Sunday, May 10, 2009

"This Is A Gang, And I'm In It!" Chronicles Of A True Hustler, Pt. 5

Previously: Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4

I really appreciate the fact that my friend "T" is extremely diligent in trusting me with his very personal story. I am also very thankful that dude is patient with me taking a couple of extra days to post his work, only because I'm trying to be early with drops like the Eminem and Star Trek reviews. From me to you my dude, THANK YOU.

I also want to go on record and clear up some discussion that popped up in the comments section of Pt. 4 of Chronicles Of A True Hustler. Particularly this comment left by "Anonymous": "This 4th part has me smelling the B.S. or "literary licence" hanging thick in the air, that I suspected from the hop."

To said Anonymous, I'm honored that you do (did) take time out of your day to read my blog. It's unfortunate that you feel that T's memoirs smell of bullshit or that his story lacks credibility. Duecey was a true flesh and blood person with whom T was very close to. She was actually his brother's ex-girl friend. When she died in front of T, the very real connection he had with her at those last moments of her life was of his own recollection of when he himself came very close to overdosing on cocaine. Prior to Duecey's death, T found himself in a predicament in which he chose to swallow a bag of Cocaine in order to avoid arrest, only to later have the bag compromised within his abdomen and him living through the very exact experience that he described as being Deucey's last. In honoring her life and tragic death, the only license he took was in imagining what she must have felt as she lay dying a couple of feet away from him.

That being said, T is slowly stepping away from his hidden alias as he just blessed me with some extra goodies, some true to life pics of him and his crew as they lived through the stories that I proudly present to you. Now, with no further ado, I truly hope you enjoy Pt. 5 of Chronicles Of A True Hustler:

We started out as 89 Mob while attending Galileo High School, OJ Simpson’s Alma Mater. OJ was from Potrero Hill Projects, which eventually turned out to be a pretty dangerous place. But back in 1987, our schoolhouse gang activity was more of a pecking order than serious criminality. Those graduating in ’88 would pseudo-bang on us and we, in turn, would pseudo-bang on the ‘90s, carrying on tradition. Most of us claimed Fillmore so with the turf in common there was no real desire to inflict any lethal damage to each other. Shouting 89 Mob before lumping up schoolhouse homies was just a way for us to stay on our toes and prep the sophomores and freshmen for turf life. When we weren’t in school, we didn’t bang on colors like cats did down in LA. We were turf bound, claiming our set and only really fuckin’ with niggas in our crew. San Francisco is very small. And the SFHA (San Francisco Housing Authority) had a practice of rotating families from one public housing complex to another, such that people’s families would be spread throughout SF’s projects. We never really had to ask, “where you from,” because we already knew. We knew you, probably knew your whole family. You knew us too. We might even be family but that shit didn’t matter. If we weren’t from the same turf, that just might be your ass.

My brother and I took our sibling rivalry very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that we ended up joining rival gangs. More to the point, he joined a gang, Page Street, while I helped form a rival one - DVP. As youngsters Hayes Valley Projects was where my friends and I played team tag, hide and go get it with ghetto girls and pitched in on $5 bags of weed. And best believe, it would be 8 or 10 of us all trying to get high on that one nickel bag and a sole 40 oz. When we were younger, meeting up on Saturday mornings in Hayes Valley on our dirt bikes, always one bike short and trooping up to Golden Gate Park on the hunt for a bike to steal was a ritual. But as we got older we grew tired of stealing and boosting to make up for what our parents couldn’t provide for us. Niggas up the block from us was getting’ money, niggas down the block from us was getting’ money. Why not us?

And at that time and around our way, cocaine was so plentiful. Real good coke, the kind that smelled like a sour dishrag, was only $450 per ounce. But I didn’t start my career as a hustler with a true understanding of the power of my product. I’d spend $50 for a solid rock, take it home and chop it down on the desk in my room, the same desk I did my homework on. I casually swept crack crumbs on to the rug until the carpet sparkled with crack flakes. No one sold crack crumbs back then. Eventually, I would learn how to re-rock crumbs and cook coke into crack. A red flag should have gone off when Moms started volunteering to clean my room. But I was so distracted in being so focused on my grind that the signs of her addiction went unnoticed. Her boyfriend Chicken wasn’t the only crack head in the house.

The whole 89 Mob jumped into the crack game headfirst, all of us except Quince. Quince was more into getting pussy and reading comics than in really living the street life. He decided to bow out of the game early enough to still have his whole life ahead of him. If only I knew better, had better role models, I should have followed him. But the streets felt way more natural to me than being a square. And that's what I felt Quince was when he bounced, a square. Me, I couldn’t just watch shit moving to and fro from the sidelines. Sometimes, when shit was popping and commerce was good, I'd peep Quince glancing over at us as he walked from school or to work, safely across the street from the projects, away from the fray. I can imagine that from his vantage point, he no longer recognized us. To him, it must have seemed like we were just shadows, silhouettes of old friends he once knew, now destined to end up dead, in jail or worse, living the lifeless life as one of the crack zombies we were helping to create.

But we convinced ourselves that Quince was the loser, the mark with no gang, no turf and no hustle. We were determined to get ours, just like the niggas up on Page Street or down in Virgo’s. We called a meeting in the playground. The playground, located at the Northwest corner of Hayes Valley was a patch of old dirty sand, the play structures had long been removed. Shielded from the street, this was a frequent hangout of ours for various reasons; we could see everyone who approached well before they were close enough to shoot, rob or arrest us; there were multiple escape routes including the upper tiers where we could run circles around the average mother fucker. We had been mastered these routes as kids. Now, they were the trade routes we’d use in building our small drug empire.

Our first order of business was to choose a new name for turf because Hayes Valley Mob wasn’t going to cut it. Hayes Valley had always existed in a somewhat gray-area, transient and without any real gangsta lineage. It was neither a hot spot for the Gang Task Force nor a turf worthy of note by respected G’s. We were determined to change that. Our second order of business was to choose new names for each other. But the rule was, you couldn’t come up with your own name, it had to be bestowed upon you by one of the homies. I went from being Unknown T to _____, Sly C became Dark Raider, Sweet S became Loc and so on. We had outgrown our childhood monikers and needed names that spoke to our movement and would call us powerfully into being. The task we had ahead of us was perilous and crazy, damned near impossible. We had to create a gang from scratch and put a turf to be reckoned with on the map.

Hayes Valley rested under the umbrella Fillmore along with our neighboring turfs: Page Street (Tha Capital), Fulton Street (Young Black Gangstas), Eddy Street (Outta Control), Divisadero Street (Uptown) and Central Street (Central). In order to establish ourselves, we wholeheartedly declared that we were not from Fillmore, but that we would solely claim DVP until our turf received the same level of respect from our neighbors that they expected from us. This decision put us in direct conflict with said neighbors as well as exposed us to danger from Fillmore’s rivals from across town; Hunter’s Point (HP), Sunnydale (Tha Swampy Desert) and Valencia Gardens (VG’s). We had seceded from the union and broken the unspoken oath of solidarity.

This meant war.


  1. truly riveted to the ongoing story... just waiting for the next drop to be posted. CJ you are killing the game officially. Between Dallas's reminisces on the old New York life and this blog I don't think I need anything else.

  2. i'm really enjoying this story. reading it as it unfolds. with being a bit younger, and jewish cat from queens, but deep in the game as my man was, and successfully out of it, although for less time i'm sure, i really relate to this, even though we are from the polar opposite worlds, its all the same struggle, hustle, pain and suffering, glory, and get money mentality. as for the person who claimed this was fabricated, the eloquence of the writer's voice is what messed your head up. if we wrote in the voice we used everyday, it would move us farther away from positive expression, deadening the outlet that is literary expression. it would just be a wack recount of something, and the impact of the story would be lost. i think about people who have been lost along the way in the war of life. and i can't just say, yeah, they died. but how they died and imagining them in their last moments is part of what makes their death an impact on your life.

  3. I was about to call it a night and I saw this update on the blog roll. Just spent the past 45 minutes reading all 5 parts. What interests me the most is not even really all of the hustling and shit, but I'm anticipating the moment that "T" decides to make the change.

    That, for me, always is much more important, and even entertaining than the drugs and violence part. And being born in 85',growing up in Oakland, it's interesting to hear this entire world that was going on around me that I had know clue about until I moved away for college.

    Much respect to "T" and to Combat Jack for these chronicles.


    Clif Soulo

  4. yeah, whoever called shenanigans is mistaken.

    I went to high school in SF (wash) and have a lot family in the moe, especially up the way (divis). None of this is jokes, and it's still literally the wild wild west out there right now.


  5. great post as usual.
    completly off-topic, u should peep "marytrs" jack. new french horror. real messed up.

  6. Thank you, for directly answering the question Reggie.

    Continuing to read and enjoy.

    Both yourself and T know that sometimes survival, requires a hefty dose of scepticism, as everyone has a story or a hustle.

    I will never accept anything in this world as truth, without asking some questions first.

    To those who don't, I hope the lesson won't be too harsh, but harsh enough for you to start doing the same.

  7. Absolutely loving this ongoing story. I think it's brave of you, T, to be adding pictures as well. Much respect.

  8. I want to thank all of you for sharing your comments. It means a lot to me that you are reading, appreciating and even questioning my writing. I also want to thank Combat Jack for giving me space on the blog to share my experience.

    You can hit me here or on Twitter at DVPHustler.

    More to come...

    You can hit me here or on twitter.

  9. I haven't commented on all of these, but I've been reading them... this story seems like one I'd definitely pick up in book form at a store. I've thoroughly read and enjoyed each excerpt thus far. I've been working on a book myself (largely fictional, but with a few actual events in it), and I've been reading a lot of stories lately. If this were a book, it would no doubt be one I'd have in my collection. Props to "T" and to Jack for posting them.

  10. props once again

  11. I live on the east coast now but grew up on Eddy st. in the late 70's. Tag, Hide and Go Get It, Vans, Granpa bustin his 9 on the 4th of July..You're bringing back some great memories for me of SF. Can't wait for the next installment.