Book Review : Pimp The story of my life by iceberg slim

  • Welcome readers, this is a book review on the latest book I’ve read, Pimp : The Story of my life by Iceberg Slim. I haven’t done a book review in a long time and I didn’t want to pass up the chance to write something on this captivating book. Leave a like if you enjoyed what you’ve read and give the page a follow so you can stay up to date with future posts. As always, peace and keep it real.
  • A pimp is the loneliest bastard in the world”. An older pimp’s wisdom to Iceberg Slim.

Robert Beck a.k.a Iceberg Slim lived a fast life as a pimp in the American Midwest during the ’30s and ’40s. The memoir is a brutal and honest recount of a man who had the intelligence (stated to have a high IQ) to live a “square” life, but as a young black man in White America during segregation, all his options were stifled and he found his way to success even if it was an unflattering one to the rest of America. Furthermore, the way Iceberg narrates his life is explicit, introspective, poetic, and intense especially when he describes his relationship with his whores and the cruel ways he disciplined the ones who were obstinate. In addition, the street slang used in the narrative and dialogue adds an element that encapsulates the reader and with that, it makes the setting and time extremely vivid. Granted a majority of the vernacular is antiquated, but its constant usage by Iceberg and the supporting characters is something I enjoyed learning. Words such as “Jip” (Mouth), “Slat” (Money or a time spent in prison), “Jasper” (Lesbian), “Murphy” (A con played on suckers looking for whores) and more were interesting to learn and is something a lot of readers will not be familiar with, so a glossary is provided at the end of the book. However, I didn’t use it and still understood a majority of the slang. The ones I didn’t understand I researched. With that said, the narration reminded me of Noir detective novels I’ve read in the past, a look into the criminal underworld where the protagonist was a criminal. Anyway, before I start the summary of Iceberg’s life, I want to say that I believe a book like this one couldn’t be published today because of the political climate we live in such as “Cancel Culture” and political correctness. For one, a lot of readers will find the way Iceberg Slim conducted himself as a pimp and con man as meticulous when he set his mind to a goal and knew the strategies for a successful outcome. On the other hand, he applied stringent stipulations his stable (a pimp’s group of whores) had to adhere to, which sometimes had violence accompanying if disobeyed. In regard to this, he prefaced the book by explaining that what you’ll be reading is a raw story that is filled with violence, drugs, sex, and a plethora of misogynistic language, it isn’t to be glorified or revered. I found this book to be a profound reading experience for its intriguing themes such as; Street life in the ’30s and ’40s, Racism, Power dynamics in business relationships, Recidivism, and more.   

“A pimp has gotta know his whores, but not let them know him; he’s gotta be god all the way.”- Sweet Jones, “Pimp: The Story of My Life”  

The quote above is from an older pimp who gave Iceberg a rundown (a breakdown of how things are) on how he was supposed to be an almighty force to his stable. He couldn’t let his whores see him falter or lose his composure. His calm temperament was how he earned his nickname Iceberg but I’ll get to that later, but first, l want to start with Iceberg Slim’s (Robert Beck) background. Born in Chicago on August 4th, 1918, Robert Lee Maupin later Robert Beck spent most of his childhood in Milwaukee and Rockford Illinois before returning to Chicago. At the age of three, his caretaker molested him, and the way he describes what she did to him in the book is revolting. From that experience, his mind was skewed when it involved sexual matters. His mother was abandoned by his deadbeat father who tried to reconcile with Iceberg when he was at the pinnacle of his pimping days. However, Robert disregarded his advances to make amends. Iceberg still had a father figure in his life when a man named Henry Upshaw began a relationship with his mother. Robert had a lot of respect and love for Henry. Unfortunately, the relationship ended badly as Robert’s mother betrayed Henry and callously left him for a con man named Steve who would constantly beat her, and killed Robert’s cat in front of him. It was then that Robert knew he never wanted to be in a position like Henry. He planned to assert dominance in his future relationships by any means necessary.  

Moreover, Robert was an intelligent young man enrolling in Tuskegee University and helping his mother with her salon business. Pimps were frequent patrons at her salon. Even though his mom had high hopes for him, the street life was enticing to Robert when he saw the pimp game happening outside those salon doors. He learned to con during his teenage years with a street hustler and con man named Party Time and it wasn’t too long after his criminal acts with Party Time that he was expelled from Tuskegee for bootlegging and went to pursue the pimp game. I don’t want to get into the intricacies of pimping, but I will briefly explain how Iceberg handled his stable and conducted himself after he met Sweet Jones and his friend and fellow pimp Glass Top. Furthermore, both these men had a major influence not only on his introduction to become a pimp but whenever he had a dilemma and needed a rundown on how to find a solution to his growing stable or as he referred to his whores as his “family”. For example, Iceberg had a whore he called “Runt” and she put in significant work for him in the streets, turning tricks (a prostitute’s customer) heads left and right, and would bring Slim the exact scratch (money) he expected. Being a high earner for Iceberg she began to become hubris and defiant toward Iceberg and what he demanded from her. So, what Iceberg did was psychologically break her down with verbal threats since he knew the life background of his whores, but it didn’t do much. She would go on and threaten to leave him and find another pimp to work for, which was one thing a pimp didn’t want to hear. From there, Iceberg needed to establish control over his whore and he went to “upper management” on how he should get her to be compliant and not leave. He would confide in the older pimp Sweet Jones. Sweet Jones would tell him to not worry about it because what he would explain to Iceberg would work and keep the Bitch in line. The method of discipline he would bestow to Iceberg was to beat that Bitch with a coat hanger. I know this sounds extreme, but after the act, Iceberg would alleviate her pain by giving her pills and running her bath. She would be grateful for what he did and relaxed that she would forget he was the asshole that beat her. Now that’s some cold shit.

In addition, he would con one of his whores near the end of the book as she was threatening to leave his stable and influence other whores to do the same. You would have to read the book to understand the elaborate way he not only kept his whore in line but had leverage over her on something she couldn’t live down. Equally important, in the book Iceberg broke down what a bottom bitch was, and if you’re unaware of the concept I’ll explain. A bottom bitch is a pimp’s main whore and his foundation. She would manage the egos and competitiveness of the other whores in his stable. Additionally, Iceberg was said to have over 400 whores, and many bitches came and went, some got snatched up by other pimps when he was locked up and got pregnant by them, and some flamed out due to exhaustion opening it up for many tricks. Before I forget, I want to mention how he got his nickname Iceberg. Iceberg Slim was a heavy drug user during his pimping days, from Cocaine to Heroin, to the combination of the two called a speedball, and he would also smoke weed. In regard to this, Iceberg was turned out (introduced to the first life of drugs) by a prostitute named Pepper in his rookie pimping days. She would engage in kinky sex with a young Iceberg and got him hooked on hard drugs, specifically cocaine. Anyway, I digress. One night he was high off cocaine at a bar and a shootout happened. Standing still as the bullet went through his lid (Hat), he finished his drink as if nothing had happened. He left the bar relaxed, and not fazed by the spectacle. His friend Glass Top, astonished by his cool demeanor called him Iceberg because the way he acted was so chill in the face of danger, and from then the moniker stuck with him. 

All in all, this was a riveting read. Iceberg had an influence on hip-hop artists and pimps that followed him and used him as a reference to their pimp game. In addition, he lived a life where he was ruthless, scrupulous in the pimp game, and aware that he had to be in power not only with his stable of whores, but within himself when in the face of adversity. He could have achieved his mother’s wishes of having a credible profession like a lawyer or doctor, but he found the pimp game and street life that made him who he was and he capitalized off it. I’d say after reading this that street life is foul, never fair. 

Book rating: 4/5

Grade: B+

Breaking free : Brainwashed Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority,Book review and analysis

“In the 21st century, the problem for African Americans has less to do with blatant racism than its imprint on our psyches. We’ve been brainwashed to internalize the myth of inferiority and have not yet wrested our image from the original mythmakers”. – Tom Burrell 

Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell was an engrossing and dense read that explained America’s persistent and masterful propaganda campaign that marketed the conception of black inferiority. Moreover, Burrell analyzes Black America’s lifestyle and the history of slavery as a catalyst to how the adversity was cultivated and the degradation of African Americans becoming mainstream. Furthermore, even though African Americans during the 21st century have done some work to circumvent the circumstances. However, the damage on the psyche in terms of it embedding the notion of inferiority has been set, due to constant centuries of turmoil that transferred over generations. As mentioned this was a dense read so I’ll try my best to give cliff notes so to speak on the levels of damage “inferiority” did to African Americans. 

Chapters such as Studs and Sluts are intriguing with an in-depth look at sexuality and this chapter can somewhat correlate with a chapter on African American beauty and image. The European standard of beauty is the benchmark some African Americans have become accustomed to and this creates the notion that looking one’s best even if that’s at the detriment of self-esteem is what will garner acceptance and assimilation. So, “looking the part” will attract an individual to the black woman’s “alternative look” which isn’t the standard for African American beauty. Anyway, back to sexuality. The way African Americans were depicted and the conformity to black stereotypes dates back to the slave plantations, and that transitioned into the stereotype of the lascivious “Jezebel and Brute” that would “terrorize” non-blacks into submitting to their sexual prowess and enjoy doing it, which seems completely absurd when you delve more into it. In addition, the book details how black students’ standards of academics are skewed due to their parents excusing their poor performances in the classroom, and with this, mediocrity is celebrated over proficiency in their studies. In regards to this, studies in the book stated that black students believe that changing this mindset to achieve academic success is considered “trying to fit in, or acting white” which is the kind of defeatist mindset that leads to stagnation and a continuous expectation of failure. 

Moreover, Burrell guides the reader through each chapter as they are confronted with the nefarious ways the BI (Black inferiority) campaign has brainwashed African Americans. One of the jarring mindsets is how the BI campaign of brainwashing caused African Americans to start conforming to individualism instead of collectivism. In regards to this, Burrell points out that whenever African Americans coalesced in the past it was for something beneficial. However, with that coalescence, it became evident that it got hampered by obstinate minds in the community and this led to the dismantling of what was set to bring forth radical changes (I.E. Black Panther Party, Black Power Movement, etc…) 

In terms of the writing, Burrell made it comprehensive and candid with his style that consisted of intertwining studies, anecdotal experiences, and interviews with relevant black figures that added merit to the theme of the chapters, and this in my opinion gave it a sort of documentary style. With that said, I think this book is a must-read to gain insight into how America’s biggest marketing campaign of Black inferiority sabotaged the collective growth of African Americans in all facets of the American lifestyle. The BI Brainwashing campaign of Black inferiority has caused African Americans to acquiesce to the concept of inferior status in this land that propagates the concept since its independence of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness. It’s time to break free of the victim mentality and conquer every obstacle with tenacity. 

Book rating: 5/5

Book review : Cry like a man : Fighting for Freedom from Emotional Incarceration

“For decades I thought power was based on how much weight you could lift and how many men you could knock out. Now I realize anyone untrained can lift a dumbbell or break a jaw. But real power is when a man can navigate through the pressures of this world without succumbing to negative emotions. To feel something painful and not push it away. To cry, just cry. Like a man”.  (Wilson, 200)

Cry like a man : Fighting for Freedom from Emotional Incarceration by Jason Wilson is an extraordinary book that covers the trials and tribulations he had to endure living in Detroit in the 1970s and 1980s. Wilson takes the reader on a journey and takes on and breaks down black masculinity and masculinity in general in a perspective that some might perceive as a sign of weakness and that’s being vulnerable to be more specific being unashamed to cry. He explains ways through his story to the reader and messages to young men on how to express their anger, fears, desires, temptations and so forth without being condemned, and straying from hope. 

From the first chapter which grips the reader into a story about his grandfather’s lynching to dealing with a verbally harsh and absent father, it created resentment at an early age but it all worked together to shape Jason Wilson’s mission in life to take on challenges and come out with strength even though he felt all the pain going through it. Wilson used his love and trust in Yah (God) once he accepted the Christian faith to guide him through all the blessings and adversity. Even though he does use his Christian faith and teachings in the book, any person of any faith can empathize and appreciate his candidness and journey to becoming a better man. Furthermore, Wilson is the founder and president of The Yunion an organization that unites families and provides young boys with guidance and development so they become successful in any endeavor in their adult life. With that said, Wilson solidified his transformation to becoming a man of God and leader by encouraging and equipping young black boys in his program The Cave of Adullam Transformational Academy (CATTA) which he is the director of, and he gives them daily challenges that test them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually into manhood.  

This book is well written and is a page-turner for the lessons he provides to the reader in terms of determination, overcoming adversity, grief,  and happiness. Having said that, it all culminates to a great epilogue that brings everything full circle for the reader to know how his life is today with The Yunion and CATTA mentoring and guiding black youth to manhood. I’m glad I got this book for free, not saying I wouldn’t have purchased it because it’s worth every penny for the value it brings to not only young black men but men in general who hide behind a machismo mentality when behind that tough exterior is a vulnerability that is being held down, but that vulnerability will eventually become awakened when hardships happen, and the healing process will begin in order to become a stronger better man and human. I highly recommend this book and below I will show you some of the work Mr. Wilson has done to teach young black boys in Detroit to become the man he and they want to envision. 

My rating for the book : 5/5 

Grade: A

Leave a like and comment if you’d like to chime in. Also give my page a follow so you can stay up to date with my future posts. As always peace and keep it real.

Cry Like a Man: Fighting for Freedom from Emotional Incarceration: Wilson,  Jason, Burgundy, Eshon: 0638302714341: Amazon.com: Books
Cry Like a Man: Fighting for Freedom from Emotional Incarceration: Wilson,  Jason, Burgundy, Eshon: 0638302714341: Amazon.com: Books

Fair Warning book review + Commentary on DNA Testing

Welcome readers, 

This post will be divided into two parts, the first being a review on a recent book I finished reading from crime fiction author Michael Connelly, and the second part will deal with discussing the risks of DNA submissions for testing ancestral, family history, and how it can backfire. The reason being,  DNA plays a significant role in the novel’s narrative and the crimes committed. I want to state that I’m not discouraging people from wanting to find out their family history/origins, I’m simply expressing ways that your DNA can be manipulated, mishandled, and possibly distributed for purposes you never intended it to be. With that said, I will start with the review and if you’re interested in crime fiction (Mystery, Thrillers, etc…) then definitely give this book a read. 

Part 1: Book review

Fair Warning is the latest novel release from critically acclaimed crime fiction author Michael Connelly and his 34th overall. This novel is the third he wrote with protagonist Jack McEvoy, a crime reporter which Connelly himself used to be, and I must say that the books in the McEvoy series keep getting better with every installment. In addition, I also own a few Harry Bosch novels which Connelly is most known for. So in Fair Warning things are a bit different for Jack, he’s no longer a crime journalist, but rather a watchdog reporter for a nonprofit consumer protection news website called Fair Warning which also exists in real life and the man who operates the organization Myron Levin is a character in the novel. Jack McVoy has faced down serial killers in the last two books (The Poet, The Scarecrow) but this case was more frightening because he’s a suspect in a woman’s brutal murder that he knew. He not only has to clear his name but also protect his sources from a criminal mind that brutally kills his victims by Atlanto-occipital dislocation or put simply internal decapitation. All the women victims shared a DNA trait that they submitted to a DNA testing company called GT23. This vicious killer hunts down women using genetic data, selects, and stalks his victims. In regards to that, the killer in this book compared to the other two in The Poet and The Scarecrow  in my opinion didn’t have any depth in terms of backstory or creepy aurora about him. His motives aren’t very clear when it comes to what could have influenced him to committing murders, but his connection to an Incel Dark web site and fellow perpetrators in that community could have been a catalyst. Connelly sticks to using the first-person perspective with McEvoy as he did in the other two novels, a third person POV for the serial killer and a third person POV for another vital character who is a member of an Incel dark website that plays a pivotal role in the plot. Furthermore, even though this is a work of fiction, there are real-life communities represented in this book such as Incel groups and their rise of misogyny that could lead to dangerous and deadly ramifications. Connelly has in my opinion from the books I’ve read of his been great with pacing, dialogue, and creating a story that’s exciting, intense, and enjoyable, and all these descriptions make a good crime thriller/mystery. 

Fair Warning (Jack McEvoy Book 3) - Kindle edition by Connelly, Michael.  Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Part 2: Commentary on how DNA Testing can backfire

Have you ever wanted to know your family history/origins and submitted DNA to agencies such as 23andMe and Ancestry to name a few? If you have or are willing to do it then cool, but you might not know what’s going on behind the scenes that can be disturbing. I have friends who have done ancestry testing to see their origins, but after reading this novel it brought a new level of understanding to me on how our DNA information and the governing bodies who are supposed to monitor such testing agencies can cause harmful effects when issues that arise are left untreated. In other words, Connelly exposes the unregulated genetic DNA companies and how consumers’ belief in anonymity and privacy can be reneged  on . To make this even more unsettling the DNA can be transferred from a primary agency let’s say Ancestry, then sent to a second party who in turn has an affiliation with a third party and with that your DNA has entered a rabbit hole and it’s vulnerable to be used in whatever way. For example, without spoiling anything from the novel, McEvoy learns that a lab is making money advertising on the dark web and selling DNA information on the black market. From there DNA of the clients were used for purposes that ended with the death of women. Look, as I said in the beginning of this post, I’m not discouraging people from discovering information about themselves, but keep in mind that the people who test your DNA and have the history about your past and your biological makeup can very well use it for their means and capitalize and cause you to become of a victim in their plans. You might think this is implausible, but with questionable security measures and mediocre regulations by the FDA, any negative result is possible.

How secure and private are DNA tests? - YouTube
What DNA testing kit companies are really doing with your data -  Malwarebytes Labs | Malwarebytes Labs

If interested check out FairWarning.org to see the news that some news outlets might neglect to address. This is my first time doing a book review and I’ll look into maybe doing more, but this one was much needed for the subject matter it dealt with. Leave a like if you enjoyed reading this and give my page a follow so you can stay up to date with my future posts. As always, peace and keep it real. 

Rating for the book : 4/5

Grade : B+

Would I recommend this book : Yes 

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