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Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
This is a clip of me, discussing what my prison experience was like. Look for in my NEW documentary, "Art Powell - The Transformation" coming in January 2012!!!
Friday, November 4, 2011
This is a upcoming documentary, I'm featured in! It was done on some gangs in Atlanta and the surrounding counties! Dominic Stokes(the director) is shopping it, to some networks to pick it up. I'm excited about this project.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Here is a clip from my NEW documentary, "Art Powell - The Transformation." It will show my transition from an ex gang leader(including old newspaper articles and video footage) to me being a sought after national Bullying and Gang Prevention Expert. It will be available on DVD in December! It is a excellent educational tool and must have for anyone, who has or works with children! I'll keep you posted, FAMILY!
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Deep in my heart, I feel that I’m a blessed man. After passing the statistics of my pre-planned death, I’m a couple of weeks away from turning forty-two, and in this book, I wanted to share my account of the first twenty-four years of my life.
With each passing day, I see our youth and troubled teens making the same mistakes I made. One thing that’s frustrating about it is that I was a planter of the bad seed. I’m guilty of contributing to the high rate of crime and violence among our youth. I didn’t realize it then, but I do now. I feel that all the gang members, drug dealers, and people who have committed other crimes, such as myself, need to accept some responsibility and be accountable for our youth being out of control.
I think it’s a fact that we are role models to our youth, just like the gangstas and hustlas we looked up to, admired, and wanted to emulate. It was their lifestyles, their reputations, and the respect they earned that made them our role models. I really feel that if I had a hardworking, positive, and caring black man as a role model in my life, my chances of growing up successful would have been greater.
“Gangster” is the appropriate spelling of this word according to the dictionary. However, “gangsta” is the appropriate spelling according to the hood. Either way the word is spelled, it means a member of a gang of criminals. I’ll also define “gang” and “criminal” for my own comparative questioning. “Gang” means a group of persons working or associated together for some criminal purpose. “Criminal” means a person guilty of a crime. But what is a crime? The definition of “crime” is an action or an instance of negligence that is legally prohibited.
Now, I defined these words because these are terms used by white America to identify the average black or Latin youth or adult who is uneducated, hangs in the street, and breaks the law, according to the media. Why does the media always depict black and latin people negatively, when there are white that do the same thing?
I’ve found out in my forty-two years of struggling in life that the United States as a country; with its laws, economy, and government, was made for white people! When I was born, the
process was started to deprogram me of my heritage. I wasn’t informed of my true ancestral history in the schools I attended. I’ve been lied to and misinformed about most of my African American ancestors’ accomplishments and contributions to America’s success and prosperity. European Americans don’t want African Americans to truly know of the scars and pains our people had to endure for over four hundred years.
Friday, July 22, 2011
I asked myself over and over again, “When am I ever going to be happy?” Sometimes I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. Sometimes I even wanted to die.
I believe that’s another reason why I did certain things. I had too much drama in my life, and anytime I sat down for too long, I would think about my past experiences. This really depressed me. It almost drove me crazy. I would be sitting at home and have flashbacks of things that had happened to me. This usually made a good day turn bad.
It seems as though I was meant to have an unhappy life. For instance, just when things were okay with me and Dog, he was almost taken away from me when Allen shot him. All hell broke loose when that happened. It was pure pandemonium. I also felt somewhat responsible; if I had been ready to go when Dog was leaving to go up to the parts store, he wouldn’t have gotten shot.
I was so full of hatred and wrath. I idolized Dog. I looked up to him as my father, and I loved him dearly. I would have killed someone for saying his name wrong: that’s how much love and loyalty I had for this man. When I had nowhere to go and no one to turn to, he was there for me all the way.
The morning of the shooting, I got up late and Dog was on his way out the door. I pleaded with him to wait for me, but he wouldn’t. He also swapped guns with me; that was something else that could have given him a better chance to retaliate during the shooting. He was at a disadvantage. He had a chrome MAC-11 and put it in a leather pouch, instead of keeping his Astra 16-round 9mm and putting it under his car seat.
It was the winter of ‘90 and I couldn’t figure out why Dog always rushed out of the house in the morning. I guess I was just mad. He left me at home asleep most of the time, instead of waking me up to leave with him. I mean, the weather was cold and I didn’t like standing outside when it was below 30 degrees. I found out about the shooting an hour after Dog left. Right when I was going to leave in a cab, Flex called me and told me the news. Flex stuttered when he talked, so I couldn’t understand what he was saying at first, because he was upset. He said, “Art, man, shit’s fucked up! Dog just got shot!”
I felt so dead, it was like my body went numb. Then I yelled, “No! Who shot him? I’m killing them!”
Flex said, “Allen shot him. He pulled up, blocked his door, and started shooting.”
“Where Dog at?” I asked.
He said, “I don’t know. He pulled off after he got shot.”
“All right, all right, I’m on my way over there. Tell everybody to get ready. We about to go to war.” I hung up the phone.
It so happened that Nancy was there, and she heard me and saw me crying, so I had to tell her what had happened. Then I immediately called Fat Boy and told him; he reacted the same way I had and was at my house in six or seven minutes. We were both strapped, so we got over to the store in a hurry.
When we got there, everybody gave us their version of what happened. All I could say was, “What happened to y’all?” When I heard all kinds of bullshit-ass excuses, I said, “Fuck it, I’ll handle it!”
Then Fat Boy, Flex, and I went to look for Dog. He was injured, so I knew he wasn’t far away. About thirty minutes later, Dog paged all of us right behind each other with his code (100). He was back home, so we headed there. When we got there, he was sitting at the dining room table, in pain.
Emotions ran high. We were looking at a guy we all loved and pretty much looked up to as a father. It really hurt me, because I was standing there looking at him and I couldn’t do anything. I asked him what happened. He let out a sigh of pain and said, “That nigga rolled up on me and blocked me from getting out my car. He did it so fast, I didn’t have time to get the gun out of the bag.”
I said, “I told you to take the nine-millimeter.”
Dog said, “If I hadn’t thrown my hand and arm up, he would have killed me. He was aiming at my head. He said, ‘Nigga, it’s over. Die! Die!’ And he started shooting.”
“What kind of gun did he have?” I asked.
He said, “A .38,” and hollered when Nancy put too much pressure on his gunshot wounds. Allen had only caught him three times out of the six rounds he dumped off. He shot him in the hand on his first knuckle, in the arm, and in his shoulder. Dog was really lucky.
I got frustrated and told Dog, “You need to take your butt to the hospital!” He didn’t waste any time telling me he wasn’t going. The guys and I argued with Dog for an hour trying to convince him to go to the hospital. Finally, I told Nancy to take care of him, because we had to handle some business.
Right then, I made it official. I wanted Allen dead. He was I Refuse’s number one enemy. He was to be killed by any means necessary. A contract was issued for Allen’s life. All the homies were in on it. I wanted to kill him personally, because he’d hurt and almost killed one of the most important people in my life. It wasn’t even about adding him to my reputation or putting another notch on my belt: I just wanted the satisfaction of hearing Allen beg for his life and pulling the trigger of the gun that killed his punk ass.
Cowboy and his crew, the Out of My Mind Posse, were also included in the quest to get Allen. He was upset about what happened too, so we decided to come together as one unit. This move made I Refuse bigger and stronger.
While Fat Boy and I were putting the word out, we got a page from Nancy. She told us Dog was going to the hospital and to meet them there. After we met Dog at the hospital, we weren’t there thirty minutes before he got paranoid and wanted to leave. I tried to convince him to stay, because his mom, Tonya, was getting upset.
I cared a lot about Dog’s mom, because she was very nice and sweet to me. She treated me like I was one of her own children. This made me very happy. So when Dog was upsetting her, I snapped on him and told me to stop acting stupid.
We eventually left, because Dog got stubborn and refused to get treatment from the hospital. He was what I call a real warrior, because he nursed himself back to health and all his wounds healed after a couple of months.
When we knew Dog was okay, we began to terrorize anybody and everybody we thought had any connection to or affiliation with Allen. Our first victim was a guy named Oil. We had heard he had some dealings with Allen. We got Cowboy to keep an eye on him, since Oil stayed in one of his traps. It seemed Oil had gotten word that we were looking for him, so he moved out of his mom’s crib. What he didn’t know was that we had people looking out for him to inform us when he came to his mom’s crib.
Dog’s shooting also caused people we had ties with to come back and aid us in our mission to get Allen. Li’l Keat, Pimp, and a few more people were guys who were either X'ed out of the Posse or rivals that wanted to help us get rid of our problem. During this time, everybody in the Posse was on twenty-four-hour stand-by. Whenever we got a tip or some type of info on Allen, we acted on it and checked it out.
One night, Cowboy called and told us that Oil was over at his mom’s crib. Within fifteen minutes, Fat Boy and I had assembled three teams of four homies, with the help of Li’l Keat. We all went up to the Amoco on Fairburn and MLK to wait for Oil to leave the apartments so we could tail him. Just as we suspected, he left the apartments and we tailed him all the way to some apartments in Cobb County. Our plan was to ambush him before he got a chance to get out of the car; there was a party being held right across from where he parked, so I knew we had to get him quickly and quietly.
When everything went down, he was trying to find a parking space in the big parking lot. Fat Boy pulled in front of him and Li’l Keat blocked him in from the back while Pimp hit him in the side. I was strapped with my chrome MAC-11, and I jumped out first and snatched him out of the car. “Motherfucker, get out the car! Get you ass out the car! Now, nigga!” Then Casper and Creeper helped me with him by throwing down on him.
Scared out of his mind and almost pissing on himself, Oil said, “What I do?”
I said, “Nigga, you know what’s up! Where that muthafucka Allen at?”
He said, “I don’t know.”
So I hit him in his jaw and said, “You a muthafuckin liar, you work for that nigga!”
“No, I don’t!” Oil answered. “He cut me off.”
I said, “Where the fuck you about to go then, nigga?”
He said, “To a party.”
“This li’l female’s party?” I looked over at the party and told Li’l Keat and a few more homies, “Let’s go check that shit out!”
Fat Boy stayed outside interrogating Oil. We crashed the party and made everybody get up against the wall. Then Li’l Keat snapped on a couple of guys in the party, asking them about Allen. We came up with nothing, so we pulled the phones out of the walls and left.
Fat Boy got nothing out of Oil. I was convinced he didn’t know anything after we threatened to throw him in the trunk and take him for a ride, so we pulled up.
A couple of days later, we got a tip from one of Flex’s old high school friends who said he used to work for Allen. I believe he was just trying to hustle us out of some blow, because he offered us information for some money or dope. I think that was messed up, because if he were cool like he said, he wouldn’t have charged us. I didn’t feel comfortable paying a nigga just to ride around and point out some locations for us, because we didn’t really know if the nigga was lying or for real, but Dog and Flex were convinced the nigga was down.
Later on that night, me and a few of the homies jumped in two of the Posse’s hoop tees and went riding. During our ride, Flex’s friend, who turned out to be a junkie, pointed out some things for us. He showed us where one of Allen’s brothers’ record shop was. He also showed us where Allen’s father and two of his girlfriends supposedly had stayed in College Park. We scoped things for about an hour and decided to really check things out later.
For the next few weeks, we rode by the house and apartments, seeing if we could see Allen’s Dooly or any of the other cars we heard he drove. We did this at least once a week. We never found out if the guy was lying or not, because we never caught up with Allen, but he got paid half an ounce and $500 for his supposedly good tip. I didn’t trip, though.
Then people started coming at us daily, telling us about people or places that Allen had dealings with. That was when we found out about Droopy. He was a guy I had gone to school with, and he stayed in Adamsville. That was also where he sold dope.
Word travels fast when someone is looking for you, because it took us a week to catch up with Droopy. When he found out we were looking for him, he started trying to hide like Oil did. I mean, he went the whole nine. He snuck in and out of the house and parked his car over at his girlfriend’s house and used her car. He had a nice Le Sabre with a burgundy ragtop, some boom and some trues, and vogues on thirties.
What Droopy didn’t know was that we knew about his creeping and we were doing some creeping of our own. One of his sister’s friends happened to be Pimp’s baby’s mother. She had told us that Droopy was coming over to his mom’s house later on that day, so we got assembled and waited for her to tell us when Droopy came to the house.
Later on that evening, we got the call. She told us he was in a white Chevette. She was talking to Pimp on a cell phone, telling us his every move while Droopy was going out the door. It didn’t take us more than two minutes to get from Gordon Valley to his house, because he stayed a couple of houses from Margaret Fain Elementary School.
When we pulled up on him, he was in the car across the street from his house, getting ready to pull off. I was riding with Fat Boy and we pulled in back of Droopy and blocked him in. Then Pimp and Li’l Keat pulled up too. I jumped out of the car along with Creeper, Casper, Seagull, and Capone. “Get out the car, muthafucka!” was all you heard.
We moved quickly to get him out of the car and make sure he had no strap. Then I said, “You working for that muthafucka Allen!”
He said, “No!”
I said, “You a got-damn liar!” Then I busted him in the side with the butt of the six-shot pump riot shotgun I was carrying, and Casper hit him upside his head with a 9mm.
I knew we had to move fast, so I told Fat Boy and Pimp to follow us. Then I told the homies, “He’s about to ride with us. Let’s get going!”
I told Seagull to drive the car and made Droopy get in the back seat with me. Our first stop was behind Food Giant on MLK Drive. During the ride, Droopy was crying and begging me not to hurt him. I kind of felt sorry for the big punk, but then I thought, This nigga know the busta who shot my nigga. Here he is, about six foot three and 300-plus pounds, crying.
When we got to the apartments, Fat Boy made Droopy get out of the car and asked him about Allen and where he was hiding from us. He gave Fat Boy some bullshit-ass excuse, so I said, “Fuck it, I don’t want no more talk. I want blood!”
I pumped the shotgun and aimed it at Droopy’s right knee. Just as I was pulling the trigger, Fat Boy pushed the shotgun to the side and the blast went into the dirt. “Hold up, man, we got to find shit out first!” Fat Boy said.
I said, “Fuck that. Let’s drop everybody.” We all knew we had to relocate, because somebody was going to call the police. So we all jumped in the cars and went to Collier Park.
When we got up to the park, Droopy was crying and begging again. Fat Boy and Pimp pulled me to the side and told me they knew where Droopy’s car was and they were going to go and spray us. So I said, “All right, I’ll stay here with Droopy and y’all go handle that business.” They all jumped in the cars and pulled off.
I stayed there alone with Droopy for about thirty minutes, scaring and threatening him. Then Fat Boy and the homies came back, laughing about what they did. Fat Boy asked Droopy where his car was and Droopy said, “In the shop.”
I knew Fat Boy was mad, but he didn’t show it. Then he said, “You a got-damn liar, nigga, that’s why we sprayed your shit up! It’s in Bowen Homes over your girl’s house, full of holes!”
Droopy couldn’t say anything. Then Fat Boy said, “I ought to go on and let Art fuck you up.”
Droopy said, “I’m sorry, man, don’t let him hurt me.”
Fat Boy said, “All right, go on. Anytime we find out you’re down with Allen, you a dead muthafucka. And your family!”
Droopy was another lead that got us nowhere. He knew of Allen and had seen him, but he didn’t know anything about him and he couldn’t help us. So we were back at square one. Li’l Keat and Pimp left, and we told them we’d hook up the next day.
Frustrated and pissed, Casper, Fat Boy, Creeper, and I were riding up MLK Drive toward the Valley when we noticed 5-0 behind us. Fat Boy said, “Don’t look back, but we got 5-0 behind us. So just relax.”
As we went farther down the street, another police car pulled up behind us. I said, “Nigga, something’s up with them folks.”
He said, “I know. Just chill for a minute.”
Then we crossed over the I-285 expressway on MLK, and that was when the shit hit the fan. There were two more police cars in the Mrs. Winner’s parking lot, and as soon as we passed them, they hit their sirens and lights. So I hit Fat Boy in the side and said, “Hit it, nigga, let’s get the fuck on!”
He punched it and we were dipping. I was so pumped and hyped, I was getting high off this high-speed chase. Casper, Creeper, and I were steadily cheering Fat Boy on to drive faster. We went down the side street where Darren Village was, through the side entrance of the Valley and down through the back of the apartments at full speed.
They tried to block us in, and I knew we would have to bail and run. Luckily for us, Fat Boy had locked all the guns in the trunk of the car, except for the 9mm Casper had. When we jumped out of the car, all I could hear was the police saying, “Freeze or I’ll shoot!” But my feet wouldn’t stop and I didn’t want them to.
At first, it seemed like the police were about seven or eight feet behind me, because I didn’t look behind me after I jumped out of the car and I knew the police was right on our tails. But as I ran through the cut between the Valley and Allen Temple, I felt myself leaving the police in the Valley.
I had some police obstacles in the Temp, though. I ran a different way from the rest of the homies. As soon as I got up in the Temp, a car with two cops came after me, so I started jumping fences like hurdles. Then I caught my hand in the spikes of one of the fences. My adrenaline was so pumped and I was so scared that I snatched my hand right off it, ripping a wound an inch and a half long in the middle of my hand, but it didn’t stop me.
All I wanted was a place of refuge, which I found at the back of the apartments. The police had blocked off the apartment exits and called out a ghetto bird (what we called a helicopter). A girl named Tam, who was Dog’s former lover, let me chill over at her house. She nursed my hand until I could leave and go to the hospital.
After about an hour, they finally called off the search, so I got Pimp to come and take me to the hospital. My hand was messed up for a couple of weeks, and I had to chill. We later found out that Droopy’s mom had seen us kidnap him and called the police, but he told them we didn’t kidnap him, and everything was cool. Intimidation is a muthafucka.
I didn’t know what our next plan of action was, but I was quite sure Allen knew we were at his ass. We were even considering snatching up one or both of his brothers to try and flush him out. But Dog said he wanted to wait and let Allen hang himself by making a mistake.
Being a gangster is a very emotionally draining job. There is no room for sympathy, pity, or mourning death among your homies. Everyone involved with you, whether it’s your family, friends, or lovers, must shield themselves with toughness to deal with your attitude, your lifestyle, and your death or incarceration. Nor are you held responsible for an accidental shooting or killing. Your favorite excuse is “They shouldn’t have been there.”
So what’s so good about being a gangster? I don’t know. All I know is that there’s a good and a bad side to gangsterism, and I’ve seen them both. I think about how Fat Boy and I were involved in an incident that almost cost an innocent person his life.
It started when Dog paged me while I was down in the Valley. He said, “Fat Boy on his way down there to get you.”
“For what?” I asked.
“Cause Allen right up the street from you.”
I said, “You lying, man. I know that nigga ain’t that crazy!”
Dog said, “He up there because Flex up there watching him, to make sure he don’t leave. So what you going to do? Because Fat Boy on his way.”
I said, “What do you mean, man?”
He said while sucking on an orange, “Like I said, what you going to do? Cause if you ain’t gonna do nothing, somebody else going to do it.”
It messed me up emotionally, because I felt like he doubted my loyalty or my friendship. Even though I was having personal problems, the Posse was still my number one obligation, no matter what the problem or situation was. So I said, “Nigga, you ain’t got to ask me no shit like that, you know what’s up!”
While we were talking, Fat Boy pulled up and said, “Come on man, before that nigga leave!” So I hung up and jumped in his car.
When we got up to the auto parts store across the street from Dog’s old body shop, I saw the guy they were talking about. He looked like Allen and he was about the same height and weight as Allen. But when I saw his Dooly, I started feeling funny, because it looked smaller than Allen’s Dooly and it was a lot cleaner too.
I argued with Fat Boy for five minutes about me going over to the body shop to make sure it was Allen. Then all of a sudden the guy jumped in his Dooly and started leaving, so Fat Boy and I jumped in his car and followed the Dooly.
All the while, as we were following the Dooly up MLK and over to Lynhurst, Fat Boy kept asking me, “Is it him?” And I kept telling him that I didn’t know.
Then my gut started messing with me and I told Fat Boy, “I don’t think it’s him.”
He snapped and said, “You done seen the nigga and you talking about that ain’t him?”
Flex said, “It’s him!”
I said, “He look like the nigga, but his truck ain’t made like that!”
All of a sudden, Fat Boy said, “Fuck that shit, that’s the nigga and we ain’t going to let him get away!” And he pulled on the side of the truck. Then he said, “Is it him?”
Right when I was turning my head around to say, “I don’t know,” Fat Boy had his .357 about a foot in front of my face and fired. It scared me so bad that I shot my MAC-11 into the door, right by the roof. Then I got myself together, said, “Fuck it,” and leaned out my window and started shooting.
I had my small twelve-round clip in the MAC-11, and I dumped all of the rounds off. As I was taking out the clip and putting in a thirty-rounder, the guy swerved off the road and hit a tree. That was when a feeling of emptiness hit me. All I kept thinking to myself was, What if that wasn’t Allen? I thought about it, but that was all in the game.
Later on that day. Dog paged me and told me, “Y’all got the wrong person.” I got this awful feeling in my stomach, but then he came back and said, “He’s all right, though. Y’all just scraped him.”
So I said, “Who was it?”
He said, “The guy who took over my body and parts shop after I sold it. His name is Sweet Tea and he a real scary-ass nigga. He heard some of my people did it, so he done called me about six times asking me not to kill him. I told him it was a mistake, but he kept asking me how much money I want or what can he do for me. I told that nigga, I didn’t want your money, I got money, and it was a mistake, that’s all. Then I hung up.”
I was just glad we didn’t kill or seriously injure Sweet Tea. It also made me realize that I could make a mistake just like the next man.
After that episode, we had every dope man’s worst nightmare come to life: a drug drought. It was ugly for the whole city. It didn’t hit us that badly, but we felt it a little. It also got very frustrating for us because we couldn’t trust anybody, not even our regular connections; everybody was either selling cut or flour and robbing at the meeting points.
Things had gotten so bad for the Posse that for about two weeks we had to go buy blow from two of our rivals from Bowen Homes, Big Tee and Psyche, just to keep our traps active. We even had to result to doing a robbery we had set up though a female friend of the Posse. However, we did manage to keep two connections that came through regularly, and that was a guy and some Cuban connection Fat Boy had hooked up through some female he was dealing with. We made a lot of money because we didn’t sell any weight. We only sold dimes and twenties. We even had guys from traps in Dixie Hills, Campbellton Road, and the Bluff coming to buy $1,500 and $2,500 bombs from us. This kept us on. After the drought, Dog leased me my first car, which was a Nissan Pulsar. I didn’t have it more than three months before it was repossessed.
Then the Posse had two new members join the crew who added to its line of enforcers. They added strength to the Posse, but they would later help cause the Posse to be broken up because of their tactics of terrorism. Their names were Cabbage and Joe, and they were some real killers. They were seventeen and eighteen, but had baby faces and looked like they were eleven or twelve. Dog wanted them to work in the Valley, which was cool, because we all hit it off immediately.
But at the same time, we also suffered a loss: Casper got locked up. He had gotten some dope from his cousin and decided to go out to Cushman Circle and sell it. The Red Dogs, Atlanta’s Special Tactics Drug Squad, hit Cushman and locked him up for possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. He was denied a bond in court and got bound over to the county jail. Since Casper was a known member of I Refuse, the Red Dogs tried to turn up the heat on us by making sweeps two or three times a week. The Red Dogs were known for uncountable lock-ups and convictions of drug dealers and gangsters. They were also known for assault, intimidation, coercion, and threats against suspects.
After we found out that Cushman Circle was pumping, we decided to let the little boys crank it up. It didn’t last too long, though, because some guys were rolling up in Cushman too and they wanted them out of the apartments. So they shot at the little boys one night. I didn’t know if the boys were capable of handling arms, but we found out when we went on a couple of missions in Cushman looking for the guys that shot at them. One thing I liked about them was that they were very good listeners and performers when it came to going on missions. They were good marksmen, too.
After a few casualties and daily shootouts, we had to relocate the little boys back to the Valley because Cushman had gotten too hot. There, we could keep an eye on the boys and keep them out of unnecessary trouble.
It was the spring of ‘90, and everything was in full fling.
In the midst of all the drama, I finally managed to get my ultimate revenge on the guy who made my head hurt constantly and gave me numerous nightmares—that nigga Redman!
It’s amazing how some people can do something that’s messed up and then forget about it. That was something that always scared me about putting in work or doing dirt. You never know if you’ll see that person again, if they live. Then there are their families and friends, who might know you, but you don’t know them. That’s why I say you can’t play a game if you don’t know the rules. Some people forget and squash things, but I was one of those that didn’t.
What freaked me out about Redman’s slipping was that he knew the homies and I were in the Valley every day, but he came through there like everything was cool.
The day I shot Redman, Flex, Creeper, his little cousin Kip, and I were standing on one of the corners in the Valley. Redman and one of Flex’s partners named Kirk bent the corners laughing and drinking beer. I didn’t know it was Redman, but I had a feeling in my gut it was him.
As soon as I saw him, I had an instant flashback of the night he tried me. He knew he had messed up. After he walked around the corner, he said, “It’s dead as hell down here!” Then he looked at the homies and me and said, “What’s up?”
Right after he said that, our eyes met and I could see the fear in his eyes. He knew that I knew who he was, and there was nowhere to run. As he and Kirk were walking off, he kept looking back at me, and that was when I knew for sure that it was him.
Just to be sure, I asked Flex, “Is that that nigga Redman?”
He looked at me and said, “Yep.”
I didn’t have a pistol, but I didn’t want him to get away. I knew Creeper was always strapped, so I asked him if he had a pistol.
He said, “Yeah.”
I said, “Let me use it! That’s that nigga I was talking about who pistol-whipped me a while back!” So he gave me his 9mm and I jogged up the street behind them.
I could tell Redman was trying to get the hell on, because he and Kirk were walking real fast. So I ran up on him, saying, “Hey, my nigga! Hey, my nigga!” trying to get them to stop. When they stopped, I walked up and told Kirk, “I need to talk to this man, and it ain’t any of your business.”
Kirk said, “All right, I’m not in it.”
Then Redman said, “What’s up, man?”
I said, “Man, you know what’s up! Ain’t your name Redman?”
He stuttered and said, “No.”
Then I said, “You a muthafucking liar!” and pulled out the gun.
He said, “Hold up, please, man, it was a misunderstanding!”
“Well, misunderstand this, nigga,” I said, and shot two times, hitting him in the leg. He hollered and screamed in pain and grabbed his leg and fell. Then I stood over him, aimed the gun at his chest, and said, “That was your last mistake.”
I pulled the trigger, but all I heard was a click. The muthafuckin gun had jammed! So I just watched Redman rolling around on the ground. Then I ran over to Kool-Aid’s house to catch a cab and go home.
When I got home, Dog gave me a speech about me making the trap hot by shooting people down there. I didn’t say anything: I just agreed.
I had to take on some real responsibilities in my life that year, because Tracy got pregnant. I was happy as hell; it was our third try for a baby. I told Dog about it and said I wanted to get my own place with Tracy. He gave me the money, and in a couple of weeks, Tracy and I had our own crib. It also caused a few problems, because I was arguing with Fat Boy and Flex again about Tracy and me staying together. I knew they were jealous, because I was happy and I had a steady relationship, while they were constantly arguing and breaking up with their girlfriends.
Everything was going pretty well in the Posse, and then we were suddenly hit with another tragedy. One of our homies, Isaac, who was working for Fat Boy got set up and shot by the Miami Boys in the Temp. This resulted in the Posse going into retaliation and shooting mode.
When Isaac got shot, it was a very emotional time for the homies. After he came out of his coma, we found out he would be paralyzed from the waist down. This incident also made me become more alert when dealing with females, because it was a girl Isaac was sleeping with who set him up for the Miami Boys.
After the shooting, we terrorized the Miami Boys for a week, stopping all of their business and cutting down three of their crew members. One night during our clowning, we caught Boy, their leader, slipping. Casper, Li’l Kip, and I followed him in a high-speed chase from Delmar Lane all the way to the Waffle House next to the Holiday Inn off Fulton. The only reason he slipped through our fingers was because the sawed-off M-1 kept jamming. Casper did manage to dump off about seventeen rounds. We later found out the spring in the clip was messed up.
A couple days after the chase, Bob tried to call a truce. We didn’t go for it until Dog said, “It might interfere with our business if we keep on fighting the Miami Boys.” So we squashed it.
I noticed myself going through a metamorphosis, and it sometimes scared me. I felt myself becoming addicted to my lifestyle. Days would go by with nothing happening, but then there’d be action! I thrived on it. I loved it, I looked for it, and I needed it for survival. I became a junkie for violence. I got depressed and felt weak if I didn’t hurt or terrorize someone. It was a love I couldn’t control or let go. I was addicted, I mean really addicted, to the fear and respect I got from people who saw or knew me.
When I was grumpy or had mood swings—even when I was mad at my girlfriend Tracy—I would go out and hurt somebody. That was when I noticed I was evil. I was always thinking about and plotting ways to hurt someone or start something to get a negative reaction so that I could use acts of violence to retaliate. It made me ask myself time and time again, “What’s wrong with me? Is it human to think like this? What kind of man am I, or am I a beast?” I didn’t know, but I went on with my day-to-day life.
The summer of ‘90 rolled in and so did a change in one of our Posse members. Lanet had started tripping, which caused us to take action against her. She took some blow that Dog had given her. She said she needed some money to come up and she would pay Dog when she got straight. I couldn’t understand it. Dog paid her good money—hell, he paid her better than good! Then I found out she was doing dope. Dog always knew it, but he had hoped she stopped.
We tried to talk to her, but she was talking stupid and threatening us, so we had no alternative but to put a hit out on her. I couldn’t do it because Lanet and I were cool, so we got Creeper to do it. He caught her one night in a car with one of her friends in Darren Village, and did it swiftly and professionally: he dumped off eight rounds of slugs into their Pinto with a sawed-off pump riot shotgun from ten feet away. Lanet was hit in the shoulder and her friend was hit in the back. They both lived, but her friend was paralyzed and they both had to stay in the hospital for a while. When Lanet got out of the hospital, she called Dog and begged and pleaded with him for two weeks so she could come out of hiding. He eventually let it go.
Then another series of events started. Creeper got locked up for Lanet’s shooting, and some guys came down into the Valley one night and tried to rob us. We were ready for them. We had a shootout that lasted about three or four minutes. We also sprayed up their car, so they had to get out and run. During the shootout, Li’l Kip got pinned down and was accidentally shot in the butt. When we went to his aid, the robbers escaped.
Then, one night, Cabbage, Kool-Aid, and I caught Will up in the Temp. I saw him walking through the Valley with some more guys when we were standing on the hill in Darren Village. So I said, “That’s that nigga, Will, that robbed Darrel a while back! We got to get that nigga now!”
We all ran over to this girl named Lee’s apartment; I was paying her to keep our guns. I grabbed the sawed-off M-1, Cabbage grabbed a TEC-9, and Kool-Aid grabbed a 9mm. Then we ran up through a pathway to head them off. When we got to our spot by the side of a building, we could hear them coming. I told Cabbage and Kool-Aid, “Don’t shoot to kill! Shoot from the waist down!”
Right when they got up on us, we came around the corner and they knew what time it was. I said, “Where Will?” just to see if he would speak up, but he didn’t.
I walked over to him and said, “Nigga, ain’t your name Will?”
He said, “No!”
I said, “You a muthafuckin liar, nigga! You the one that robbed my boys on Delmar Lane!”
He said, “Hold up, hold up, man. I am sorry!”
Then I said, “I know your ass sorry, but it’s over! Hey, Cabbage, this that nigga, let’s do him.”
I lifted my gun and aimed it at Will and started firing, and Cabbage started firing from Will’s right side. After the smoke had cleared and the last shell hit the ground, Cabbage and I had dumped off at least fifteen to twenty rounds. Will was lying on the ground, not saying anything.
We all ran back to Lee’s crib and dropped off the guns. Cabbage and Kool-Aid went home, and I called a cab and went home. A couple of days later, we found out that Will was shot in his hip, testicles, and legs. He had to be hospitalized for a while to receive special help.
So many things were happening in and around the Posse that I could see the guys starting to get big heads. Most of the homies and myself were able to beat our criminal cases. The homies became bolder and more aggressive about the things they did. As for me, I became somewhat big headed. I knew that we had connections that would inform us of when the Red Dogs would try and hit us. For instance, Fat Boy’s girlfriend’s mother’s boyfriend was a detective on Atlanta’s narcotics squad, and he kept us informed about the police’s investigations on us. Dog also had a personal connection who worked for the Atlanta Police Department; he would tell him the specific days and times when the Red Dogs would make their sweeps through our traps. When they came through, they never got anything.
Money talks, and bullshit walks. Our pull and connections should have been something that brought us a hell of a lot closer, but as time passed, I could see it didn’t. The long hot summer had come to an end, but a new beginning was about to come for the Posse and me.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
It was the winter of 1986: a new year with a new attitude and a new game about to be played. Things were changing a lot. I could see a difference in the homies’ attitudes. Some were eager to make some noise and rank in the gang; others were becoming more and more distant from the gang. I didn’t know what was going on, and I didn’t like it.
I was faced with a lot of responsibilities over the next two years. After Gary got shot and the homies started wilding, he told me he wanted to change our name. He said we were too hot in the street and he wanted us to be more laid-back.
I told him, “I understand and I’ll get to work on a new name.”
He was like, “Cool. I knew I could count on you.”
I could see that Gary was uneasy about the homies. Everyone had gotten a do-or-die attitude and stayed strapped daily, ready to flip someone if they looked at them wrong.
About a week later, I came up with a new name, and I even designed a logo for our sweaters and jackets. Our name was ZOC, for Zeta Omicron Casadine. Something to make you go hmm? Yeah, I know. Don’t ask me what it means, because I can’t remember.
The love I had for my family would also change that year, as well as their love for me. My Aunt Katrina became a verbal, mental, and emotional enemy after the homies and I got into a fight at a big party at her neighborhood recreational center. She stayed in a middle-class neighborhood, and she felt she had an image to maintain. I couldn’t understand why she was so concerned about the people in her hood, who were nosy, gossiping, and quick to judge other people. She eventually found out that her neighbors were hypocrites.
The night of the party, I went outside with the homies to help a guy, John, who really didn’t like me. I did it partly because I felt sorry for him, even though he and his brother didn’t like me. I had known them since elementary school, and he did stay in Grandma’s hood, so I said, “What the hell?” And besides, I wanted to drill somebody anyway.
The homies and I rolled about fifteen deep that night, ready for something to jump off. John had been with his brother Tommy in a
corner of the party getting zooted. They seemed to be having a pretty good time. I saw the guys John was arguing with and knew they were plotting to jump on him too. I always liked to sit back and observe my surroundings and look for signs of talk and violence.
Page 1 of Chapter 4 - Tha Birth of a Gangsta from "Traumatic Memoirs - Gangsta: To Be or Not To Be (Book 1)
In the summer of 1984, I underwent a metamorphosis that would change my life forever. During that time, I had my first experience of mauling and terrorizing people and feeling no remorse. I earned a name for myself in the hood with my gang, and I gained respect from my peers and those in surrounding hoods. Word of the things my homies and I had done that summer by fighting and wreaking havoc at parties spread so fast that by the time I went back to school that year, the gang I was involved in was known throughout my school. People looked up to me and admired the things I had done. This gave me a great sense of power, because I knew I wouldn’t have any problems from other hoods or gangs. My gang had made a name for itself, and that would make other hoods, cliques, and gangs think twice about trying us.
When I first moved back into Adamsville, the hood in which I was practically raised up, I was scared. That was the year when gangs were popping up everywhere, and I had heard that a lot of gangs were fighting and at war almost every day, although city officials didn’t think they had a gang problem.
I first noticed the rise of gangs during my 1983-1984 attendance at Lakeshore High School. I never really had any problems with gangs; I would hear through the grapevine that someone in a gang or a clique was thinking about trying me and the guys from my hood in College Park, but when I confronted them or asked them about it, I would find out it was just hearsay. Those close encounters kind of scared me, and I knew I would have to join a gang or clique eventually, because no man can stand alone against an organized group. I had observed a few gang fights and seen someone getting jumped on, and I knew I wasn’t going out bad.
When we stayed in the Oak Tree Apartments on MLK Drive, I did a lot of growing up. I also noticed mood swings and changes in my attitude. When we first moved into Oak Tree, I didn’t like it. I guess that came from the violence I had seen and heard. I also believe that was what attracted me to the streets, because my feelings gradually
changed about the hood. The more gunshots I heard late at night and the more fights I saw or heard from my windows or patio, the more I wanted to get out and explore. Before I made friends with my homies in the hood, I used to walk to the store almost every day to see who I could see in hopes that someone would stop me and ask me where I was from. I knew someone would, because I didn’t act or dress like someone from Atlanta.