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updated 12/30/2005 4:08:48 PM ET 2005-12-30T21:08:48

All those "Free Pimp C" T-shirts and baseball caps can be put away.

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Rap star Pimp C — half of the acclaimed duo Underground Kingz, or UGK — was released on parole Friday after serving about half of an eight-year sentence.

Since he was imprisoned in January 2002, "Free Pimp C" has been a rallying call for rappers and UGK fans across the country. Numerous rap stars have appeared in music videos and at concerts and awards shows wearing gear with the phrase.

Pimp C (real name: Chad Butler) was sentenced when he fell behind on community service required after pleading no contest to aggravated assault. He was charged after brandishing a gun during an argument with a woman at a mall.

Several people waited for him outside the state prison in Huntsville and he spoke with them for about 10 minutes before leaving, Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokeswoman Michelle Lyons said Friday.

Pimp C, who turned 32 Thursday, has sold more than a million records since 1992 from five major-label releases with UGK.

In March, Houston-based Rap-A-Lot Records released his first solo album, "The Sweet James Jones Stories," created from a series of freestyle raps he did years ago. Pimp C called the album subpar, but it still debuted at No. 3 on Billboard magazine's rap charts.

He is featured on the single "Get Throwed" from UGK partner Bun B's album "Trill," which debuted at No. 1 on the rap charts in October.

Bun B wasn't too fond of his own stint as a solo artist and is overjoyed at the possibilities for UGK now that Pimp C has been released.

"The album is probably going to be one of the most anticipated projects in rap," Bun B said of UGK's next project, which will be the first album with new music from the group since 2002. "I just think that as a group there's going to be a lot more things that we can take advantage of."

Pimp C will be on parole until December 2009.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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