Make no mistake. Street Hustling involves a ton of risk. I was taught a very important lesson during my time Hustling on the streets.
It was a long time ago, I don’t remember what time of year it was but I know the weather wasn’t too hot. I was in Atlanta of course and at this time in my Hustle my Game was slowly expanding. I lost a couple of spots (established territory where I made money), pushed out by police who suspected what I was doing but could never actually catch me. I told you before, a real Hustler moves on a first and not on a second. I moved “in-between” time. I'll let the squares figure that one out.
I was at one of my re-up spots (location where you get product). It was nestled in the basement of a hair salon which had its own outside entrance. You had to park your car in the back which was great because you couldn’t really calculate the foot traffic going in and out just by looking from the street.
The spot was quite when I walked through the door. I was running a little behind schedule that day so I missed the usual Hustlers coming in and going out to get on their grind.
The seller was a young African. Actually I think he was only a year or two older than me, but he had what I didn’t have at the time. Good positioning in his Game and a nice bankroll. He didn’t need to hit the streets anymore; his only exposure was to fellow Hustlers. And this, to be honest, wasn’t too much different than ducking and dodging the eyes of the streets.
Street Hustling can be very stressful. It breeds uncomfortable paranoia – you find it hard to trust people.
I pulled out my list of what I needed and began to gather my products. I was always very organized. I tracked everything – what sold, how many, how much I spent, also how much I grossed and netted per day. I invested my re-up money in the new and hot and scaled back on the old and cold. I also took orders for regular customers and did my best to accommodate them. It was just good business.
The young proprietor, we’ll call him Hasan, sat down in his usual office chair when things were slow and watched his small color television. He had a movie in the DVD player and was eating something which I didn’t recognize.
“How long you been coming here?” Hasan asked with a mouth full of food. And even then, I could still hear his words laced with African accent.
I thought for a moment, “I guess about two years off and on.”
Hasan shook his head and continued, “You know I asked around who was the most beloved,” he chewed a little and continued, “A lot of people said you.”
This was a shock to me. I was cool with a lot of people in the circle I ran in. As far as being the most beloved… I would have never guessed. When I think back I figure it was mainly because I was trustworthy and understood the business from their Perspective. I had to; it was part of my Game.
“What’re the streets like these days?” Hasan asked.
“Not too much different I guess. Fools with no Hustle are driving the price down though. Selling three for tens. But I got a good spot locked down,” I replied.
“Yeah. Heard about the three for tens. People asking me to drop my prices. But I like to sell quality. Quality costs more,” Hasan said.
“Exactly, same here. That’s why I fuck with you,” I said.
Hassan went on to offer me a very tempting opportunity; something that would elevate my Game. More work but more money and more risk as he would soon point out.
“Think of it like this Shai (my hustler name at the time), we both take risks everyday. What’s the point of taking all these risks when you’re just going to live like everyone else? When I take my wife out, I take her to the best. Real Hustler shit. We have our own waiter – he stands right there at the table the whole meal. People don’t live like that, but they don’t take the risks we do either.”
I shook my head in agreement. I had never thought about the Game from that Perspective before. I later learned that Macks used to do similar things quite often. It wasn’t just Hustlers that made moves like that; this was universal Player behavior – and a true Hustler is a Player.
So, here I was, risking my freedom almost every single day. At any moment I could be “knocked” – locked-up and sitting in a jail cell. I was stacking money but I didn’t do anything with it. It wasn’t about spending foolishly; it was about reaching and living above average.
The Game I got that day during that conversation was simple. When you’re reaching for things in life, that reaching involves taking risks. And if you’re taking more risks than the average person, why live like the average person? What’s the point of it all? Why not just have a regular 9-to-5 job?
This isn’t a lesson about the criminal mindset – if you look up the word entrepreneur in the dictionary you will run across the definition where it defines an entrepreneur as a person who takes financial risks. Risks are risks - and no layer of the Game is immune to them. Reaching is a concept that should be embedded in anyone who is on the path to break out of their average shell.
I left the spot that day with a new Perspective swimming around in my mind. After thinking about it for a couple of days I made a decision. If I was going to be a Hustler then I had to live like a Hustler – anything less would be uncivilized.
Keep it moving. Until next time...
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