griffin's "Pope Sweet Jesus" in Norbit. But in the meantime, in between time, we can all check out his website for the multitudinous invective of his song "Palm Pilot," recorded shortly after hearing half-pint rap group Young Gunz bashing Money Mike.
"Maybe they shouldn't call a comic out next time," Katt says. "I love a battle!"