Harlem based entrepreneur Kevin Chiles has always had a hustler’s mentality.
Before his role as the co-founder of the critically-acclaimed street Bible, Don Diva magazine, Kev was the Kingpin of a cocaine empire. Chiles started hustling in 1986, around the same time as infamous names like Rich Porter, Alberto “Alpo” Martinez and Azie Faison, whose stories were told in the hip-hop film “Paid in Full.” Most recently Mr. Chiles authored a book called, The Crack Era.
The Crack Era: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of Kevin Chiles chronicles one of the most treacherous periods in New York City’s history. As told by a man The New York Times once described as, “The biggest drug lord in Harlem since Nicky Barnes,” Chiles lays bare the harrowing exploits of the narcotics trade Uptown during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s — a world where the lust for freebase cocaine set off a veritable gold rush that turned ghetto boys into young millionaires almost overnight.
“Baseheads” wreaked havoc on the black community. What’s worse, upper Manhattan became the epicenter of murder and mayhem as drug-related killings pushed the city’s annual death toll well into the thousands. A teenager at the time, Kevin earned a rep’ as a boss among bosses and, along with a handful of hustlers from his ‘hood, he would directly influence the very music and fashion that ushered in the golden age of hip hop.
The crack epidemic parlayed money, power, and respect for Kev but it also took his freedom as well as the lives of close friends and family. Now, this candid memoir exposes liars, dispels urban myths, and sheds light on an otherwise dark epoch that has bittersweet implications for many today. Having seen and survived it all, one of America’s most iconic street figures recounts a bygone era of fast cash and high stakes hustling in Harlem.
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