Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Guerrilla Hustling 101: A Phone Conversation With Cavario H., Author Of "Raised By Wolves"

By Scott Tre

Tradition is essential for maintaining cultural stability.  It forms the foundation of our most vital institutions.  The inability to pass on knowledge to the younger generation sows the seeds of destruction deep into the fertile but fragile soil of civilization.  Instead of providing nourishment, the weeds that spring forth will poison and pollute the cultural ecosystem, resulting in eventual collapse.  Those who inherit the mantle must be taught the importance of that station and the responsibilities it entails.  They should also be tested to see if they are capable of living up to those responsibilities. 

Cavario H. has seen first hand how neglecting tradition can lead to deterioration.  He has grown weary of how pop culture has misappropriated the life he was bred for and regurgitated a glossy version of it to be consumed by a generation of rudderless youth. This has lead to  genocide beyond measure.  As co founder of Don Diva magazine, Cavario dedicated himself to the authentic and honest documentation of "The Life".  In 2006 he helped to launch Hip-Hop Weekly, now one of the most prominent Hip-Hop publications in existence.  His newly released autobiography, Raised By Wolves: Inside The Life and Mind of a Guerrilla Hustler (You can read my review  here), takes you into his past and offers a strikingly realistic portrayal of the drug game and all of the trappings therein.

Cavario recently took the time to speak with me in what turned out to be an enlightening phone conversation regarding the misconceptions surrounding "the life" and what can be done to balance things out.  It evolved into a tutorial on a world that few experience and even fewer survive.  Welcome to Guerrilla Hustling 101.  Be sure to listen up and take notes. 

Scott Tre: Okay Cavario, why don't you introduce yourself and tell my readers a little bit about you?

Cavario H.: I'm Cavario H., also known as BoPp the hustler.  Recently known as Mr. "I won that game" (laughs).  I created Don Diva magazine back in '99 with my ex and I wrote every article.  That's how most people in the public know me, from Don Diva, initially.  I wrote every article, took every photograph.  Did all the promotion and distribution myself across the country.  Riding around in that Don Diva van going block to block, city to city, state to state.  Just expanding it,  acquiring the content as I go.  Most of the stories were done about people that were comrades of mine or comrades of my comrades once they had become incarcerated, and they connected us.  So my direct connection with the majority of the individuals that were featured in the publication for six years or so, is very direct.  I am a third generation hustler, gangster.  That's gangster with an "ER" not an "A".  My mom and my pop, they are what would be classified as Class-1 Narcotic Offenders and stone cold killers.  I was genetically engineered by that existence, by the gangster lifestyle.  After leaving Don Diva in August of 06 I was brought in to help launch the Hip-Hop Weekly publication which is at this point the #1 Hip-Hop publication in the country...the most widely distributed and fastest selling.  My writing really started in July of 97 when I retired from the street.  My career in the street began in 1980 and spanned across the states: Bronx New York,  Harlem,  Jamaica Queens,  Bridgeport, Connecticut, Washington, D.C.,  Baltimore.  Richmond, Virginia,  Charlottesville, Virginia,  Durham, North Carolina and Raleigh, North Carolina... High Point North Carolina,  Greensboro North Carolina, Charlotte North Carolina.  My office was in Winston.  I did pretty much everything that a person can do in that existence, for the 18 years that I was in it.

When I walked away from it, I walked away of my own volition.  I felt that three generations of death and destruction was enough.  So I decided to change my direction in life and that's what Don Diva came from, but my writing initially started with the introspective that I began writing to determine my future.  I looked into my past and began writing my autobiography with no intention of it being an autobiography, just a diary.  It evolved and became a book that is doing very well right now called Raised By Wolves the subtitle is Inside The Life & Mind Of A Guerrilla Hustler.  It spans my family history as far back as I can go, although my family history in the criminal element goes back beyond my memory.  I can go back as far as my mother and my father and those who came between them, myself, right up to my son who is doing 12 years in a federal penitentiary today.  He caught his first murder when he was 16 years old.  That's essentially my overview.  Pretty much my whole resume.

Scott Tre: Being that you were born in New York and your career as a hustler began in New York, what would you say are the biggest differences between hustling in New York and hustling in say Baltimore or North Carolina or DC?

Cavario H.: The biggest difference would be the established history of the game itself and the way it was intended to be played.  There was an innate understanding about how things were done, in the time that I originate from.  The rules were established and they were followed.  It was understood that certain things were done certain ways and only certain individuals were allowed to do them.  It didn't have anything to do with whether you were from the neighborhood or not.  Being from the neighborhood does not constitute you being a "street person".  Going into other cities it seemed more arbitrary, more random.  People would just get their hands on a package from some cat who was probably from New York and he'd give it to anybody who was willing to get out there and stand out there and take the risk of losing their life or their freedom.  They would just get out there and do anything.  Hand drugs to anybody.  Try to sell drugs to anybody.  That's not the way it was coming up where I'm from.  That's when crack became popular, when crack came into existence.  When I started it didn't even exist.  I guess that's what made it so free and easily accessed.  The heroin game wasn't like that.  That's the big difference, the easy access in those other places.  No rules.     

Scott Tre: So the game is open to anybody right now?

Cavario H.: Yeah.  It's been like that for the last twenty years.  An open door policy developed over the last twenty years.  The popularization of the lifestyle through pop culture and Hip-Hop and all that crap.

Scott Tre: What would you say are some of the biggest mistakes that New York hustlers make when they set up shop in a new town, and how did you avoid those pitfalls?

Cavario H.: The biggest mistake they make is assuming that these people are soft.  I avoided that because I was taught to respect people and to assess people on their individual merit and not to generalize.  Sleep on the street and you die in the dark.  My mother taught me that before I probably knew how to tell time.

Scott Tre: What would you say is the biggest misconception about hustling that people have?

Cavario H.: That it's a popularity contest or that it's a way to become popular.  That it's a way to gain an identity.  That it's a way to to do anything other than create a financial advantage with which you can move forward in life and do something substantial and real.  A great many of the cats who have gotten into "the life" over the last 20 years or so, they come from working class families.  There's nothing in their background, nothing in their developmental circumstance that would indicate that this is the direction in life that they should be taking at all.  The only reason that they are taking it is because they see it everywhere in terms of the radio, the television, movies, magazines.  Because rappers have assimilated our ways and behaviors and brought it into their performance, their act.  The average kid can't rap, although they may try, but they can emulate the behaviors, the mannerisms.  They listen to the music and it is like hypnotic.  They tell them these elaborate stories and sometimes add in visuals.  They really think that "this is how I'm gonna get popular.  This is how I'm gonna establish myself, make my mark, be noticed by other people, be substantial".

It really gets back to a low sense of self worth.  If they had been substantiated by the people who were responsible for their development, If they had been given hugs as children and told that they had value independent of any material thing, they would not overvalue material things or value them over their own well being and make a choice that is in most cases detrimental.  Most of the people that play that game get a bad end.

I am the only person that I know that lived it, had it all, did it all, and then got up and walked away one day.  It doesn't happen.  Most people know it doesn't happen.  Most of the people who make the choice know it doesn't happen, but they still make the choice.  If it were about the money, they would be a great deal more responsible with that money, but they are not.  They can't wait to go out and throw that money away on superfluous frivolities.  Clothes and anything else that will pump them up and make them seem greater and that's what they don't understand.

In the street you are not the man, you will never be the man.  That money is the man.  That is the God we serve.  That's our religion, but you would only know that if you came from it.  If you was sliding out the door when your mommy and daddy weren't looking, doing what they wouldn't want you to be doing then you would not have the benefit of the experience of your predecessors. You'd just be doing what you see.  If you only get a little game in your eye you are sure to die.  You gotta get some game in your ear in order to stay around here.  That's old school rules.

Scott Tre: Most novels about "The Hood" or about hustling seem to focus on the more sensational elements: the sex, the money, the drugs, the shoot-outs, and what have you.  Your book includes that stuff but it doesn't focus on it.  It really makes hustling seem like a lot of work with very little reward.  What made you decide to lay your story out in that way?

Cavario H.:  Well I decided that the truth needed to be told.  Plain and simply, the truth.  Like I was saying about those people who may or may not be from the hood, moms and dads are working class people.  By an accident of geography an individual may be born into or move into a neighborhood where 'the existence' is going down.  It's like a lot of the cats I grew up with in Harlem back in the 70's.  They were sitting on the stoops like I was sitting on the stoops and we would play and run around.  But then at a certain time of night or before the sun went down, their mother and father would have them come in and sit down and eat dinner and they'd go to bed.  When they were going to bed was when my world was coming to life.  That's when I would see the guns and the drugs and the money and they had no idea what was going on.  All they would see was the results of it.  So they would see the cars, they'd see the clothes, they'd see all of the expenditures and the extraordinary things that come from having money.  That's all they could identify with, they could only see those things.  So when people like that come up and decide they are going to write a book, which most of those books have been written by people who are two and three positions removed, at least.  Much more removed.  Most of those books are written by somebody's girlfriend, or somebody's girlfriends girlfriend.  Somebody's far removed friend or relative.  They can only tell the story from that superficial perspective.  All they can go by is "there was a shoot-out, but I don't know why.  I guess that's just what they do."  There were reasons that we did certain things.  Every single thing that is the game had a reason for it in how it got initiated.

Back when we wore fedoras and Stetsons and stuff like that, "sky's" we used to call them...when you wore your hat cocked down ace-deuce over your eye, that was about more than just flare.  That was about keeping people out your face, because a lot of what we communicate was physical.    Everything that was done, how they walked, how they did certain things with their vehicles.  Not everybody was riding around on whitewall tires and spoked hubcaps.  Not everybody was wearing pinky rings and doing all the things that you see so many people doing today that are indicative of that existence.  Not everybody was doing that because there was only a certain few that understood the reasons for it.  Most cats back then would grab their money and run out and spend it on the things that squares spend their money on because that's all they knew.  Those who came from it and were of it, they understood and they over-stood the reasons for what they did.  Every little thing had a reason.  Now, three generations later, all you got is people emulating behaviors that they have no idea why those behaviors exist.  They have no idea why a cat rolled with his seat way back and his arm up obscuring his face and he can see over his arm to see you though.  You think he didn't see you but he saw you.  Every little thing had a reason, had a purpose.

These cats today don't have a clue.  Over the last twenty years, the clue has been getting farther and farther away from them.  They have no idea why they do what they do and those books are written by those individuals.  They have no idea, when they write about the things they write about, they got no idea what the catalysts for those behaviors are and you really can't deliver the depth of a story if you don't understand the motivations of the people that your writing about.  I got tired of it and I decided that it was necessary to put the truth out there and let people understand we're not just a bunch of random psychopaths with no motivation for what we do.  If I did something to or for someone there was a reason.  There was a reason for it.  It wasn't just cause I could.  That's not how you last.  That's why so many don't.  I don't know nobody else who had a eighteen year run but is walking around alive and healthy and free.  That's not bragging it's just fact.

Scott Tre: In Raised By Wolves you state that ordinary citizens don't qualify under the "No Snitching" code.  How did that become perverted and misunderstood over the years?

Cavario H.: Pop culture.  I'm the catalyst of the "no snitching" movement that began around 2000.  I didn't intend that, but that's how it happened.  There was another publication started by a kid that I've known since he was a kid...created by a guy named Troy Reed but actually launched by another guy.  Troy Reed from Street Stars is the guy who actually invented and came up with the idea of F.E.D.S magazine.  Don Diva wasn't an intention, it was an accident.  When that came about, the premise of our thing was, we would do stories on cats who lived the life and endured all that comes with it down to the most bitter end.  With no excuses they stood up and handled what came.  That meant that no matter how many cars you had, how much money you made, all the megalomania that goes with that which you achieved, if at the end of the day you told you lost all your ghetto glory and you were reduced to simply a snitch.  If you was the biggest cat in your town, like say Rayful Edmond, but you told, you don't get a story in Don Diva.  Plain and simple.

Scott Tre: That explains why Alpo never got a story?

Cavario H.: That's why Alpo never got a story.  That's why Rayful never got a story.  That's why Nicky Barnes never got a story.  The list goes on and on brother.  That's why they were never in Don Diva, because of that.  Until one day when I really got sick and tired of people asking me "Yo, how come you ain't put this one in there?  How come you ain't put that one in there?" and me turning around and going "he was a snitch" and they look at me like "Oh shit.  He just shot my hero down, but what does that mean?" In a lot of cases they knew, but that didn't matter because they ain't from it.  I don't care if they stayed with a pocket full of rocks.  You ain't from it.  Your mother and father don't even speak to you because of what you do.  You understand what I'm saying?  You're not from it.  Stop it!  You just happen to be a victim of some unfortunate circumstances.  That don't make you a street person at all.  When I would say that, I would have to explain to them, like that's the criteria.

There is no telling at the end of the day.  No, there's none of that.  That's not it.  We were pushing that in the books.  It just caught fire, you know.  Cat's started talking about "no snitching" and "stop snitching" and this, that and the other.  They started separating the one from the other.  It just kind of caught aflame but the bottom line is that if your a civilian, you're raised to understand that if something happens, you need help, you call the police.  You dial 911 and they come right over and help you.  Where I come from, what I come from, there is no such thing.  I've never called the police for anything, ever.  It didn't even occur to me.  It's not an option for me.  Regular people, that's there resource.  That is their recourse.  That's what they do.  Like I said in my book, what are they gonna do, call they crew?  That's they crew.  Police is they crew.  Then they go on about they business.  That's what they pay their taxes for.  It ain't got nothing to do with us.  So if some old woman or some man coming in from work find you standing in front of his building and (he) asked you not to stand in front of his building, you don't live here, you selling drugs here.  He asks you to move and you don't move, he calls the cops that's what he's supposed to do.  He's not a snitch.  He's a civilian.  He does not live in your world.  That's the fact of the matter.  They got confused.  They take everything out of context.  They doing things and they don't know why they're doing them.  That's almost always gonna end tragically.

Scott Tre: It seems as though you understand the position of the civilian.

Cavario H.: I do.  Absolutely.  I understand the necessity of that balance.  Everybody can't be this way.  If everybody was a hustler, and more so, if everybody was a gangster?  Forget about it, man.  Just the fact that so many people think they are gangsters is anarchy.  In actuality, if everybody was, how could we have any semblance of society?  The police are necessary.  Without the police, a great many people would not be able to walk the streets, ever.  They wouldn't be able to keep anything they work for because the takers would take.  They need them.  I've never had a problem with a cop in my life, ever.  I respect that they are necessary.  I do not acquiesce.  I do not kowtow.  I show respect.  I get respect.  Always have.  Never had a problem with a cop in my life anywhere.  Under no circumstances.  I respect everyone.  You operate within the parameters of your nature and you are fine with me.  When you step outside of that space is when you find yourself in a dark and unfamiliar place, which is my wrath.

Scott Tre: So your main problem is with pretenders or people who don't know their place.

Cavario H.: Absolutely, because they create problems.  Cats who jump into the game because they think it's gonna get them girls, they don't take into consideration the real potential ramifications of the choices that they are making.  When they do eventually come face to face with the worst case scenario that's when they have a reality check and go "Wait a minute.  This is not my life.  This is not who I am.  I want a do over.  I don't want to play anymore.  I just want to go home.  Where do I sign?" and they think they're justified because now they've gotten their mind back.  It was the game's fault they got caught up, but they've got their mind back.  They have no qualms with telling on everybody.  Telling on us real criminals.  "That's who you really want, you don't want me.  He's the real thing!  I was just out here running around doing what I was doing.  I don't know what I was doing, man."  Those people are a danger to everybody.  That's why when I was a kid, when I was coming up in the game, there was a system that policed that and kept them out.  So all that, you from the neighborhood, so by virtue of you being from here you can just come out and sell drugs?  No, you can't.  You been going to school?  You been going straight home and straight in the house?  That's what you been doing, and now you twenty years old and all of a sudden you want to be out here?  Ain't happening.  I don't care if you are from here.  You ain't from this.  Why don't you go work at that factory or wherever with your dad?  Follow your trail.  Stay off of ours.  Being from the block does not mean you are from the streets.  That misconception has created so much death and incarceration it's unbelievable.  It's fed the system.

This is not about me self-promoting, this is about me trying to disseminate some actual information that somebody somewhere might attach to and say "You know what?  I can make a different choice.  I am not identified by the fact that I am Black male in an inner city and thus if I am not in the street I ain't a real Black man".   

Scott Tre:  That's a message that needs to be heard.  A lot of the people who claim to be trying to get that message through aren't really serious although they claim otherwise. 

Cavario H.: They're not.  They are afraid to be perceived as not real.  If they say that, if they really plant that fact, that position firmly and it's distinguishable as that?  These guys are saying it ain't cool to be a street nigga.  Oh word?  Well, my history is undeniable.  My genetic engineering is undeniable.  There are people out there who have a problem with my book.  Former associates of mine, I know they have a problem with my book.  I have not heard from my best friend, the cat who I did my last run with that I've known since I was in the second grade.  Me and this kid were born on the same day, three minutes apart.  I have not heard from him since I put this book out.  The last conversation we had was "maybe you shouldn't put the book out".  And he knew the day that I called him and decided that I didn't want to do this thing anymore and told him keep everything, he knew that day that I was going to be going in a different direction.  He's known for years that I was writing this book.  Last conversation that we had prior to me printing the book maybe two or three weeks was "Yo maybe you shouldn't put the book out.  Cats might label you.  I know you might not care, but cats might label you".

My thing is, I am the realest motherfucker I know.  Anybody who does not have the respect and the regard for my work that it warrants, fuck 'em.  I mean anybody.  Anybody who has a problem with me, the nature of a thing does not change by virtue of its view.  I am what I've always been.

Scott Tre: I'm an outsider, but I don't see any reason why any of your former associates would have a problem with anything you put in your book because you don't incriminate anybody and you don't put the spotlight on anybody.  It's  mostly about your experiences and what you were seeing, so I don't really see why anybody would have a problem with it.

Cavario H.: Because they're stuck.  I've already seen this.  Most of these peers of mine, they've been caught up for a long time, but I know their mothers and fathers too.  They ain't from what I'm from.  I have forgotten more about that existence than most will have the time or opportunity to learn before their time is up and their opportunities are no more.  I have.  That is really a fact.  They have forgotten.  They have re-identified themselves.  They forgot that they're really not of that existence.  They forgot because they've been doing it for so long.  They really don't get that you cannot be stuck in that space forever and think your going to be okay.  They refuse to move forward.  That's why they look at it like "Oh, he's exposing things.  He's telling too much".  I had one of my friends that goes back to fourth grade, recently he bought like ten books.  He read the book twice.  He was like "Yo,  I love the book but some people might say that you said too much".  So I'm sure that he spoke to other people we grew up with and they said whatever.  They all know better than to say anything to me.  I'll accept their perspective.  If they say "Yo, I think he said too much".  I'll accept that, because I was that, I was that person.  I'll accept that's where they are.  As long as they keep it respectful.  As long as nobody says "Oh, that nigga's a snitch"!  That's gonna get the teeth pulled out they mouth, and they all know that.

People don't like change, and they especially don't like when you change because it's like your abandoning them.  You're leaving them.  They felt like I left them.  I've abandoned them.  They'd like to know that that monster still exists.  They'd like to know that there is still some validity to that.  You know why?  They're still living that life.  So if I'm telling them that this life, the longevity in it that existence is not real, that's like pulling the rug out from under their reality.  They don't want to hear that.  They can't hear that, because their existence is contingent upon their belief that they can go out and put their head on the chopping block everyday. So they don't want to hear that it ain't working even if it ain't working.

Scott Tre:  They don't want to go outside the box.

Cavario H.: That's right.  When you don't go outside the box you end up getting buried inside the box.  

Scott Tre: Raised By Wolves contains excerpts from the letters that your son Rick wrote you while incarcerated.  It seems like he inherited your drive and your ferocity but not your discipline.  Why do you think that is?

Cavario H.: Timing.  I was born into a different time.  He was born into a world with Rap.  I wasn't born into a world with Rap.  The imagery and information that I was getting was not diluted by pop culture.  When he was coming up, videos were very heavy.  There weren't a whole lot of videos that were depicting the types of things that they've been depicting over the last decade or so but they were still a lot of videos and a lot of visuals that they didn't get.  Him witnessing the things that I did, it wasn't romanticized.  It was just what it was.  Him having the pop culture correlating with the images he was seeing at home, I think that it helped to romanticize those images.  He probably started to see the things I was doing with a beat behind it.  I think just because of the time he was born into, I think he really just made it up to be something it wasn't.  You got your peers and the things that they are saying and doing, all that's being introduced into your psyche and your information is being filtered through this perspective.  This perspective that is being built by these unrealistic views.  So no matter what information I'm giving him it's being filtered through this warped perspective.  He really didn't get it.  He had all the veracity and all that stuff but he really didn't get it and you never really know how the information that you give someone is going to affect them.  I'm me.  I brought something uniquely my own into existence.  He is who he is.  He has brought something uniquely his own into existence.  When I gave him the information that was given to me, it didn't affect him the same way because he's not the same person.  I was too young to understand that.  I really figured if I gave him what I got, what would result from it was what resulted with me.  Not that what resulted with me was so good, but it was working for me at the time.  So I figured I was on the right path, and I had no idea what it was going to do to him.  Like I said in my book, I had no idea I was raising a wolf.  None whatsoever.  I was just giving him what I had out of love.  I was doing what a parent does.  I was nurturing, and it worked out the way it worked out.

Scott Tre: What was Rick's Sentence?

Cavario H.: Twelve years.

Scott Tre: So he will see daylight again.

Cavario H.: Yeah.  He got a few more years to go.

Scott Tre: Your mother emerges as a very strong character, especially at the beginning of the book.  Did she ever express any remorse or regret for how she raised you?

Cavario H.: Never.  I think it's the same thing.  She gave me what she had.  I don't know.  Sometimes it seemed to me like she knew that my story was inevitable, so she was preparing me for my future.  Hindsight being 20/20, I realize that because of the preparation that she gave me, my choice was a forgone conclusion.  Your giving me the weapons of war.  I'm going to go to war because you are giving me the weapons to do so.  She definitely never expressed any regret.  I think that's because of the things that she saw, because of her watching so many of the men in her life die violently: Her brothers, her lovers, her husbands.  From each of them she took something.  She took an experience.  Each loss shaped her.  That person that was fashioned from those experiences is what gave birth to me and what indoctrinated me.  The reasons that she said the things she said and taught me the things that she taught me was she did not want me to fall victim to what her brothers did, or what her husband did, or what her boyfriend did.  Each time something happens like "Okay, he must know this.  He must know that.

She was telling me in '74 "Don't ever get any tattoos".  No one was gonna get any tattoos in '74 unless they were in prison or in the service.  She told me don't ever get no tattoos because that's how police identify you.  These are things that grew from her experiences. Someone that she loved had probably ended up getting a whole bunch of time not because of a person recognizing there face, but a person recognizing a tattoo.  "I remember that tattoo.  This is who you should be looking for" or something like that.  She's a very practical person.  Very pragmatic person.  She developed me into a pragmatic individual.

Scott Tre:  That's something that's very simple (not getting tattoos).  You would think that would be common sense, it's obviously not, with all the people who have tattoos these days. 

Cavario H.: Pop culture has driven that.  These people have no sense of self.  No identity.  Whatever they are seeing, whatever is being put upon them on a continual basis is what they do.  So that must be it.  "In order for me to be who I believe I am, I must do what that guy is doing on television or on the video".  They are looking for their identities outside of themselves and they should be looking inside of themselves.  That's the only way they are going to find their true identity.  It may sound corny or cliched or whatever, but I'm a motherfucker who's lived it for real.  The shit I'm talking is not theory at all.  I'm speaking from first hand perspective.  This ain't your professor talking.  This ain't your pastor talking.  This ain't your grandma talking.  This is that shit that you been wanting to behave like and pretend to be.  This is the actual genuine article.  I actually am a true to life, last of a dying breed, die hard guerrilla motherfucking gangster.  For real.  There is no place for me in this society anymore, so if I do not straighten up and assimilate I will cease to exist.  That's what I've learned.  Now if they think they badder, smarter and tougher than me, then by all means test the waters.  I hope you can swim.

Scott Tre: It seems to me that a lot of guys thought they could swim and ended up drowning.  

Cavario H.: Yeah.  That undertow is a motherfucker playboy. 

Scott Tre: When you started your career in the 80's, that was when the Bloods and Crips were spreading outside of L.A.  They didn't get to New York until the 90's.  When you would go to other cities and hustle, how would you avoid getting mixed up in the gang situation?

Cavario H.: That wasn't even a issue.  That gang shit didn't start popping up until the mid 90's in terms of the streets, especially in places like southeast cities and shit like that.  Like B'more and D.C. and Richmond and shit like that.  That shit wasn't about nothing.  Niggas ain't know nothing about that shit.  Nothing about it at all.  I never ran into none of that gang shit nowhere.  Nowhere that I ever hustled.

Scott Tre: So it wasn't even a factor for you.

Cavario H.: None.  None of that shit was a factor.  What you dealt with back then was crews.  Those crews were generally built around a narcotic operation.  That's what you dealt with.  That gang shit wasn't even a factor.  That gang shit is a direct result of motherfuckers not having a clue how to get any money but wanting to be involved in something.  Needing a sense of belonging.  Having a sense of belonging.  Overwhelming sense of belonging.  They didn't know how to get any money.  That narco-economy had changed so much for the worst that the opportunities just didn't exist like they used to.  They are all caught up. They are all hyped up now about it.  It's in the street, it's in the music and it's everything.  "I wanna be down!  What's that thing your doing with your fingers?"  So yeah, come get down with this.  You ain't going nowhere with it, but we all do it together.  I mean, if it weren't that it'd be something else.  They'd be in a motorcycle club, or they'd be in the boy scouts.  They'd be a part of something.  They'd be in the union.  It's just the way human beings are.

Scott Tre: In your opinion, is there any rapper or rap album that gave a relatively realistic portrayal of the game? 

Cavario H.: That Jay-Z, album.  One of the first ones and people really didn't pay that much attention to it? 


Scott Tre: Reasonable Doubt?

Cavario H.: Reasonable Doubt.  That was about the closest thing to our reality, and not just the aesthetics of it, but the heart of it.  The truth of it.  It wasn't a lot of glory and romanticism.  It was just the sad facts that go along with that existence.  Sometimes people, regardless of what they're from can assimilate with a reality.  They can assimilate with a truth even if they only in their own lives actually just scratched the surface.  Some people have a greater degree of perception, that they can just scratch the surface of a situation and grasp the depth of it.  In Reasonable Doubt that's what that dude did.  He scratched the surface of an existence and gained an in-depth perspective of what it was.  He conveyed it through his artistry in a way that truly spoke to those of us who are actually of it.  Which is why it eventually got around to the point where people were like "Yo, that's that shit" because cats like myself, two years later we were still listening to that album.  He was still doing what he was doing so people was like "Damn, my uncle, my older brother still listen to that album.  He love that shit.  I'm feeling what he doing now, let me go back and check that out".  I would say that.  I would say Reasonable Doubt.       

Scott Tre: What projects do you have coming up.  What should we look out for?

Cavario H.: As far as forthcoming projects, Raised By Wolves is still a very young project.  It's only been out for under six months.  I'll just continue to push that.  I have two other books that are already written, already done.  Raised By Wolves, I'm working on the soundtrack right now.  Which will include major artists.  Raekwon has already finished his song.  Bun B will be involved.  Scarface will be involved.  Too $hort will be involved.  Jadakiss, Styles P.

Scott Tre: That's a sick line up there man.  That hits every region.  All the guys who started the trends that we see still see now.

Cavario H.:  That's right.  These are friends of mine.  These are not just guys who happened to fill out an arbitrary list.  These are guys that I've spent personal time with for a long time, for years.  The cats I call on the phone and they call me and we speak and we chop it up and we connect.  We reality check one another, to show that we not alone.

Raised By Wolves can be purchased by clicking here.

*Special Thanks to my friend John Cooley for yet another great editing job!  Be on The lookout for the second issue of Warrior Breed, and be sure to pick the first issue if you haven't already!

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