Iceberg Slim (1918–1992), a.k.a. Robert Beck, was born in Chicago and initiated into the life of the pimp at age eighteen. He briefly attended the Tuskegee Institute but dropped out to return to the streets of the South Side, where he remained, pimping, until he was forty-two. After several stints in jail, culminating in a ten-month stay in Cook County, he decided to give up the life and turned to writing. With a family to feed, he folded his life into the pages of Pimp, which emerged as a definitive chronicle of street life. Slim was catapulted into the public eye as a new American hero, known for speaking the truth whether that truth was ugly, sexy, rude, or blunt. He published six more books based on his life and different aspects of the ghetto black, pimp community. Slim died at age seventy-three in 1992, one day before the Los Angeles riots.