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“Seth Ferrranti is not only a supremely talented writer, he has also experienced crime and hip-hop firsthand. He is part of the culture.”—“Freeway” Rick Ross
From the penitentiary to the streets, it’s on and popping. Thug life is more than spitting rhymes or hustling on the corner.
Thugs live and die on the streets or end up in the “belly of the beast.” Rappers name-drop guns by model number and call out drug dealers by name. Gangsta rap is crack-era nostalgia taken to the extreme. It’s a world where rappers emulate their favorite hood stars in videos, celebrate their names in verse, and make ghetto heroes out of gangsters. But what happens when hip-hop and organized crime collide?
From the blocks in Queens where Supreme and Murder Inc. held court to the neighborhoods of Los Angeles where Harry-O and Death Row made their names to Rap-A-Lot Records and J Prince in Houston, whenever rap moguls rose the street legends weren’t far behind. From Bad Boy Records and Anthony “Wolf” Jones in New York to Gucci Mane and the Black Mafia Family in Atlanta to Too Short and Daryl Reed in the Bay Area, thug life wasn’t glamorous. The shit on the street was real. In the game there was a common struggle to get out of the gutter. Cats were trying to get their piece of the American Dream by any means necessary. Drug game equals rap game equals hip-hop hustler.
In Thug Life, Seth Ferranti takes you on a journey to a world where gangsterism mixes with hip-hop, a journey of pimps, stick-up kids, numbers men, drug dealers, thugs, players, gangstas, hustlers, and of course the rappers who live dual lives in entertainment and crime. The common denominator? Money, power, and respect.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part 1: “It’s Not about a Salary, It’s All about Reality.”—NWA
Chapter 1: Oakland—Too Short and Daryl Reed, 1986–1990
Chapter 2: Houston—Rap A Lot Records and J Prince, 1987–2007
Chapter 3: Los Angeles—Ruthless Records and Eazy, E 1988–1996
Chapter 4: Los Angeles—Death Row Records and Harry-O, 1989–1998
Chapter 5: Miami—Zoe Nation and Zoe Pound, 1990–2009
Part 2- “Stop, Drop, Shut ’Em Down, Open up Shop.”—DMX
Chapter 6: Brooklyn—Jay-Z and Calvin Klein, 1992–2008
Chapter 7: San Francisco—Thizz Entertainment and Mac Dre, 1992–2004
Chapter 8: New York—Czar Entertainment and Jimmy Henchmen, 1992–2012
Chapter 9: Harlem—Big Boss Records and Kevin Chiles, 1993–2007
Chapter 10: Manhattan—Bad Boys Records and Anthony “Wolf” Jones, 1995–2003
Part 3: “I Got a Hundred Guns, a Hundred Clips.”—Ja Rule
Chapter 11: Miami—Rick Ross, Boobie Boys, and Slip N Slide Records, 1997–2005
Chapter 12: New Orleans—Cash Money Records and Williams Brothers, 1997–2018
Chapter 13: Queens—Murder Inc. Records and Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff, 1998–2005
Chapter 14: New York—Ruff Ryders Entertainment and Darren “Dee” Dean, 1998–2005
Chapter 15: Philadelphia—Take Down Records and Ace Capone, 2000–2005
Part 4: “I’m on Some Rob a Nigga Shit, Take the Nigga Bitch.”—Tekashi 69
Chapter 16: Chicago—1st & 15th Entertainment and Charles “Chilly” Patton, 2001–2007
Chapter 17: Atlanta—Gucci Mane and BMF, 2004–2005
Chapter 18: New York—GS9 Entertainment and Bobby Shmurda, 2012–2014
Chapter 19: Detroit—BMB Records and Brian “Peanut” Brown, 2012–2014
Chapter 20: New York—Tekashi 69 and Bloods, 2014–2019