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BLACK ISSUES BOOK REVIEW MAY/JUNE 2007

TO READ IT IS TO LIVE IT

A petty “teef” in the Caribbean becomes a major player in the Jamaican, drug underworld in America. Prince Kofi’s writing put you right in the middle of the drama, the schemes, sex, love, violence and betrayals as Rudy Boy ‘Richie’ charms and fights his way to the top. Retaliation against Richie’s woman takes the violence to another level.

Yardies is drawn from true events and captures a tale that’s above urban lit; it’s urban reality. The realism makes Yardies a classic for years to come.

 


BOOK REVIEW    - The Voice UK  August 11-17, 2008

Yardies: The Making of a Jamaican Posse by Prince Kofi

Review by Garfield Robinson

FROM the very start of this book, I was catapulted into the world of the Yardies, thanks to the book’s clean, clear and descriptive language.

            The reader is like a fly on the wall, as author Prince Kofi skillfully takes us to the various locations and scenarios taking place.

            Rude Boy Richie is a master chess player, but his pawns are real people doing real things in a real world. Or is it make believe? This book is not for the faint hearted.

            A word to the wise: before reading, please check the glossary at the back for word meanings you will need to be aware of to gain the best understanding.

            While Yardies takes us into the underworld, the Jamaican patios is skillfully represented and I certainly look forward to other gifts from the mind of Prince Kofi.

Yardies is available for sale by emailing: Jamaicaheritage@yahoo.co.uk.


Book Review Weeken’ Chat October 10-12, 2008 

Yardies – the making of a Jamaican posse

Had an opportunity this past weekend to read the book Yardies: The Making of a Jamaican Posse. Not sure if it is currently available in Jamaica but it is a well written book that gives readers the opportunity to experience life through the eyes of posse member Richie, a youth from the slums of Kingston, Jamaica whose idea of “the good Life” centers around the collection of material possessions; guns, drugs, women, and sex at any cost.

            Take his journey and feel his vengeance, fuelled by pain and disappointment, friendships and loves lost all driven by his undying will to simply survive.

            Yardies is written by Prince Kofi, who migrated to the USA from Jamaica at age 17 after graduating from Wolmers Boys School.

            The book is published by GhettoLife Publishing Company, Inc. which was established in February 2007 by Phyllis Cross, a native of Kingston Jamaica who got into the business with the mission to give a voice to the otherwise voiceless. Cross is currently working on her next publication which will be available next summer. Yardies Part 2 will hit stores in the Fall 2009.


The Sunday Gleaner June 21, 2009

The gripping tale of Richie’s life.

Title: Yardies – The making of a Jamaican posse.

Author: Prince Kofi with Pe Cross

Publisher: GhettoLife Publishing Company, Inc.

Reviewer: Barbara Nelson.

Richie, a tall, brown-skinned, curly –haired, impoverished youth from Waltham Park in St Andrew, is the main character in this saga that exposes the ugly, violent and brutal roles some Jamaicans play in the drug business in parts of the United States.

            Early in the 229-page book the author, Prince Kofi states that, “Jamaica contains two societies masquerading as one. You have the rich and affluent and the sufferer…the foundation of this social construct is the sufferer …some of the most resilient and creative people in the world. For all their shortcomings, it’s from this unlikely root, the dregs of society, that the people who make the Jamaican culture a unique culture of world renown arise.”

            Kofi says that many of the youths out of desperation and lives of abject poverty “choose a life of crime …willing to risk their lives for one chance at success, however temporary and fleeting” that success may be.

            The story moves quickly into an encounter that Richie and his friend Blacka have in Premier Plaza with Jimmy Gorgon, a boy who made some money in the United States. Blacka is adamant that he wants “the gold teeth” that Jimmy has. The overwhelming desire to own the dentures cause him to be shot to death and Richie, although wounded, has to run to save his own life.

RUNS THROUGH THE CEMETERY

            He escapes through the nearby church cemetery and “his chest paints a bright crimson streak of blood sacrifice of atonement to the dead for the desecration of their sanctuary.”

            Richie makes a narrow escape from the Jamaican police, who, the author writes, “is notoriously known to be a gang of cold-blooded killers.”

            He leaves Jamaica as a stowaway on a ship bound for New York City where he seeks, but does not receive any help from his uncle who resides there.

            Almost immediately, Richie links up with Geeko, a gregarious Yardman who drives “a black tinted, kitted M5 BMW with gold plated grills and rims” and has obviously done well for himself in the United States. Geeko in turn is, as always, on the lookout for a recruit for his drug operation and Richie is hungry for the opportunity to make money.

            And he does make money – lots of it. The drug business is accepted as a normal means through which the ghetto youth liberate themselves from the bondage of poverty.

            It is an absorbing, violent and bloody story that unravels the peculiar intertwined relationships of the drug don, Donovan Chinqwee, Geeko, the other drug dealers, including Richie, and the women and men who became junkies by using crack cocaine.

            Later in the story, Richie the man from Waltham Park who once hid in a cesspool in Kingston to escape the law and who pays great attention to every detail, eventually gets rid of the competition. He sends for his old friends in Jamaica – Jah Blue, Stretch, Indian, Buju and Ray. They form a posse, call themselves the ‘Yardies’ and swear that they will never bow.

            “We can’t play games with nobody. Now is our chance to run things in America,” Richie tells them. And the do …for a while.

            Richie and the posse recruit their own workers. Richie gets his own permanent gold tooth with a large diamond in it and with Blacka’s name inscribed in his memory. He also has no problem in using his gold plated .45 to remove anyone who stands in his way. His drug business has tentacles that reach Philadelphia and Miami.

NEVER FORGOT HIS ROOTS

            Even with his wealth, however, Richie never forgot his roots and sent money for his mother and clothing and barrels of food “for the youth them from Ambrook Lane” in Jamaica.

            “Where I come from, no one give sufferer a helping hand Nuff youth and youth have to walk barefoot and them have to thief and rob just to buy shoes. So I an I a do what little I can with the blessing what reach me because as them say, nothing too good last forever,” he tell his American girlfriend, Twana.

            His words are almost prophetic. Soon the police and the Feds become very suspicious of the activities of the gang of “armed, dangerous, cold-blooded killers” and they move in to get rid of them.

            Do the Feds succeed? What happens to Richie and the Yardies?

            The end of the book is a gripping as the beginning.                                                                                            


The Weekly Star June 25 – July 1,  2009

YARDIES

The making of a Jamaican Posse

Author: Prince Kofi with Pe Cross

Reviewer: Barbara Nelson.

Publisher: GhettoLife Publishing Company, Inc.

Richie, A tall, brown skinned, curly haired, impoverished youth from Waltham Park Road in Kingston, Jamaica is the main character in this saga that exposes the ugly, violent and brutal under-belly of the roles some Jamaicans play in the drug business carried on in parts of America.

            Early in the 229-page book the author, Prince Kofi states that, “Jamaica contains two societies masquerading as one. You have the rich and affluent and the sufferer - the foundation of this social construct is the sufferer - some of the most resilient and creative people in the world. For all their shortcomings, it’s from this unlikely root, the dregs of society, that the people who make the Jamaican culture a unique culture of world renown arise.”

            Kofi says that many of the youths out of desperation and lives of abject poverty “choose a life of crime - willing to risk their lives for one chance at success, however temporary and fleeting” that success may be.

Deadly encounter

            The story moves quickly into an encounter that Richie and his friend Blacka have in Premier Plaza with Jimmy Gorgon, a boy who made some money in the United States. Blacka is adamant that he wants “the gold teeth” that Jimmy has. The overwhelming desire to own the dentures cause him to be shot to death and Richie, although wounded, has to run to save his own life.

            He escapes through the nearby church cemetery and “his chest paints a bright crimson streak of blood across the top of the wall as if paying a blood sacrifice of atonement to the dead for the desecration of their sanctuary.”

            Richie makes a narrow escape from the Jamaican police, who, the author writes, “is notoriously known to be a gang of cold-blooded killers.”

            He leaves Jamaica as a stowaway on a ship bound for New York City where he seeks, but does not receive any help from his uncle who resides there.

            Almost immediately, Richie links up with Geeko, a gregarious Yardman who drives “a black tinted, kitted M5 BMW with gold plated grills and rims” and has obviously done well for himself in the United States. Geeko in turn is, as always, on the lookout for a recruit for his drug operation and Richie is hungry for the opportunity to make money.

            And he does make money – lots of it. The drug business is accepted as a normal means through which the ghetto youth liberate themselves from the bondage of poverty.

            It is an absorbing, violent and bloody story that unravels the peculiar intertwined relationships of the drug don, Donovan Chinqwee, Geeko, the other drug dealers, including Richie, and the women and men who became junkies by using crack cocaine.

            Later in the story, Richie the man from Waltham Park who once hid in a cesspool in Kingston to escape the law and who pays great attention to every detail, eventually gets rid of the competition. He sends for his old friends in Jamaica – Jah Blue, Stretch, Indian, Buju and Ray. They form a posse, call themselves the ‘Yardies’ and swear that they will never bow.

Almost prophetic

“Where I come from, no one give sufferer a helping hand Nuff youth and youth have to walk barefoot and them have to thief and rob just to buy shoes. So I an I a do what little I can with the blessing what reach me because as them say, nothing too good last forever,” he tell his American girlfriend, Twana.

            His words are almost prophetic. Soon the police and the Feds become very suspicious of the activities of the gang of “armed, dangerous, cold blooded killers” and they move in to get rid of them.

            Do the Feds succeed? What happens to Richie and the Yardies?

            The end of the book is a gripping as the beginning.

 

   

 

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