Donald Glover’s hit FX comedy Atlanta returned to TV screens everywhere last night (March 1)—and so did funnyman Katt Williams. The permed pimp reminded everyone of his awesomeness with his hilarious turn as Childish Gambino’s eccentric, alligator-harboring Uncle Willie in the first episode of the hit show’s sophomore season. And while it’s unclear whether his run on the show is any more than just a one-time cameo, the appearance was a refreshing reminder of Williams’ idiosyncratic sense of humor.
Katt Williams has a solid history with hip-hop. In his prime, he was known for using his comedic timing and exaggerated pimp caricatures to their fullest effect when teaming with rappers (or dropping bars of his own). And while his career has slowed down over the past few years, he still resonates within the culture. Just ask Drake, who parodied Williams in a hilarious SNL skit back in 2014.
“I’m a hip-hop dude… I can rap,” Williams told XXL in 2006, shortly after signing with the Diplomats. “It’s interesting to me the trouble people have wrapping their minds around it, only because that doesn’t work the other way around. Like, an actor and a comedian doing a music album is kind of difficult for people to fathom. A rapper or a music artist acting is no problem.”
After Katt Williams’ memorable guest appearance on Atlanta, XXL salutes one of comedy’s most unique talents by looking back on five of his most memorable moments in the hip-hop sphere.
Katt Williams’ began his legendary stint on Wild ‘n Out in 2005. Nick Cannon’s improv sketch comedy show was the perfect format for Williams, which also offered him the opportunity to convert his jokes into rap jabs in the “Wild Style” freestyle battles. Episode after episode, he put his best punchlines up against the likes of Kanye West, Wayne Brady and Nick himself.
For whatever reason, the Young Gunz’s Neef Buck used the group’s 2005 single “Set It Off,” to call Katt Williams’ Friday After Next character a “fake ass pimp.” In true hip-hop fashion, Katt dropped a track called “Palm Pilot,” on which he teamed up with The Game to dissing Chris and Neef on their own beat.
In the mid 2000s, right around the peak of his popularity, Katt Williams signed to Cam’ron’s Diplomats records. He’s recorded an album called It’s Pimpin’, Pimpin, on which he rapped alongside the likes of Lil Wayne, E-40 and Snoop Dogg. Unfortunately, the project was never released commercially, but it stands as proof that the pint-sized pimp was serious about his bars.
In 2013, Katt dropped some pimp talk on Rick Ross’ Mastermind track “Supreme,” recalling Cedric the Entertainer’s brilliant feature on Jay-Z’s 2003 track, “Threats.”
The legendary comedian proves he’s still got it, playing uncle to Earn (Donald Glover) and rapper Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry). If his closing scene is any indication, his run is far from over.