Apr 15 • Book of the Month • 1993 Views • No Comments on Rise of a Street King: The Justice Silva Story
Synopsis: Set in the projects of Brooklyn, NY, a young Justice Silva learns that every action has a reaction, and no matter how long things seem to be going good, trouble is never far behind. Bred with a good heart like his mother, but cut from the same cloth as his father, he finds himself early on, caught in the middle of adolescence and adulthood as he struggles to piece together the puzzle of becoming a man.
Written in the words of Justice Silva, Rise of a Street King takes you through the transitions of this troubled Brooklyn youth to his subsequent rise to street fame and fortune as one of New York’s most memorable drug dealers.
If you enjoyed the roller coaster ride Justice gave you in the Diary of a Hood Princess series, this heart-pounding novel will leave you breathless as you encounter the back stories behind some of your favorite characters—Kris and Lyric.
This intense narrative will keep you wondering, with his enemies, friends and family out to get him, how does he survive?
My life isn’t a story about hate. It’s a story about love. Love for the game. I became a slave to the money and the power a long time ago, just like everybody around me. Some people say that selling drugs is a hobby, a way to get back on your feet to make ends meet for your family. I say it’s a way of life. You have to be passionate about that shit. If not, you’ll just be another nigga on the corner sellin’ some imitation weed, crack cocaine, heroin or whatever. And you’ll still be broke. Some old head told me once that being broke was just a state of mind. I laughed right in his face and told him good luck with that shit. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve lived on both ends of the spectrum; been dead broke and filthy rich. But getting money doesn’t come easy, you have to want it. The hustle has to be embedded in your veins. Without the will to hustle, well, you’re nothin’. And trust me, if I’ve learned anything, it’s that there’s always gon’ be somebody out there who is willin’ to rob, kill and steal to silence their own demons and feed their greed. The streets are cold and no matter how much you respect the game, it’ll never respect you. But somehow, you manage to love it anyway.
Just like the next nigga, I’ve had my share of ups and downs. Life has taken me on a lot of twists and turns before landing me where I am today. I’m currently serving a 10-year bid down in Florida State Prison, and I’ve got nine years left, which breaks down to roughly 108 months, 468 weeks and 3,285 days to go. I know this because I write faithfully every day.
Due to my charges, it was mandatory that I undergo a mental health evaluation as soon as I was admitted to the prison. Within the first week, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which causes severe mood episodes that can be anything from mania to depression. It was a hard pill to swallow at first, but it helped me understand the impulsiveness and reservations of my mentality, especially when the psychologist told me that it could be genetic. He told me that there wasn’t a cure for it, then looked and me and placed a prescription for Lithium and a notebook and pen in front of me, and said, “Choose one.” Knowing that if I didn’t make my own choice, someone else would step in and make it for me, I grabbed the notebook, hence why I write.
In my eyes, there’s not too much difference between prison and the streets. They’re one in the same, meaning once you’re in, there ain’t no such thing as freedom. There’s no peace of mind behind these walls and ain’t none on the streets. They’re both all about survival.
I never wanted to do some of the things I did to get to where I am, and sometimes I even think about praying for forgiveness. Other times I’m just like fuck it, what’s done is done.
The night Sydney and I were taken from our condo; I was thrown into a holding cell and handed over to the U.S. Marshal Services the very next morning. They sent me to another holding facility to be shipped off to a maximum-security prison because of all the bodies hanging over my head. There, I was placed in a cell made for two people, with four other niggas in there for almost 24 hours a day. We were only allowed to shower for five minutes twice a week, so you could only imagine the type of conditions I was facing in there. It smelled like sewer water and piss damn near all day. After a few weeks, I was sent to a federal prison to carry out the remainder of my sentence and immediately became the property of the Department of Corrections. And again, the same ole’ procedure was started again: strip naked to make sure you don’t have any contraband on you, spend hours in medical testing and get pushed into a cell with an orange jumpsuit and a “goodie bag” as the guards called it. My bag consisted of nothin’ but a bar of unscented white soap, a towel, toothbrush and half a roll of toilet paper. The cell they put me in was bigger than the last one, with a toilet and sink in the back half, a metal cot, pillow about as soft as a brick and a sheet that was as thin as a piece of loose-leaf notebook paper.
It gets easier as the days go on, but when things get too tough for me and I feel like I’m on the verge of some type of mental breakdown, a song my mother used to sing to me called “Forever My Heart” always pops in my head. I even find myself humming it at times throughout the day.
“Forever my heart, my sweet boy,
Forever my heart, you bring me joy.
Forever my heart, you’ll always be.
Forever my heart, my baby and me.”
I can still hear her voice as crisp as day in my head, like she’s right next to me whispering the words in my ears.
The only thing I can say that I appreciate about this hellhole is that it’s easy to keep to myself because nobody knows me in here, and that’s just how I prefer it to be. I learned a long time ago not to trust nobody. That goes for the guards, the warden and even the nigga sleeping on the cot next to mine. Everybody preys on weakness in here. Figuring out who you can trust and who you can’t is a part of street smarts. You don’t get that in school, that’s something life teaches you, and it’s done with trial and error. I learned that everybody wears a mask, even the people you hold closest to your heart. It’s when the mask falls off when shit gets real. Take my cousin Javier for example. We’d been down for as long as I can remember and as soon as he found the opportune time to try and snatch the rug from up underneath me, he took it.
I keep to myself mostly. I don’t kiss up to nobody and I definitely don’t snitch. My cellmate’s name is Brock, but everybody calls him “B-Rock”. He’s a big nigga too, built like a sack of bricks with a meaty ass head and arms dipped in ink reppin’ the 305 and the 504. I remember the first time I asked him what he was in for; he glanced over at me and told me that he used to move a lot of weight for a friend of a friend with a Colombian connect out in Miami. One night the cops pulled him over, searched his shit and instead of surrendering and being put in handcuffs, he went full-blown crazy, strangled one of the cops to death, and shot the other one in the leg. I laughed a bit on the inside, but knew he was the type of nigga I needed to keep on my good side. I give the correctional officers the least amount of respect. I know they’re only here to get a check at the end of the day. They don’t give a fuck about what happens to us once their shift is over.
I know people say that once you’ve been in jail and get out, you find ways around going back in there, but sometimes that’s just not in the cards. I never anticipated the light at the end of my tunnel—a place that was never sunny. Syd turned out to be that light. She puts money on my books every week and writes me as much as she can. Every letter is accompanied with pictures of my kids. I hate that I’m missing out on their lives, but I plan on making it up to them one day. The money she puts on my books comes in handy though because I don’t’ eat the pig slop they call food here. Once you eat that shit, you’ll be walkin’ around here like a zombie. Nothing’s fresh, so I take the money and purchase small stuff from commissary on a weekly basis to get me by. It’s hell on earth here, but I learned a long time ago that life wasn’t fair. It’s been that way since I was six years old.
K.L. Hall is an African-American contemporary fiction author from Virginia. She has published five books and ghostwritten as well. While Hall is widely known for her breakout series, “Diary of a Hood Princess,” her literary journey didn’t start there. Before signing to a publishing company in fall 2013, she self-published two e-shorts, “Bi-Curious” and “House of Cards.” Those books were added to “Sexy Little Secrets,” a compilation of short stories by the author in 2015.
Hall’s introduction to the “Diary of a Hood Princess” series was released under Blaque Diamond Publications in winter 2013. The sequel, “Diary of a Hood Princess 2,” and the finale, “Diary of a Hood Princess 3: Justice’s Revenge,” were released in 2014. Hallwas also a part of the first Blaque Diamond Publications anthology book, “Act like a Lady, Think like a Boss: Vegas,” which also released in 2014.
Hall discovered her love for writing in elementary school, and knew that writing would continue to be a vital part of her life. She has been featured in blog and radio interviews, press articles and on Vibe.com as the Vibe Vixen of the Day in 2012.
She continues to write independently and has many projects in store for 2016, including the launch of K.L.Hall Productions. She is excited to share that and more with her readers. Be sure to join her email list to stay updated with her future releases and
Get to know the author:
I can’t say that I always knew that I would choose writing, but I started writing really young. If you ask my mom, she’ll tell you I picked up a pencil at 18 months old. It’s something that comes really naturally to me and I love to get creative and tell a story, so I guess you can say writing chose me.
2. What were you reading by the time you reached high school and what had the most fundamental influence on what you write?
By the time I reached high school I was reading books by Zane. It was literally like I picked it up and couldn’t put her work down. I remember ordering a new book from Amazon every time I got paid because I couldn’t wait to fall into another one of her books. I can say that Zane definitely opened the door to urban fiction for me and I never looked back.
3. Rumor has it you’re a journalism major with an African-American studies minor. How does this help with your writing?
Well, being a journalism major definitely helped me learn how to craft a compelling story as well as gain some nifty grammatical tips that I still try to implement when writing my novels. I can’t say that my minor has much influence on my writing other than the fact that it’s helped me understand my heritage more.
4. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written three novels, with more set to release this year. I also have a collection of short stories published and a story in a published anthology book. I love all of my books, but I can say that the books that are coming out this year really have my heart. I can really see the growth in my writing from when I started publishing in 2013 and I’m really excited for my readers to experience it.
5. When writing, what’s your process from start to finish? What comes more easily to you, and what challenges you?
My writing process varies with every project I start. Usually, my first steps are to map the entire book out so I can see what I want to take place in the book, then I start on developing my characters. I think one of the most challenging things in my writing is finding the time to dedicate to it every day. There are some days I write and some days I don’t, and I’ve learned that okay. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
6. What are you working on now?
I just released Rise of a Street King: The Justice Silva Story, on March 31st. I know a lot of my readers were waiting for that book. As of right now, I’m working on a completely new series in the contemporary romance genre, so I’m excited about that.
7. What sets Rise of a Street King apart from your other published books?
Rise of a Street King is my first street novel. It is also my first standalone novel and story told from a male point of view. I created the character Justice in the Diary of a Hood Princess series and he became such a dynamic figure, I felt it was important for the readers to get to know him and understand him more. That’s why Rise of a Street King is written from his point of view. He’s got a lot to say.
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