by People’s Minister of Information JR
“The Streetz Gon’ Cry” is a very vivid and descriptive fictional account of life in one of the nation’s gang bang meccas: South Central Los Angeles. This independently published work of literary art was recently authored by Anthony Barrow and Tracey “Big Tray Deee” Davis from Snoop’s group, Tha Eastsidaz, while prisoners at the California Men’s Colony.
The book deals with real life issues that families living in impoverished, job starved areas have to deal with. Issues that create a crossroads in people’s life that either have them struggling to follow their dreams or having all the cash, money, cars and women that they can handle while being a community nightmare.
Although this is a fictional story, Carter, the main character, personifies the respected OG coming back to the hood from prison, finding his family and community in shambles, because loyalty, respect and commitment got locked up and betrayal was allowed to blossom. This is definitely a book that follows in the tradition of the godfathers of this genre, Donald Goines and Iceberg Slim, but with a 2012 tune-up. Check out authors Anthony Barrows and Big Tray Deee in their own words.
M.O.I. JR: How did you two authors hook up to do the street lit book: Streetz Gon’ Cry?
Anthony Barrow: Well, me and Tray Deee was introduced by my homie J-Dee from Ice Cube’s group, Da Lench Mob, and from there he and I collaborated on the novel. Tray Deee was on a different yard, so we would have to pass chapters back and forth until he was moved on the same yard as me and J-Dee.
Tray Deee: We were introduced to one another here at the California Men’s Colony by J-Dee of Da Lench Mob, Ice Cube’s infamous rap group. Mr. Barrow knew an individual that I had written a blurb for, and I guess that he liked the way I had expressed myself. Our meeting led to a friendship, which resulted in an offer to co-write the novel which he’d already began. I read what he had written, saw it had a solid foundation and joined forces with him to bring “Streetz Gon’ Cry” to life.
M.O.I JR: Tray Deee, is there a difference between writing rap and writing street lit?
Tray Deee: Most definitely there is. In rap, you have – normally – 8,12,16 or 48 “bars,” i.e. lines, in which to be entertaining, creative and clever along with getting your point across, making a statement or setting the party off.
With street lit, you have the freedom to tell a story without any borders to corral how descriptive, detailed and intricate that you want to be. And therefore, obviously, writing books is a much longer and more challenging process due to the fact that you have to captivate and hold your readers’ interest for a couple hundred pages, as opposed to three or four minutes with a music track to assist you.
M. O.I JR: What was the creative process in creating this book? Particularly how did y’all collaborate and how long did it take?
Anthony Barrow: We initially collaborated when Tray Deee began to edit the novel. He became deeper involved by helping the characters come to life and adding that gangsterisum to the story. The process took eight to nine months before we decided that the book was complete.
Tray Deee: Mr. Barrow would write a chapter and then deliver it to me – we were on separate yards. I would then edit it and insert whatever I thought would bring more clarity, get it back to him and eagerly await the next stack of pages. I believe it took us approximately five months to complete.
M.O.I JR: Can you tell us a little about the plot?
Tray Deee: “Streetz Gon’ Cry” is a depiction of gang life in South Central Los Angeles. There isn’t so much a plot as there is an end result to certain characters’ actions. The main character, Carter aka “Dollaz,” paroles from Pelican Bay State Prison to witness his hood in disarray and his homeboys compromising their loyalty in order to be able to enjoy a piece of the dope game.
Seeing this causes him to go full throttle, sparing no one in his path. It involves his younger brother who has a potential NFL career, a woman he shared love with that he left behind when he was imprisoned, the Mexican Mafia drug cartel and a racist police detective bent on stopping Carter’s rise.
Anthony Barrow: Yes sure, the plot is about two rival gangs who go to war sparked by greed and deceit while the main character, Carter, is protective of his little brother Johnté, who desperately strives to stay away from the street life. Vicariously through Carter and his childhood friends, Johnté constantly finds himself caught in the same lifestyle. Meanwhile, a Hispanic cartel leader tries to capitalize on the war by trying to move his crew into the Vernon Boys’ territory.
Tray Deee: First off, both Mr. Barrow and myself were raised within the subculture of gang-bangin’, so we provided firsthand knowledge of the policies and procedures which govern this particular lifestyle we’ve written about, which adds a feel of authenticity to the tale. Secondly, 99 percent of the current urban literature published is East Coast-based, portraying their perception of street life and delivered in their own vernacular. And thirdly, Mr. Barrow and I made sure to incorporate a moral to this story and not just glorify fast money, material possessions and violent murder.
Anthony Barrow: What makes “Streetz Gon’ Cry” unique and different from other street lit titles is the story my co-author and I told addresses real issues and day to day living out here on the West Coast. What we presented entertains the readers, instead of offering a novel that contain chapters that don’t coincide with one another and a story that lacks a predictable ending.
M.O.I JR: Where could people learn more, and where can they buy the book?
The People’s Minister of Information JR is associate editor of the Bay View, author of “Block Reportin’” and filmmaker of “Operation Small Axe” and “Block Reportin’ 101,” available, along with many more interviews, at www.blockreportradio.com. He also hosts two weekly shows on KPFA 94.1 FM and kpfa.org: The Morning Mix every Wednesday, 8-9 a.m., and The Block Report every Friday night-Saturday morning, midnight-2 a.m. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.