Street Live is not a true story. It chronicles the lives of real ‘Players’ beginning as young men, following them through life as pursuing quests they had no control over. Some of the names have been changed to protect the guilty. So, kick back and let me tell you a lie or two.
You see Players are born, not made.
For sure there are plenty out there calling themselves Player-Playas they tend to pop up all the time. Longevity is the true benchmark of a real player. They come to town riding high in their Ham Sammich Fleetwoods, Eldorados. Mark 5s and Town Cars too. Flat Top was pushing a Bentley and Champagne had that Rolls. The cities gobble them up and spit them out so quickly that if you don’t write their names down you will forget they even stopped by.
“Do you remember So-and-So?” will be the question and after a moment or two spent in thought your memory will be jogged and a faint image might flitter in one’s mind. A nod in vague recollection and the inevitable question arises: “Whatever happened to him……?”
There are varieties of responses but by far the most frequently used are:
#1 “Aw that dude strung out, or in today’s vernacular; “He’s basing, he’s all cracked out, he’s a rock star. All terms alluding to the person’s propensity to smoking crack cocaine or methamphetamine. In short, drugs took him away from his game and gave him a new one. Years ago, when heroin was the rage, the refrain was: “The China Man’s got him. Today it’s crack and methamphetamine.
Answer #2 is: He’s in the Penitentiary. Believe it or not there are very few men locked up for straight Macking i.e., Pimping that is. Granted there are a few but most of them are locked up for various other and sundry crimes. This leads me to point this axiom out. When their backs are against the wall, people tend to do what they do best, or rather what they know. A man gets down on his luck and he will more than likely not stray from something that he knows will put a few kibbles and bits in his pockets.
The third and final answer #3: Dude is dead. As quiet as it’s kept; them streets are no joke and nothing to play around with. I’m here to tell you about it. More dudes get killed on bullshit tips than you would imagine. In other words, they die for little or nothing. As I said before, it’s hard but it’s fair. You gotta look at the streets as if they are parts of a jungle and there are all manner of beasts and men who will take your life if given half an opportunity to do so. You get what your hand calls for. If you are out there half stepping and bullshitting, then you can expect something will happen to your ass. No, you are begging for something bad to befall you. On the other hand, if you are true to the game, the game will be true to you. Just as in life you get out what you put in. If you play by the rules, then shit will go your way. If you don’t …… Well, you know that God don’t like ugly!
This brings me to this:
The "Pimp God." There is one. Now I know you think this is blasphemy but please allow me to explain. Some things are universally right or wrong. In the streets there are some things that a normal person or square might consider wrong, but street people would consider as right. Street people live by a different code than others. When you hear the term Pimp God it is your same God but one that understands Pimps, Whores or HOs, and other players in the life. They have their own code of behavior with more stringent rules and judged by a different yardstick. So, the final arbitrator is the Pimp God.
The streets are a young man’s game. It is a twenty-four-hour job, eight days a week. A lot of people think that I say this in jest, but I am here to tell you that it is no joke and that it is for real. You are always at work if you are a part of the streets for, they never close. Oh, sure sometimes there appears to be no activity but I assure you something is always going on. Make no mistake about it the streets are a treacherous place to be plying your trade whatever it may be. You not only have to contend with the other denizens of the deep, which are of your own ilk, but there are other predators as well. Case in point: the PO-lice. They be on your ass like stank on shit. As it stands, they feel as if they have a license to be as brutal and cruel as they want because they know that society abhors those that live outside its prescribed boundaries also that street people don’t complain to the powers that be. Why should they when they know they would be pleading their cases to deaf ears. Most Players are Black with a few other minorities strewn in to give it flavor. That leaves them open to all sorts of travesties perpetuated against them. There are countless men sent to prison when the PO-lice knew beyond a doubt that they were innocent. You can’t look to the courts either since the prosecutors and judges all work hand in glove.
Now don’t get me wrong, some men and women need to be behind bars. A lot of mutha-fuckas is out there doing all kinds of crazy shit that is a sin before man and God and deserve to be locked up. On the other hand, if yo ass is in the street life then you are fair game as for the legal profession. They feel if you aren’t guilty of these charges then you are guilty of having gotten by with something that they didn’t catch you for so yo ass going to jail is “just desserts.”
There used to be a time when the only good Black man was a dead one. Then someone figured out it costs about forty thousand dollars annually to house a Dude behind bars. Now, there are two good dudes, a dead one and one behind bars. Think of all the money made off crime. First, let’s start with the PO-lice, then think of all the judges, lawyers, court clerks, bailiffs, jail personnel, probation/parole officers and so on and so forth ad infinitum. Shit even Stevie Wonder could see the Pros of locking dudes up. You doubt what I’m saying? Have you ever heard of lifetime probation? Well, I hadn’t heard of it either until a few years ago. It’s the latest wrinkle in the game. Suppose they catch a dope-fiend with a little amount of crack, heroin or even marijuana. Let’s say they offer him a cop to a misdemeanor. First, the fool has a court appointed attorney who is pressuring him to take this plea bargain of lifetime probation, with the thought of getting out of jail real soon. Now the lame has already done a few months in jail and is sober and dried out. He is not thinking of reality and the future. He is already into instant gratification of the drug mentality. He rationalizes that he can quit doing drugs for the rest of his life. With the added threat of punishment if he drops dirty urine, he really thinks he can stop doing drugs. He goes for the red card in a real-life game of three-card molly. He opts for the proffer and so the game begins. Lifetime probation comes with its weekly or random drug tests. At first, he can do it. But him being who he is, a dependent personality, and soon before he knows it, he is going to try just a hit or a blow, just one. As he already knows one is too many and a thousand is not enough. He’s caught back up in a trap of his own making. Before he knows it, he’s out again “chasin Jason,” sucking the devil’s dick or nodding, whatever the fuck you want to call it, a dude is lost in the sauce. Eventually he is going to get caught which is a violation of probation. Maybe he catches a break and doesn’t get sent back to jail, this time. Pretty soon he is back in jail and before you know it, he has done more time than if he had been found guilty and sentenced to a regular jail bit. Guess what? There is no end in sight because when he gets out it’s back to probation or parole all over again. Then the cycle repeats itself. So, the state makes forty grand per year off his stankin ass and there ain’t shit he can do about it.
The streets are a young man’s game because a young man can do a bit and come out of prison relatively young to change his lifestyle and make something out of his life but a mutha-fucka that’s older is shit outta luck cuz he is too old to change his ways. For an older player, a prison sentence is almost a life sentence. You doubt it? Let’s say for example a man has spent his productive years out on the streets and in his late thirties or early forties he catches a case. He gets a boatload of time, (for drugs of course), let’s say, 15 to 40 years. Now while he is down and locked up, he must deal with other inmates in a dog eat dog, cutthroat world. The “youngins” that he meets, have no concept of the game nor do they know how to act, consequently he becomes a vicious dog to survive. During his lock up he gets various infractions for disciplinary reasons and for nefarious plans and schemes gone awry. He does at least a dime or 10 years of the sentence. By the time his ass gets out he is 40 or 50 years old. What the fuck is he gonna do? In an effort to survive life on the bricks his mind reverts to doing what he was doing before he got locked up. What he doesn’t know is; shit done changed up big time. What use to work, no longer does. Sadly, whatever year he got locked up, it is that year when he gets out. You see when he went to jail; time ceases to move for him.
The real world has left him in the dust. Whatever year it was when you went to jail it is that year when you get out. I don’t care how many books and magazines you read. I don’t care how much TV you watch, or books you read, time is suspended for you until you hit the bricks again. Let me give you an example: my boy Griff. Now Griff got locked up back in the sixties. Although he has been out several times (never more than a few months) since every time he gets out it is 1968 all over again. He can’t help it. It was sad to see him point out the wonders of a microwave oven in the nineties. Shit it was brand-new to him. Video games, computers, high-tech TVs, VCRs DVDs all that shit is Buck Rogers to him. Not to mention that he has never seen a CD or DVD player. Oh, sure they hear about and see it on TV but to being confronted with it in real life is another story. You try explaining to someone who’s been locked up for 15 or twenty years of their life, why no one can pick up an ATM and just walk away with it. Some of the weaker ones cannot fathom how life has left them by the wayside. They simply commit a stupid crime so they’re back to the haven whence they came.
All this is sad but true and people who live life on the edge know that if you play, you must pay. It’s part of the game. Even though called the game there is nothing childish or funny about it. It can be deadly as you will soon see. My story is a little different. I’ve come close death on more than one occasion and lived to tell this story. Many were not as fortunate. There, but for the grace of God…. go I. I make no excuses and point no fingers as to the direction my life took. When I die, let them shed few tears for me. Instead have someone sing that old Sinatra tune, “My Way.” I think it would be very apropos. I think part of the reason that I’ve been spared is to tell this tale so let me get on with it.