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+

The motherland five: The cultures of Ancient Africa

Welcome readers, 

It’s been a while since I did a Black History 365 entry on stories that pertained to Africa. Still, I’m glad to present this post on the prosperous kingdoms that were prominent in Africa before colonization. Ancient African tribes are immersed in prosperous cultures, and with their own distinct traits that have remained intact to this day. In regards to this, a lot of Ancient African cultures that are known today have been passed down orally via storytelling. A rich storytelling history is told from the perspective of Griots (a historian) who helps maintain the integrity of the culture’s history. Moreover, in terms of Griots, these historians are specifically West Africans, and they tell stories that pertain to that region of the continent. However, that isn’t to say that the Eastern, Northern, or Southern parts of the continent didn’t have prolific orators that have passed down their rich history in ways of poems, speeches, and preservation of the culture in tangible artifacts that told stories. Below are five African kingdoms that were valorous at all times, affluent, formidable, and memorable. 

  1. The Kingdom of Kush: Along the Nile River, the Kingdom of Kush was located directly below Ancient Egpyt. The Kingdom was prominent roughly from 1070 B.C.E to 300 C.E. The Kush People were known for their use of bows and arrows, which helped them gain leverage over their foes in combat. The majority of the Kush Kingdom inhabitants were cotton, wheat, and barley growers. Moreover, the Kush society admired women and had a number of queen leaders that held power. 
  2. The Kingdom of Aksum: Aksum existed from 400 B.C.E until 940 C.E., making it one of Africa’s longest civilizations. The people of Aksum lived near the Red Sea coast and were important traders and merchants. Their city became an integral trading port for African and Egyptian merchants, as well as traders from Asia specifically India and Persia. This inclusive trading resulted in an array of civilizations traveling through the ports and becoming incredibly diverse. 
  1. The Kingdom of Ghana: On the western side of the continent in the savanna grassland, the Kingdom of Ghana was active from 300 to 1100 C.E. Ghanians were largely farmers, but they were known for their iron and gold, and there was a reverence for metalsmiths who were often regarded as strong “magicians” in their culture. These “magicians” would forge powerful weapons from iron and gold, making them powerful warriors. 
  1. The Kingdom of Zimbabwe: It wasn’t until around 1200 C.E. when The Kingdom of Zimbabwe rose to prominence, making it one of Africa’s later civilizations. Located in southern Africa, the people of Zimbabwe had a significant trading presence and captivating architectural talents. Furthermore, they built towers and gigantic stone walls that can still be visible today, despite the fact they only lasted around 200 years. 
  1. The Egyptian Kingdom: Located on the Nile River in the north of Africa, Ancient Egypt beats all other African civilizations in terms of longevity. It is also the most influential civilization. Ancient Egyptians had expertise in science, math, and writing, and they even practiced medicine. 

Moreover, Ancient Egypt was ruled by Assyrians, Persians, and Greeks (Alexander the Great) between 3150 and 30 B.C.E. but it had previously been ruled by these same people in the third and fourth centuries B.C.E. Ancient Egypt’s culture was advanced, with riveting clothing, art, and intricate and rigorous religious systems.    

What is morality to you? The Objective Basis of Morality by Thomas Nagel

How do you determine and gauge morality and what factors do you think can influence your perspective? In this post, I summarize an article by Thomas Nagel titled The Objective Basis of Morality. His argument in this article is that, If you resent it when other people hurt you, then you will think you have a good reason not to hurt others. With that said, he goes on to prove the belief that morality exists. Additionally, he gives reasons and explains why people should follow a golden rule that will be a benchmark for morality and why he doesn’t believe ethical obligations can be reduced by religious or legal ones. He uses numerous examples to solidify his argument. He begins with a scenario where someone works at a library (person 1), and has a friend (person 2) come in and says he or she wants to smuggle out references. Any logical person would feel uncomfortable about the situation because even if they can deliver what their friend wants through unethical ways, they would want to prevent their friend from getting in trouble and jeopardizing their job. Plus it would result in other people not having the opportunity to use the missing resource. So it’s a lose-lose situation and no one wins. In addition, he posed questions, “what makes the action wrong? And “where does the idea to not help your friend come from”? For one, what makes the action wrong is the dire ramifications for the friend (person 2) once it’s committed. Secondly, the idea not to help comes from knowing the negative effects the action has on others that will be hurt once they find they’ve been wronged and their perception of the employee (person 1) will change for allowing it to happen. Furthermore, the idea that the employee (person 1) agrees to smuggle references for their friend (person 2) and doesn’t prevent his or her unethical actions shows their selfish intentions since they want to gain pleasure from assisting with the theft. In other words, whatever they help with stealing they’ll see it as worthwhile for their amusement. 

man and woman kissing in grayscale photography

Nagel further explains his argument by explaining the reason religious beliefs cannot correlate to one deciding to do good or bad. Additionally, even if a person is an atheist he or she still would have a sense of discernment of what’s right and wrong. Moreover, the third objection he talks about is the cliche line that is reminiscent of the golden rule in the Bible “if you treat someone with the consideration they’ll do the same for you”. This statement has merit because your action towards others will decide how they’ll react towards you. Nagel concludes with a final scene that deals with signs of remorse being absent from hurting people. The scenario he described was of a person stealing someone’s belongings and not taking into account how much it might hurt a person, and the self-centered mindset would cause no moral decisions to be made due to the selfish determination that negates any consideration for the victim and the psychological damage it would cause. In summary, moral relativism can be subjective for the fact that what is deemed as moral is determined by an individual’s beliefs and conventional moral standards are understood and agreed on within a specific society and vary from culture to culture. In the example where the employee (person 1) helped the friend (person 2) steal references from a book, if a focus group of individuals was asked what they felt about it, they would come up with different answers and might even justify the stealing if what they stole was for greater means (i.e. discovering a solution to global warming. There are always exceptions relative to the situation on what is considered moral because the intentions of the person and the consequences from their actions will vary depending on the situation they’re in. 

Leave and like and comment if you’d like to chime in. Follow the page so you can stay up to date with my future posts. Thank you for reading and as always peace and keep it real.

Passion

“Passion, it lies in all of us. 

Sleeping, waiting, and though unwanted, unbidden, it will still open its jaws and howl.

It speaks to us… guides us. 

Passion rules us all. And we obey.

What other choice do we have?

Passion is the source of our finest moments. 

The joy of love, the clarity of hatred, the ecstasy of grief. 

It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d know some kind of peace. 

But we would be hollow. 

Empty rooms, shuttered, and dank. 

Without passion, we’d be truly dead”.  – Angelus, BTVS

fuel your passion text

Angry gets sh*t done

I’m going to keep this post as brief as possible. So, actor Orlando Jones who stars in more like maybe starred in at this point American Gods has been reportedly fired for a scene that depicts a powerful monologue that explained the treachery black people had to and have endured under white supremacy. I advise you to copy and paste the URL that will immediately take you the video for a better context. Furthermore, the scene depicts him speaking to black men on a slave ship and I believe this what’s missing on cable television and that’s the uncensored representation of black men and women addressing the turmoil and injustice they have to endure and have endured in Amerikkka even on a fictitious show. And this includes all melanated people around the world from the Americas, Africa and all over the world. The classification of being black wasn’t something we called ourselves. Africans had a cultural identity first and traditions, but many black Americans have nothing of that remaining because Africa was terrorized by white colonizers. So this title of being black was given to us by people who believed they had “power” over us, and today still think do. In the scene, Orlando Jones character Mr. Nancy makes a statement saying to the soon to be slaves “Y’all still think you’re people” because soon enough they and their ancestors will meet their demise repeatedly in a multitude of savagery ways. From protests, riots, strikes, and more the anger has been shown many times, and at the end of the day for Black America being angry is all you can be because angry gets shit done. Leave a like and comment if you feel the need to,and follow my page so you can stay updated with my future posts. As always, peace and keep it real.

Image result for black freedom

Begin again

Cotton ball clouds tear apart from one another

Until the sky is naked blue

Everything needs distance,

But don’t fret

They will soon make their return

In the meantime

Hold onto god’s unchanging hand,

A ravishing scenery to complex to describe in words,

The setting sun

Finally loses its early day scorching intensity,

Now I await for another vibrant day like this one

that has passed to begin again

Anyways, stay cool my friends

sunshine

They see you now

The truth that is buried by lies will eventually find the strength to rise to the surface. It may take time, but time is all the truth needs to break free with its revelation. – TheRhymeRula

Man, I can think of endless adjectives to describe the powerful and poignant Netflix miniseries “When they see us” by Oscar nominated director Ava Duvernay. The miniseries takes the viewer on the journey of five young boys ( four black , one Latino) who were dubbed the Central Park 5 in April 1989. If you’re unfamiliar with this highly publicized case, I’ll jump right into the story. On that date of April 19, 1989 all the boys were hanging out at the Central Park in Manhattan NYC, having a good time, causing a little ruckus (as youngsters sometimes do) but they were unfortunately at the wrong place at the wrong time. Police began canvassing and were looking to arrest suspects in the rape and attempted murder of a white female jogger by the name Trisha Melli. Four of the five boys; Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, and Antron McCray were on a police list of suspects. However, the fifth boy Korey Wise was not and when Yusef Salaam was approached by the police to go to the police precinct, Korey agreed to accompany his friend. Loyalty is something we all look for in relationships and do our best to maintain. However, it can be a gift and a curse, and in this case it went towards the later and Korey found himself in a frightening situation.

After that they’re lives would be changed forever. These kids endured physical and verbal abuse by detectives, coercion, and fabricated stories that detectives tried to piece together. Mind you Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise were the only two who knew each other, so the other three were adding names the police were feeding them and creating stories to build a case against each other. With that said, there was no legal representation or parental interference except for Yusef Salaam whose mother came in time to get her son the hell up out of there. They was no physical evidence, nothing that could of linked them to the crime, the only way these boys were sent to the prison was was their forced confessions and how they didn’t have the right complexion for protection. Fast forward, all of them except Korey Wise did around seven years in juvenile prison, while Korey since he was sixteen was tried as an adult and was sent to state prison doing a total of thirteen years. Taking it even further, in 2002 all were exonerated when serial rapist Matias Reyes admitted to not only the crime but others that were unsolved. He had the same motives in all his killings and rapes, the DNA evidence was a match to the jogger, and the the vivid description on how it occurred sealed the case shut. In 2014 the city of New York awarded a 41 million dollar settlement after the five accused sued the city and they divided their reparations. Some of them had to divide up with attorneys and so forth.

Before watching this miniseries I’ve heard about the Central Park 5 vaguely maybe through pop culture references but not in any detailed descriptions. It’s a saddening, disturbing, redemptive, like I said before there are too many adjectives to describe this haunting story. I cannot imagine as a freshman or sophomore in high school pretty much being kidnapped by the police for days and forced to confess to something I have no idea about, and then spend years on end in a place like prison where I had no business to ever be in. The story had holes all in it from the beginning. With the documentary, miniseries, and the prosperous lives the now men live, I’d say they’ve done their best job to now cover the holes.

Image result for when they see us

Desert crossroads

The war for everyday survival has a new playground,

In the past he found being surrounded by light as a blessing

but now life is a burning gift in swollen darkness

His dark cloak wraps his languished bones

The desire to continue to reach the end of survival in time

has his hunger for victory unsatisfied due to exhaustion

But this wasteland warrior must move forward by any cost

Because these desert crossroads are unforgiving even towards the most courageous

Start a Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: