Tuesday, December 05, 2006

American Gangster

Out my face, fool I'm the illest,
Bulletproof, I die harder than Bruce Willis...

One of the best shows to come along on BET since Chris Thomas was the “mayor” of Rap City is "American Ganster". The show airs each Tuesday night, and reairs throughout the week. Narrated by Ving Rhames, each hour-long episode focuses on a figure in the US crime underworld. Great vintage video footage and photos accompany many first-hand accounts by those involved with that week’s subject.

The debut episode featured “Tookie” Williams, who rose from the South Central LA streets to form the Crips gang in the wake of the Black Power movement. It featured many of Tookie’s former friends, family, and even enemies who to this day harbor an extreme hate of the now-deceased Williams. A moment of levity was interjected into the episode when they unearthed Williams performing on the Gong Show in the mid 1970’s.

This week we get a feature on Ricky “Freeway” Ross. No, not the Miami-based “rapper” with a penchant for big beards and constantly telling us his own name. The real Ross was
a notorious drug dealer in the 1980s whose tale involves the rise of crack, the CIA, the Iran-Contra affair and billions of dollars. For conspiracy-theorists who think the government may or may not have contributed to the crack-cocaine epidemic that is still ongoing, this might be the episode to check for.

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