The Rise and Fall of a Super Freak: And Other True Stories of Black Men Who Made History
The Rise and Fall of a Super Freak: And Other True Stories of Black Men Who Made History, is a pocket collection of stories, by award-winning journalist Mike Sager, about American Black men whose lives significantly affected the direction and zeitgeist of American culture.
Rick James, known to all as Super Freak, was the first to wear African-inspired braids; his powerful funk beats powered the rollicking 1980s and can still be heard in music today. Sager met music’s King of Funk within the thick granite walls of historic Folsom State Prison, where James was serving the final weeks of a sentence for assault, false imprisonment, and furnishing drugs, the result of two separate crack-fueled incidents. After James left prison, the two men remained friends until the time of James' death.
Eric “Eazy E” Wright was a crack dealer who formed, along with icons Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, the seminal rap group N****s Wit Attitude. Eazy’s business practices and lifestyle set the bar for hip hop. But in the end, shockingly, he succumbed to AIDS.
Black motorist Rodney Glenn King’s videotaped beating, at the hands of Los Angeles police, was a watershed moment in American racial history, focusing massive public attention for the first time on the issue of racially motivated police brutality and the perils of driving while black. King’s sacrifices paved the way for movements like Black Lives Matter and worldwide calls for racial equality. A look at what happened that fateful night, from both inside and outside of King’s vehicle.
Freeway Rick Ross didn’t invent crack. But he probably did more than anyone else to cause its spread. The way he sees it, Ross was a banker in a shadow economy—an American capitalist in the grand tradition of our country’s rags-to-riches folklore, bringing jobs and riches to his people and himself. How one illiterate man from South Central Los Angeles changed the course of history.
*With interior art by WBYK.