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About | Introduction | Excerpt #1 | Excerpt #2 | Excerpt #3 | Excerpt #4 | Excerpt #5
Part 2 :

It's still the early '80s, and 50 Cent the rapper is far from materializing. He's known by his family and in the neighborhood as "Boo-Boo." In a few years he'll be an established crack dealer, but his first experience with the cocaine trade is not going to come from outside the house; his aunts and uncles are going to send him to buy drugs for them. It's during these transactions that Boo-Boo would get to know Sincere, the local pusher who would change his life. In this excerpt, Fif relives getting turned on and turned out by being introduced to the money he could get from flipping Fat Alberts and he's not talking about the leader of the Junkyard Band, either.

B ack in the early half of the eighties, cocaine was a recreational drug. My aunts and uncles Star, Johnny, and Jennie (who had come back worse off from the army than when Johnny had returned from the navy) used coke. They'd get together with their friends, sniff some lines, and go out. When they came back, they'd hit a few more lines and drink till they went to sleep the next afternoon. I'd wake up in the morning from all the loud talking and find them in the living room with the same clothes they had on when I went to sleep. They'd be having such a good time that when they ran out of coke, no one would want to go get more, so they'd send me down the block to Brian's house for Fat Alberts. A Fat Albert was about a quarter gram of cocaine, wrapped in aluminum foil or a shred of a plastic bag, that sold for twenty-five dollars. Brian was only in high school. Actually, he was at the age when he should have been in high school, but I never saw him doing homework or carrying books. When I saw him, he was clean-cut and freshly dipped. He hung out with guys who were much older and drove a whitewall-tired Pontiac Bonneville. But like I said, even though he was my cousin, he never gave me anything.

One time, I had fifty dollars in my pocket and was picking up some Alberts from Brian. He had on a brand-new pair of sneakers, and about six or seven boxes of kicks he hadn't even worn yet were stacked in the bedroom. It was one of the craziest things I had ever seen. It looked like a corner in one of the sneaker stores Sincere took me to. I asked Brian if he would buy me a new pair of sneakers, because the ones I had were all worn out. I showed him the bottom of my Lottos. A torn sock and the head of my naked big toe were sticking out like, "Hello." This n---a Brian laughed at me, counted the money I had given him, handed me the two Alberts, and sent me on my way. I was like, f--- that. After that, I never went back to Brian to pick up anything. From then on, I went to see Sincere. But the time came when Sincere wouldn't buy clothes or sneakers for me, either. Sincere began to change. Mel and Jack, some of the older guys from the neighborhood, had kidnapped his grandfather for ransom money.

Sincere told me that I had to keep my mouth shut about things like this. He didn't even have to tell me that because I was freaked out by the whole thing. I was like, "What part of the game is this?" That sh-- made no sense to me. I asked Sincere how it happened, and he told me that someone had made the mistake of telling Mel and Jack that he kept cash in the house. Sincere wasn't absolutely positive who ran his mouth, but he was pretty sure that it was Gary. Gary was a kid from the neighborhood who had a habit of saying more than he was supposed to around the wrong people. Sincere had been hanging with Gary the day before everything went down and that Mel was Gary's sister's baby's father. "I don't believe in no coincidence," he said. He only believed in things he could see. And he saw Mel and Jack even though they had worn masks. The robbers kidnapped his grandfather and shot the old man, just to let Sincere know that they were serious. They wanted money, and they were ready to put holes in people to prove it.

The story woke me up to what the game was really about. Up until that point, I had believed in some sort of honor among thieves. But that illusion left my mind that night. It was all about money, and everyone was out for himself.

"I don't understand that sh--, Boo-Boo, man," Sincere said. His eyes were shifting as if he expected Mel and Jack to come back at any minute. "It's like you can't even run a little business anymore," he said. "You gotta be careful around Gary."

It felt like Sincere was preparing me for something, but I wasn't sure what it was.

"Listen, if I give you a pair of sneakers, they're just gonna get dirty and I'ma have to buy you a new pair all over again, man," Sincere said. Then he pulled out a small wrapped bag of cocaine and told me that it contained a little bit over a gram of powder. He measured out the bag into five equal parts and wrapped them in foil. "There's five Alberts, man," he said. "Sell those to your uncles and bring me back a hundred dollars." I had the small balls in my hand, looking at what would become my first profitable drug transaction.

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