EXCERPT FROM BROTHERS BEHIND BARS, VOLUME 1
WRITTEN BY STUBBS, AUTHOR OF LOVE DON’T LOVE NOBODY
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: HICKSON
A GHETTOHEAT® PRODUCTION!
Growing up in the inner city, the lust for the game is as common as one's belly loudly growling when you’re extremely hungry. You become attracted to the glamour: fancy cars, exquisite jewelry, designer clothing, fast cash, and power! Once you enter the game, greed quickly consumes you, and the allure transforms you to a point where you think you've become invincible. You foolishly begin believing that the way others have gotten viciously killed over blood money won't happen to you, or the way drug dealers on the block received life sentences in federal prison won’t happen to you, because you're “doing things” differently than them. Newsflash: there’s nothing new under the sun!
I purchased my first car at the tender age of 14: a 1984 Monte Carlo. It was mint green with the white soft top, in which the outside of it was in top condition. Buying that car instantly raised my status as a hustler on the streets of Cleveland, Ohio—the recognition I’d gotten was crazy! I was doing better than most older guys were in the community, and many older females, those that I didn't even know knew my name at that time, were now waving, inviting me to their apartments to smoke, or asking for joyrides. With having a new, flashy car, I needed to step up my dress code. I was always a fancy dresser, but now I’d become the best dressed in my projects, and buying the hottest shoes in the stores became my hobby.
Working very hard to keep up the maintenance on this car, in addition to buying expensive clothes while supporting a serious marijuana habit, caused me to spend more time on the dope strip, and decrease the time I was spending in school. At first, I’d started missing a day or two out of the week, then before you knew it, I was skipping weeks at a time. This caused me and my mother to be at odds: her biggest objective was for me to stay in school. Back then, my mother had given me free range, which is one of the worst things a parent can honestly do, while befriending their child. I'd taken advantage of the space given to me, and begun thinking I was grown.
My mother constantly complained about my truancy and had often spoken about the school calling, protesting. I then started losing respect for my peers and begun allowing my pleasures to override my priorities. If you didn't have the kind of money I was making or more, your opinion didn't matter to me: my ignorant way of thinking. The game will blind you—disarm you of your innocence, clouding your better judgment: while turning you against the ones that truly love and care for you. The streets soon become your family, and nobody else will matter….
I’d outgrown most of my original friends—those that weren't selling drugs or robbing, I’d barely acknowledged them. I had no interest whatsoever for females my age: if you didn't have a car or your own apartment, I wanted nothing to do with you! At that time, I was illegally hanging out at bars, using money to get me in places I didn't belong in as a minor. Carrying guns also had become as common as wearing underwear. The guns had given me a great sense of power: I’d felt invincible!
By 1995, my crew had developed a nasty reputation for robbing. Although I’d continued to sell crack, greed got the best of me, and being a stick-up kid had become my second hustle. I was at the forefront of a malicious gang of shooters—we feared nothing, and would test anybody! We’d put a reign of terror down on the entire city of Cleveland: extortions, home invasions, and drive-by shootings. Nobody was safe….
If a big sting went down in the city of Cleveland, my crew was the first to be thrown into the equation. It had gotten so bad, that our names would surface in things we’d had absolutely no involvement in. We had shootouts with people over wrongly being accused of things, that's how horrible our reputation had grown. The streets had seduced us—snatched our souls, to the point where we’d pistol whip a priest for a cross necklace: and feel no remorse…. We were renegades on a suicide mission to Hell or jail—whichever came first.
From 1992 to 1996, my crew had caught murder raps behind senseless robberies and gun violence. Fortunately, nobody from Longwood Housing Project had died to shootings, opposed to the lives that were taken by Longwood guys. By 1997, things had changed for me when my daughter was born. I’d realized that I was no longer living for myself—I had a purpose. I’d thought since I stopped robbing people, and focused more on selling crack to provide for my child, that I was doing the right thing. I'd completely dropped out of school, and had no ambition to go back. As long as I’d had thousands of dollars, new cars, clothes, and jewelry, I felt like I was untouchable!
The police in the community had a hard on for me. They’d known that I was heavily involved in the drug trade, but I'd manage to elude them on every occasion that they’d attempted to apprehend me. The local authorities had gotten so sick of me and my crew, that they’d asked for help from the FBI to investigate us on our criminal activities, and the drug enterprise that was being run in the Longwood Housing Projects. They’d known that if the Feds had gotten a hold of us, with most guys having long criminal records, that the Feds would be able to enhance our sentences with mandatory minimums, and career offender enhancements for said prior convictions.
In 1998, I’d moved into my first apartment with the mother of my child. Everything seemed to be going fine, then suddenly, all hell broke loose…. Somebody from the area I was living in, had broken into my place, causing my crew to retaliate. One thing had led to another, and I’d ended up behind bars for aggravated robbery charges, and was sent to prison for two years. Anytime your name is constantly mentioned in gun violence and/or drug activity, the ATF and DEA become interested in you. When those agencies are involved, it’s just a matter of time before your show comes to an end!
The new millennium arrived in the year 2000, and I was released from state prison after serving two years. Prison changed me: I'd become more confident, and my arrogance had grown tremendously. My body had transformed into one of a personal trainer. I had waves in my hair instead of braids I’d previously worn, which made me the talk of Longwood Projects, back then dressing like I was in a fashion contest, and driving the newest rental cars. All the females were hounding me, and within my first month home, I’d had so many jingling keys to different apartments, you would've thought that I was a janitor. I wasn't out a solid week and I was already back to selling drugs—it was almost as if I'd never left, and within two months, I’d already gotten my child's mother pregnant with my second child. Due to her infidelities while I was incarcerated, I wasn't in a committed relationship with her.
PCP is an extremely popular drug in Cleveland, and while I was away, my crew had converted the block into a PCP & crack strip. I’d immediately gotten my hand on it and got my piece of the pie. Money was flowing through Longwood so fast that, at times, I'd gotten nervous, running in-and-out of my grandmother’s apartment constantly to stash cash; cash that seemed to be an endless flow. Not only was I serving “wet heads” dipped cigarettes, I was selling ounces to the hustlers on the block—as well as with the crack. On Monday, February 11, 2002, I was lying in bed with my girlfriend in our exclusive, luxurious condominium, when the Feds had kicked in my door, found $66,384.00 in cash within our place, and had taken me into federal custody. They’d emptied out my girlfriend’s bank account for $15,000, and had charged me with seven counts of distribution of cocaine, and conspiracy. After nearly a year of fighting my case, I was sentenced and ended up serving ten years and eight months in numerous Federal Correctional Institutions, nationwide. No amount of street fame is worth losing almost eleven years of your life! I missed both of my daughters’ first day of school—I even missed my youngest daughter’s first words, first steps. My behavior and activities, caused me to neglect the most important people in my life!
On Thursday, April 12, 2012, the gates of Hell cracked: I’d been released from federal prison, and sent to a halfway house facility in Cleveland. In jail, you plan things, you make promises, and you come home with the best intentions. While in prison, I’d discovered a talent in which I never knew existed in me: I’d begun writing novels, putting my trials and tribulations on paper. I’d worked so hard at my craft that I was eventually signed to a three-book publishing deal with the hottest multimedia company out: GHETTOHEAT®. My debut novel, Love Don’t Love Nobody, was scheduled to hit the shelves of stores worldwide, late 2012, depending upon my effort, and the time I was willing to invest into my project’s promotion.
Since I'd been incarcerated, much changed. Longwood Projects had been completely demolished and rebuilt, now known as Arbor Park Village. New streets run through Arbor Park that didn't exist when it was Longwood, new people were now there—things were just different. A new drug epidemic had taken over—heroin had hit Cleveland, Ohio the way it hit Harlem, New York in the 70's. Almost everybody was getting rich off of heroin, and it didn't take long at all for me to lose focus and fall victim to the lure of inner-city trapping. I’d been blessed with a new baby, and before you knew it, I was back on top—driving the new Volvo XC90 SUV. I’d also tricked out a 1969 Buick Riviera, put my girl in a new Lexus, obtained lavish clothing from high-end designers like Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Prada, and Versace. I’m talking belts, shoes and frames to match, wearing all clothes and accessories, while traveling the country, meeting with like-minded guys I'd met throughout my incarceration in federal prison.
Partying out-of-state had become a ritual for me, my status had risen so high that, I felt out-of-place in Cleveland bars. I’d gotten so caught up in street seduction, that I totally forgot about the obligations I had with GHETTOHEAT® and my book deal, the fact that I was under federal supervision, and had just spent the last ten years and eight months in federal prison. The consequences of me losing sight of everything had caused me to getting dropped from GHETTOHEAT® as an artist, shot in the heart in a botched robbery attempt on me, and arrested on Tuesday, May 6, 2014—coming back from Chicago with 300 grams of heroin in my car. All of these terrible things happened like a chain reaction, because of my bad decision-making.
I’d received three more years in state prison, then after my release from state prison on Thursday, March 2, 2017, I was home for twenty-seven days, and my federal parole officer had contacted my state parole officer, telling him that I owed the Feds four years for a federal supervised release violation. My state parole officer had called me to his office, and I was arrested on the spot on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 (two days after my birthday), and taken into federal custody. On Friday, March 31, 2017, two more days later, the same federal judge whom I stood before in court in 2002, sentenced me to forty-eight months in federal prison. When this is finally over, I’ll have served nineteen years in prison for drugs and gun violence charges. For anybody who’s thinking that the streets are cool and that the game is where it's at, please, use my life as an example as to why Brothers Behind Bars don't win….
BROTHERS BEHIND BARS is a creative collection of powerful poetry and prose, extraordinary essays, candid commentary, and personal thoughts and correspondence written in prison by Stubbs: a man born with one hand, deemed by the government as a hardcore career criminal. Through riveting, real-life experiences on the mean streets of Cleveland, Ohio, and within infamous state and federal correctional institutions, this heartfelt book chronicles Stubbs’ spiritual struggles, fast-life infatuation, illegal activities and involvement within the underworld, law enforcement entanglements, and fiercely fighting for freedom during his incarcerations within the belly of the beast—though desperately wanting to walk a righteous path and seriously seeking redemption. Take this deep, investigative and enlightening journey, as soulful Stubbs reveals alarming life lessons in Volume 1, being one of the many imprisoned BROTHERS BEHIND BARS.
STUBBS IS AUTHOR OF THE SUSPENSEFUL URBAN THRILLER, LOVE DON’T LOVE NOBODY!
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AND GOD CREATED WOMAN
SONZ OF DARKNESS
LOVE DON’T LOVE NOBODY
GHOST TOWN HUSTLERS
BROTHERS BEHIND BARS