Who Is Anthony Stephens?

The Life and Death of a College Grad

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128. Interview with Wayne “Classic” Price: Part 18

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11 July 2011

– You probably think you know me now, son.

– You don’t, bruh. I ain’t one of these other niggas out there, son. I’m settin’ up a empire right now.

– I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout slangin’ shit neither, I’m talkin’ ‘bout record label type shit.

– You see, I’ma be on some Roc-A-Fella shit. Straight up Jay-Z-type bread.

– Have me a fam a my own someday too, and I’ma make it right for them, son. I ain’t found a honey yet who I’d be liable to settle with, but it’s goin’ happen one a these days. And it’s goin’ be a real fam, not like how me and Earl was raised. And when it do happen, it’s goin’ be perfect, son. You goin’ hear ‘bout it, ‘bout Classic walkin’ round with his kids and baby mom’s and shit, and my kids goin’ know I’ma be there for ‘em at the end a the day, know what I’m sayin’?

– Not like my pops. Not like Earl’s pops. Muhfucka’s goin’ depend on me, son. Believe that.

 [There’s a long pause as Wayne stares out the window, jaw clenched, then he  turns and speaks quietly] Man, I think about Earl every muhfuckin’ day. Every time somebody come ‘round lookin’ for some product, knockin’ on my door and shit, or Sheila—landlady—come ‘round lookin’ for rent, I think its Earl out there with his bag and that damn notebook.

– Part a me do. Part a me be wondering where he at every day, what went down with him and that nigga Tony, if he ever got what he needed out the shit.

– I remember the last thing Earl told me ‘fore he walked out that door, bruh. He said, Classic, I ain’t goin’ be remembered for this. Not for who I am right now. I’m goin’ be better than this, create some new memories, bruh, get rid a the past and start fresh.

– Said that shit then walked out, and I been wantin’ to talk to the muhfucka ever since. Tell him, I got you, bruh. [Wayne nods and puts a hand over his heart] I got you, know what I’m sayin’?

– We all got that dream, bruh. Earl took that shit in his own hands. I wanna tell him I got mad love for him, but he ain’t leave me no contact or nothin’, and I ain’t ‘bout to go lookin’ for the nigga.

– ‘Cause, bruh. I can’t.

– Not knowin’ what happened to Earl is some bullshit, yeah. Can’t stand it, not knowin’ if he aight or not. But, son—I gave him that piece.

– That Smith and Wes I got him, that’s aidin’ and abettin’, bruh.

– I ain’t sayin’ Earl a snitch or nothin’, but he might let it slip by accident I’m the one gave him that piece. Anything happen to him and I’m anywhere in the area, they goin’ be gunnin’ for me next.

– I love Earl, bruh, but like I told you when you came up in here wavin’ yo’ money ‘round askin’ questions and shit. I gotta look out for me and mine’s. For real. Now, what up with that cash, bruh?


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101. Interview with Wayne “Classic” Price: Part 17

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11 July 2011

– Day after Earl quit, he comes at me with this shit I’da never thought I’d hear from his ass.

– Walks straight up on me at the crib and he’s like Classic, I need a piece.

– A gun, son. And bruh, Earl ain’t never called me Classic in his life.

– Was like I wasn’t even looking at fam no mo’, son. Nigga was a G now, know what I’m sayin’?

– That’s how he ran up on me, like we wasn’t fam, like we was business partners and shit. When he said that, that he needed a piece, I was like, a piece a what? Pussy?

– I’d been waitin’ for that bruh. You gotta need some pussy bein’ locked up for long as that nigga was, son. I coulda got him some too, bruh, no problem.

– But naw. Earl ain’t want none a that. Earl looked at me like I was stupid when I said that shit, too, and I felt stupid ‘cause, ain’t yo younger cuz—the nigga you helped raise up out the hood—supposed to stay yo little cuz forever?

– Shit, Earl wasn’t nobody’s little nothin’ no mo’, son. I know what he needed the piece for too, and I wasn’t goin’ stop the nigga from gettin’ his.

– So I call up one a my associates and tell him ta give me something small, ‘cause I know what Earl need for what he after, know what I’m sayin’?

– Got it to him the next day and Earl lookin’ at it like it’s his ticket to heaven, bruh. I’m lookin’ at the nigga and he lookin’ at his new toy and I gotta ask him, bruh. I gotta ask, Earl, why you call me Classic yesterday? You ain’t never called me Classic in yo’ life.

– And Earl says to me, that’s what people’s call you. Classic. It’s what you wanna be called. Man got a right to be called what he want, be what he wanna be. Do what he wanna do.

– He said all that shit, then he raised the piece and pointed it at the wall and smiled. First time I seen Earl smile since I picked his ass up from the bus station too. Never forget it, nigga looked crazy as hell, son. Scary shit, for real.

– Yeah, I thought ‘bout stoppin’ him. While he was packin’ up his shit and tellin’ me what to tell his P.O. if the muhfucka called, all that shit. Stood by the door to the bathroom while he was shavin’ off his beard, cuttin’ his hair, and I tried to tell him to stop the shit.

– But, bruh, Earl looked happy, son. First time since I picked his ass up from the bus station. He’s droppin’ his hair in the sink, starin’ in the mirror, and his eyes ain’t all angry lookin’ like they been for weeks. They smilin’, son. They smilin’ and when he was done, he smiled at me for real. Smiled, and the nigga looked like Earl again, bruh. I couldn’t stop the nigga when he was like that.

– Earl said fuck ‘em, son, told me to tell his P.O. the truth. I remember that. Told me if his P.O. called, I should tell his ass Earl had some shit to take care of so he bounced and he ain’t comin’ back. And, yeah, bruh, I was thinkin’ I should stop the nigga then too, from violatin’ his parole, from leavin’ here. He fuckin’ things up for himself, know what I’m sayin’? He fam, Classic. That’s what I said to myself. He fam. Stop him.

– But I couldn’t, bruh. Couldn’t even tell the nigga it was a bad idea. ‘Cause, for real, how I’m s’posed to know it’s a bad idea?

– Bruh, can’t nobody know what the fuck Earl was going through but Earl, know what I’m sayin’?

– Me tellin’ the nigga he need to stay his ass in Queens, that’s like me tellin’ you, straight up, I know who you is, son. I been through the same shit you been through in yo’ life, and I’m tellin’ you you doin’ it wrong, ‘cause I know better than you ‘bout who you is, bruh, know what I’m sayin’?

– But I ain’t know what Earl been through. I ain’t know shit ‘bout what Earl had goin’ on up in his head. I ain’t know shit ‘bout what he had planned for Tony neither.

– So, yeah, I let his ass go. You could write that shit down, son. I gave my cuz a gun and let him violate parole and go off to take some nigga out ‘cause he been through some shit I can’t relate to, bruh. And how I’ma look telling a nigga not to do somethin’ I probably’d a done my damn self if I was in his position?


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89. Interview with Wayne “Classic” Price: Part 16

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11 July 2011

– Earl had this routine, bruh.

– Nigga’d fall asleep on my couch at like midnight, one a.m., then wake up at the crack a dawn and just sit at the balcony and stare out at the street for like an hour.

– Caught his ass doin’ that shit first mornin’ after I picked his ass up, starin’ at the cars and writin’ in that goddamn notebook. Ain’t even see him sittin’ there ‘til I almost tripped over his ass tryna get some juice from the fridge.

– Scared the shit outta me. Nigga just sittin’ on the ground, starin’ outside, eyes lookin’ straight dead, bruh. Straight up dead.

– He’d eat some shit if I hooked him up when I cooked for myself, don’t know what he ate the rest a the time. Nigga wasn’t home too much.

– Earl’s P.O. was a asshole, bruh. Couldn’t stand that nigga.

– Used to call my crib up all hours a night and shit, ask me ‘bout Earl, get all pissed off when I tell him I ain’t seen him.

– Used to tell him that shit even if Earl was sittin’ right there, just to fuck with him.

– Earl ain’t care, ain’t even act like he noticed. I swear, bruh, muhfuckin’ P.O.’s. Can’t stand ’em.

– Night Earl told me ‘bout all the shit, we was chillin’ at the crib and I was watchin’ TV and he just started talkin’.

– You gotta understand, son, by then, the nigga’d been at my crib for weeks and I still ain’t know why he got locked up, know what I’m sayin’?

– I’m sittin’ in my chair watchin’ Jeopardy and shit and this muhfucka just starts talkin’, like he recorded that shit and pressed play. Had to mute the TV quick just so I could hear his ass.

– I’m sittin’ there sippin’ my drank and chillin’, just gettin’ used to havin’ this nigga ‘round that kind of look like Earl but ain’t really Earl, know what I’m sayin’? I look over at him while he talkin’ and he all leaned forward, thinkin’ deep, talkin’ deep, just…talkin’. ‘Bout the whole thang ‘til he was done. Then he ain’t say another word.

– I ain’t stop him neither, ain’t say nothin’, just sat there and listened to that shit.

– He talked like I wasn’t even there anyways, like he was talkin’ to his self. Said he wasn’t goin’ talk ‘bout prison ‘cause it wasn’t worth it. Told me what he needed to talk ‘bout was what happened before he got locked up, ‘cause that shit wasn’t over with. That’s exactly what he said. he needed to talk ’bout it, ’cause it wasn’t over.

– Said he was goin’ talk about that and then he was goin’ do somethin’ ’bout it. Said he needed to get it all out, get his mind right. Keep things in perspective, he said. That’s the way he talked the whole time. Like he was tryna explain shit to his self. Like he was still tryna let that nigga Tony off the hook, in his head.

– Earl ain’t never once told me he hated Tony that whole time. He ain’t have to, though. It was all in how he was talkin’ bruh, how he kept sayin’ shit over and over again, real heated like and shit, know what I’m sayin’?

– I’m tellin’ you, nigga was seein’ red whenever Tony came up. For real. Earl was like a fuckin’ time bomb bruh.

– Aight, like, he got a job couple weeks after he got back, at this Key Food a couple a blocks from here. P.O. got Earl in as a bag boy and Earl was chillin’, got a pretty nice check after the first week and bought a couple shirts, some food for the crib. Appreciate that shit, know what I’m sayin’?

– Seemed like the brother was on the up and up. Couple weeks he did that shit, and I was thinkin’ maybe he was goin’ be alright.

– Then, he come home one day and his work apron all torn and shit, shirt hangin’ out his pants and he got blood stains near the shoulder. Face so dark and pissed off, nigga coulda blended in with night.

– I ask him what happened, all he tells me’s he quit.

– That’s it.

– I ain’t ask him no mo’ after that ‘cause, bruh, I still know my cuz, you know what I’m sayin’? I know that nigga, even if prison did change his ass. And when he came home after quittin’ Key Food and he was all pissed off, I knew it ain’t have shit to do with that job.

– It was Tony, bruh.

– That’s the day that shit busted through, all that heat Earl had built up in him. That’s the day the nigga just said fuck it.


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85. Interview with Wayne “Classic” Price: Part 15

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11 July 2011

– Took the long way back after I got him.

– Wanted to let the nigga see his city, know what I’m sayin’?

– NY’s a bomb ass city, bruh. I figured it’d been, what, like four years since he seen it? Between college and the pen, nigga hadn’t been in the hood in a hot minute.

– So I’m tryna get him to liven up a little, know what I’m sayin’? Get some energy back in him. Pointing out the billboards and shit. But Earl ain’t say shit the whole way back. And the way he was lookin’ out the window [Wayne shakes his head] Wasn’t like a nigga who been locked up for two years and was happy to be out.

– Way Earl was lookin’ out that window, was like he wasn’t seein’ shit. Was like the nigga was still locked up. But in his head, know what I’m sayin’? Like he wished he was still back in his cell. Like the only reason he left was ‘cause they kicked his ass out.

– I told you, Earl’s ma passed while he was in prison. She always had heart problems. I ain’t tell Earl right then.

– I ain’t say nothin’ but I think her dyin’ had somethin’ to do with him too.

– His ma, she ain’t take that shit good when I told her ‘bout Earl bein’ in prison.

– I had to, bruh. I couldn’t lie to Aunt Sharon, man. That’s fam. I ain’t wanna tell her but I did. Told her Earl got locked up on some bullshit, some unjustifiable shit, but she still ain’t take that shit too well. Tried to get in contact with him, but I told her I ain’t know where he was locked up.

– She was ‘bout to fly down there, man. But then she got sick, and shit ain’t really turn out after that.

– I ain’t tell Earl all this though, ain’t even say nothin’ ‘bout her ‘til he asked. I thought they’d a told him she passed, while he was locked up, but naw.

– I remember that’s one a the only things he asked me while we was driving, when we damn near back at the crib. How’s his ma doing.

– I’da told him earlier if he’d called me while he was locked up, but like I said, I ain’t hear from the nigga the whole time he was in the pen.

– I ain’t want to tell him ‘bout his ma right then neither, but I had to. I ain’t goin’ hide it from the nigga, know what I’m sayin’? That’s fucked up to do some shit like that.

– He ain’t say nothin’ ‘bout it. To this day I don’t know if the nigga was mad or sad or what. I tried talkin’ to him ‘bout it but every time I asked him somethin’ he’d say like one word then shut up again.

– One a the times I asked was the night he told me ‘bout everything with Tony, couple weeks after he got back.

– When he told me ‘bout how he got locked up, man [Mr. Price shakes his head and claps his hands together], I hated that nigga Tony Stephens so fuckin’ much.

– That sonbitch fucked my cousin up, son. Earl wasn’t even my cuz no mo’ when I saw him. Nigga used to talk yo’ ass off, wouldn’t never shut the fuck up. know what I’m sayin’?

– But now? Now he was on some other shit, bruh. Whole time he stayed at my place, it was like living with some homeless nigga I just met and brought back to my crib.


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80. Interview with Wayne “Classic” Price: Part 14

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11 July 2011

– Earl was messed up, son. Prison’ll fuck a nigga’s head up like that.

– I ain’t think it was goin’ change Earl too much though, you know what I’m sayin’? I mean, I knew the shit’d get to him, but I ain’t think it’d get him that much.

– When Earl called me to pick him up after he got out the pen, he ain’t sound no different from when me and him used to chill back in the day, when we was young’ns. So I’m thinkin’ I’m goin’ pick up my cousin and we goin’ chill, you know what I’m sayin’? I’m thinkin’ I’ma pull up and Earl goin’ be standin’ there lookin’ all goofy and skinny and shit.

– We fam, son. I know that nigga, better than he probably know his own goddamn self.

– Last time I seen Earl, before he got locked up, he was clean. Nice fade, fresh kicks, decent lookin’. Type a nigga a bitch’d bring home so her pops’d stop cussin’ her out ‘bout the other niggas she be bringin’ ‘round the crib, know what I’m sayin’?

– But I pull up in front a the bus station this day, and Earl standin’ there lookin’ a hot mess. I’m talkin’, long, nappy ass hair all puffed out and comin’ down round his chin and covering his neck like he think he a lion or somethin’. Got me rememberin’ this brother I used to run with back in the day, Red.

– Red was a true hustlin’ ass nigga, son. Muhfucka’d cap yo ass for a dollar if you tried him, know what I’m sayin’?

– I mean, I hustle to make ends meet, son, but this nigga Red, he loved that shit. I’m talkin’, this nigga’d live the life for free son. Straight du-rags, Tim’s and Jets blazers, long, fresh braids.

– Me and Red used to slang shit out in the hood back in the day, cop a few dollars and shoot the rest at our connect. This one day, though, Red runs up on a crackhead looking nigga and starts in with his slick talk, tryna push a dime on the nigga. We’d copped an ounce, right? And we was tryin’ to turn that shit ‘fore anybody ran up on us and shit, know what I’m sayin’? Ain’t good to hold on to that shit too long.

– Turns out though, muhfucka Red was tryna push a dime on, wasn’t no real crackhead.

– Fuckin’ P.O.

– Undercover, nigga. Know what I’m sayin’?

– Fast nigga too, had Red on the concrete in cuffs before me or Red even figured out shit was goin’ down.

– Me? I dipped, son. I ain’t goin’ lie.

– Me and Red spoke ‘bout that shit before. Wasn’t like I was bitchin’ out or nothin’. Ain’t no sense in both a us getting took. So I booked it back to my ma’s crib, ain’t stop ‘til I got there.

– Got away too, but Red got sent upstate.

– Second offense, you know? Four and a half years mandatory.

– I’m gettin’ there, bruh. Point is, I ain’t hear from Red for a minute ‘til I saw him ‘bout a year before Earl came back from the pen, down by county. I’m coming up from the subway to go pay this ticket I got for a busted taillight—told you ‘bout that—and this muhfucka Red’s comin’ down past me, wearin’ a business suit and shit. Braids cut off, got a nice fade, can’t see none of his tatts and shit.

– I stop him and pound the brother and Red look at me like he don’t know me from Joe fuckin’ Blow. Like the nigga’s head got erased while he was locked up.

– And even when he started gettin’ into the shit and sayin’ ‘sup to me, I could still see it in his eyes. Nigga wasn’t there, son.

– Shit got real fucked up when I called him Red and his face just dropped and he all like, “Francisco.”

– So I’m like, who the fuck is Francisco? And Red tells me his name ain’t Red no more. It’s Francisco. Red’s in the past, man.

– That’s what he said: Red’s in the past.

– That’s how I felt when I picked Earl up that day. Like it wasn’t Earl no more.

– I mean, nigga looked kinda like Earl. Remembered the same shit Earl remembered. Sounded like the nigga a little. But that wasn’t my little cuz, bruh. That muhfucka was on some other shit.


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74. Interview with Wayne “Classic” Price: Part 13

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11 July 2011

– Man, Earl ain’t tell me shit while he was in the pen. Only thing I knew while he was locked up was—the nigga was locked up. That’s it.

– Remind me a this time—hold up man. You been askin’ all types a questions and shit, like you tryna get this nigga Earl. You sure you ain’t no fuckin’ poh-leece?

– Whatever. Yeah, Earl ain’t tell me shit. I ain’t even find out he was locked up ‘til the day he called. Nigga’d already been in ‘bout a month by then.

– I was runnin’ some shit to this nigga Raul’s crib over in Queens that day. I remember ‘cause the poh-leece pulled me over like three times comin’ back through the hood ‘cause my taillight was busted. Almost got me with a ounce the first time too, son, ‘fore I had dropped the shit off.

– Shit was like a warnin’ bruh, you know what I’m sayin’? [Wayne seems amused] How that look? I get pulled over three muhfuckin’ times on the way back to my crib, then I get in and my phone rangin’, pick it up and they tellin’ me I got a collect call from Wakulla County Correctional Institution?

– Yeah, man. And I’m like, the fuck is a “Wakulla County,” you know what I’m sayin’? Never heard that shit before in my life, son—but I done heard “Correctional Institution” before, know what I’m sayin’? That shit came in loud and clear, and the bitch on the phone asked me if I accept the charges and I’m like yeah, even though I ain’t know who the fuck it was callin’.

– But I ain’t goin’ deny a brother in the pen a outside voice, know what I’m sayin’? I know plenty a niggas locked up right now, and I’d take calls from any one of ’em, let ‘em know shit’s aight on this side a the bars, know what I’m sayin’? I feel for them niggas in there sometimes, son.

– Yeah, I accept the call and there’s all this static and yelling and shit and I’m like, who the fuck is this? And here come Earl’s voice, all deep and shit, like bein’ locked up a couple weeks done turned the nigga into a grown ass man, know what I’m sayin’?

– I’m surprised as fuck when I hear him. Thought somebody was fuckin’ with me.

– My little cuz, my little movie-crazy, big-headed, smart-ass cousin done got himself locked up? You must be out yo goddamn mind. [Wayne shakes his head] Shit wasn’t no joke, bruh. Earl was locked up. He ain’t tell me on the phone that day what had happened neither.

– When you talkin’ to a nigga locked up, you got five minutes. Operators don’t be asking no questions, givin’ niggas no breaks. Five minutes, then yo line’s cut. All Earl told me that day was to tell his ma he got a job overseas, some emergency shit. That he ain’t have time to call or tell her nothin’.

– I told him his ma—my Aunt Sharon—she ain’t stupid. She ain’t goin’ believe that shit. He said she got to, told me to make some shit up if I had to, then he told me he’d holla at me when he got out and that was it.

– I ain’t hear from the nigga again ‘til he called me to pick him up at the bus station two years later. By then, his ma’d already passed and my ma wasn’t talkin’ to me no mo’, so I was the only fam he had.

– Two years son. That’s a long time not to hear from a nigga who been locked up. Time like that, prison time, that shit do a lot to a nigga.

– What I heard, two years in the pen, that’s like ten years out here. Ten years a getting’ shitted on by every nigga with a badge or a rap sheet.


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69. Interview with Wayne “Classic” Price: Part 12

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11 July 2011

– Earl’s lawyer?

– Jewish muhfucka—Silverstein.

– Them Jews, bruh, get one a ‘em in a courtroom and they can get a nigga outta any type a shit, know what I’m sayin’?

– Good muhfucka, Silverstein. Helped my fam out, and I ‘preciate that shit.

– You ever see that muhfucka, tell him Classic Price got his back. He need anything from my neck a the woods, let a nigga know. I take care a people that take care a me and mine’s, you know what I’m sayin’?

– If Earl ain’t turn bitch on them faggot ass cops and start runnin’ his goddamn mouth, Silverstein probably’d a got his ass off with no time in the pen.

– Still, bruh, two years ain’t shit compared to what them niggas was tryin’ to pin him with.

– Earl got lucky, bruh. Lucky he had Silverstein helpin’ his ass out, you know what I’m sayin’?


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