Street Kingdom: Five Years Inside the Franklin Avenue Posse

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Warner Books, 1999 - Social Science - 415 pages
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From a debut author whose work invites comparisons to Norman Mailer, Hunter S. Thompson, and Richard Price comes an inside portrait of the Franklin Avenue Posse, one of Brooklyn's most-feared street crews. It began as a chance encounter - the night in 1992 when Douglas Century, a white, Ivy League-educated journalist, met Big K, a young streetwise hip-hop artist, at a nightclub on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Gradually, under Big K's aegis, Century was drawn deep into the urban vortex portrayed in the rapper's remarkable lyrics. Becoming K's confidant and sounding board, Century found himself riding shotgun with the Posse and hearing their untold story - how, a decade ago, at the height of New York's crackwars, K and his Crown Heights crew "stood knee-deep in drug money" and kept an entire borough "runnin' red." Now, through Century's affecting present-tense narrative, we see both Big K's brutal past and his life today - juggling the pursuit of a rap career and his daytime security jobs, all the time walking the difficult line that separates "straight life" and the street. We meet K's crew of "hardrocks" - Brooklynese for "gangstas" - former stickup kids, gunrunners, and coke dealers in the eerie, ink-black Brooklyn night. And we enter New York's infamous juvenile prisons where frightened children become hardened badmen...and travel inside the maximum-security penitentiaries like Sing Sing and Clinton where Posse members are still serving time.

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