Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fuck Street Lit

I held my tongue, rather fingers, long enough. I’m tired of the fuckery that’s going on in Black literature.

Street Literature is messing it up for everybody.

You have aspiring writers thinking it’s cool to recycle the same stories without an editor and putting it out on the market. Now it’s becoming the norm for Black authors to write about the hood.

And if you wanna write something different like Sci-Fi, you have to write those types of books under an alias unless you have a kick ass marketing and promotional vehicle to fight against the grain.

The shit’s disgusting.

Then you have Street Lit authors defending their genre by saying silly shit like, “At least they’re (new readers or casual readers) are reading.”


That’s like saying at least a person is eating regardless of poor dieting. It’s been over 10 years since the re-birth of Street Lit and Negroes are STILL writing about the same thing.

You have scores of the same fingerprints on different keyboards. We’re living in an era of copy “scaredy” cats. When they do write about the streets, whether they lived it or were a spectator, they do a half assed job.

When I read a Donald Goines or Iceberg Slim novel, I can FEEL the words. I HEAR the cries of the streets. I SMELL the heroin addict in the dope house. I TASTE the air of the ghettos. I TOUCH the beat down of a person. I SEE boarded up buildings, gambling spots, brothels, old school cars, and suited and booted players with their women lounging on the streets.

Street Lit novels nowadays have no SOUL…NONE whatsoever…all I’m reading is fast food novels that you can easily shit out as quick as you swallowed.

Authors are more concerned about putting out books in a short amount of time as they brag about it for a quick buck rather than taking their time so people can remember their joints 50 years from now. To keep it funky with you, I don’t think they care.

Donald Goines wrote books in a 2 week span or month while fighting a heroin addiction. He LIVED his inner demons as an author. That’s why it was easy for him to bang out books in a short amount of time and marinate SOUL in his words in the process.

The lack of balance in the Black fiction market as a whole is ruining the potential of a new Renaissance. But Noooooo. Negroes don’t wanna take a chance to at least put a fresh spin on the same story because they have dreams far grandiose than the superficial and materialistic minded characters they write about.

Sociologists in the 60’s tailored their NON-fiction books on Richard Wright’s novels. Can you say the same for today’s Street Lit authors?

I doubt it. 

Black authors are held to a higher standard because they’ve always wrote for social impact going back to the ancient griots of what they now call West Africa…even if their purpose was to entertain…it’s in your blood…own it!

Street Lit authors nowadays only care about writing for a dollar. They’ll say, “We write what we see.” If you’re only capable of writing what you see, you’re not a true artist. And just because you’re seeing doesn’t mean you understand the circumstances that your eyes is beholding.

A true artist is a visionary who can not only write WHAT IS but also WHAT COULD BE.

Shit, a baby can hold a mirror outside a window and reflect what’s going on in society. Anybody can do that…anybody.

Just because you got busted for selling weed in ’98 or your boyfriend was a dope boy doesn’t mean you can properly articulate the streets. And if you were heavy in the game, at least depict the motivations behind the actions of the characters.

Writing that Guy A started selling drugs because he was broke is child’s play. Everybody doesn’t gang bang out the blue. Even hustlers have demons they fight.

One of the perfect examples of a well-written book from a hustler’s perspective is Cavario H’s (Co-Founder of Don Diva Magazine) Raised By Wolves autobiography that dropped in 2010. Check it out for yourself to see how a writer who lived the life REALLY puts it down the “write way.”

Another quote I love from certain Street Lit authors is, “Would you rather me write a book about the hood, or go out robbing and selling drugs?”

Oh really?

If those options are your only alternatives besides writing your exploits on paper then your Black ass deserve to be locked up behind bars...real talk.

C’mon, people. We can do better. This is 2012. There are a million hustles out there besides slangin'...you're just being lazy. LOL

The “Write books or Bust” creed shows the limited mentality that some people have.

Then you have Street Lit authors ignorantly spewing, “They said rap music was a fad and it’s still here.”

The problem with that analogy is that the creativity during the Golden Age of Hip-Hop (1987-1992) hit its all time high during the criticisms of the genre. Timeless classics, from Rakim’s “Paid in Full” to Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic”, dropped during that time.

Rap music became stagnant when commercialization set course. Money ruled over creativity. Rappers only cared about flossing and counting bread instead of coming up with new shit to help elevate the art form. Now everybody and their mamas are saying “Hip-Hop is dead.”

Gee…I wonder why.

There’s no accident that you now see the same thing happening to Street Lit. Folks think it’s easy to write those books. They’ll read a successful street lit book and say to themselves, “Hey, this ain’t hard to write. I can do this.” And now you have every Tom, Dick and Jane thinking they can write a book without taking a Creative Writing course or at least learning the mechanics of writing.

The Golden Age of Street Lit was during 1999 starting with The Coldest Winter Ever. That era ended in 2003 when everybody and their mamas started copying the same formula which watered down the genre.

If you think I’m lying, go to your typical Black book store, street/urban lit website, and even the mainstream book stores to see for yourself. I don’t know if I’m looking at flyers to hit up the next party at a club or a book cover.

And I don’t know if I’m looking at a book or a purposely done minstrel show on paper.

I honestly don’t see any Street Lit novel getting praises 30 years from now. The Holy Trinity of Street Literature is The Coldest Winter Ever, True to the Game, and B More Careful. The rest will only find relevance from hardcore fans who’ll reminisce about “the good ol days”…whatever that means.

You’ll remember Shaft, Superfly, and The Mack…but you sure as hell don’t remember Boss Nigga

Need I say more?



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