Manny Black fled the notorious streets of Colon, Panama as a deadly fugitive. With nothing but a plan to make it rich in the Big Apple, Manny used the power of his gun to pave his way. After crossing dangerous paths with a group of Cuban gangsters and meeting the love of his life, Manny becomes the leader of the M3 Boyz. Under the direction of his hotheaded brother Rico, the massive gang of hungry street soldiers reign terror on the East Coast. Until, the Marielitos, a Cuban organized crime family, puts things into a lethal mix of murder and mayhem. Their rags to riches story is filled with an inside look at urban love, treachery, and a passion for cash. With a host of characters that most men would idolize and many women want to love; this book finally provides the answer to that age old question… Does crime really pay?
Excerpt From Crime Pays?:
Five hours after Manny and Rico landed in Panama, they were up eating what their mother could put together for breakfast. Xia was still sleeping, and Manny liked it that way. For what he was about to do, he would either be considered the man of the house, or they would be sleeping in a hotel before the day was over.
Manny called Puncho to him in the hallway of the house, then stopped Rico from going back to sleep on a full stomach. He handed Rico a bag, then walked his two brothers out into the backyard. Their father was sitting in a rocking chair while smoking a cigar as Daniel Santos played through his old boombox.
Manny grabbed the cigar out of his father’s hand and had a seat on an old tree stump facing him. Mr. Black looked at his oldest like Manny lost his mind. Rico slid in next to his father, while Puncho sat on an old beer crate at his father’s feet. While father and son had a staredown, Manny puffed on the cigar as Puncho waited for the sparks to fly.
“You too tough to respect your father, Manuel Black?” Mr. Black questioned.
Manny took a puff on the cigar, then calmly said, “Papa, the time has come that you see me as a man.” Mr. Black ordered, “Puncho, Ricardo, leave. We have something to
Puncho was ready to run, when Manny barked, “Puncho, stay.” Puncho looked at his father confused and then back at his brother. Manny said to Puncho, “Hermano, this will be the first and last time you disobey your father.”
Mr. Black surrendered, then said to Manny, “Okay, papá, you the father now. Say what you have to say and then get out of my house.”
Manny nodded at Rico, who stood, went into the house, and returned with the bag that Manny handed him. He placed the bag next to his father and returned to his seat.
When Mr. Black looked down at the bag, Manny said, “That’s two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in cash. I have a half a million dollars in the bank here in Panama. This morning, Mamá had to scrounge up food from empty cupboards to feed us. Papá, you raised us to be men. Let us be men and take care of you and mamá.”
Mr. Black looked at both of his sons. In a voice filled with anger, he asked, “Where did you get this money from?”
“The money is ours,” Manny quickly responded, trying to downplay any suspicions.
“Esto es mucho dinero. What did you boys do to get it?” Mr. Black asked suspiciously.
“We’re doing some things over in the States,” Manny replied.
“What kind of investment give you so much money? Shouldn’t it be in a cheque or banco or something?” Mr. Black asked with a bit of sarcasm.
“That’s one of the reasons we’re here. Rico and me are interested in investing money in Panama for a family business. We have businesses in Nueva York, and we wish to do business with you in Panama.”
“Did you bring blood money into this house? With that amount of cash, it cannot be legitimate. I thought you two were working at the airport?” Mr.Black turned to Manny and said, “This is the reason you leave Panama!” He pointed to Manny. “You were running around with those maleante boys, robbing and hurting good people. You kill Señor Delecruz for money and brought shame to this family. Now you involve your brother in that life? Hijo, if we do business with blood money, anything that starts in blood ends in blood.”
Rico’s patience wore thin. When he couldn’t stand it anymore, Rico thought of the way his father demanded that his sons use articulation and said, “Look, Papá. The money is here now. It’s a fresh start. It’s good money. Look at your house, Papa. It has a hole in the roof. That is not how you raised us to be. Do you want to scrape all your life? You want you and Mama to die in this beatdown flat without seeing the better side of life? What about Puncho? Doesn’t he deserve more?” Rico was getting furious so he stood. “You slaved in that cement plant for what? You have nada! Where are the benefits? Pops, you always told Manny and me to be men. So now
we’re being men by taking care of our familia. You gonna deny us that? America stopped the money from coming into Panama when they took Noriega and the drugs. Now we gonna take the money out of America and bring it to Panama.”
Rico’s words cut his father deep. It forced Mr. Black to examine the injustice he received. He shut his eyes and concentrated. For twenty-eight years, he worked hard trying to keep a roof over his family’s head. Prior to the invasion of Panama in 1989, he worked as an executive at one of the biggest cement plants in Panama. After the war, his company was left badly damaged by the United States continuously bombing it. He thought of how the company he worked for was repairing the building and laid him off because his salary was needed to fix the place. He admitted that things had gotten bad. He didn’t like filing for bankruptcy. He didn’t like the way
Manny turned to crime and then left for the States because his father was an embarrassment. He was really upset when Rico followed in his older brother’s footsteps. Since then, his family had been getting by with the financial assistance his sons sent back home. Now that he was sitting before his two sons, he was reminded of how much he had fallen from grace. Mr.Black opened his eyes. He stared at his most loyal son Rico and felt a sense pride mixed with fear. He then looked at Puncho wondering what type of future he would provide for him.
He looked to Manny, who was always reserved and calculated, before saying, “What do you expect of me?”
A smile quickly spread across Manny’s face. He took a deep breath with a sense of relief. He said, “Papá, here’s what Rico and me have in mind. We want to move you to a hotel in Panama City so we can rebuild our house and land. Later this morning, we will go see the contractors and get them to start the work immediately. The hotel will give you and Mamá a chance to have someone take care of you for once. Papá, use that money to pay for
everything. From now on, we are going to send a hundred thousand a month to you. I want you to open up a food market with fair prices so the poor can eat. Let Puncho and Mamá run it. Me, you, and Rico will buy up the rundown property in Colon. We can fix the houses and rent them out at fair prices. With the rest of the money, you can keep it in the bank. It’s all clean.”
Mr. Black was stunned. He sat looking at his son’s great ideas, along with the money to finance them, and felt sad. In front of him were two men who could have done anything with their lives, but if Manny was behind
anything, he was sure blood had been shed for all of their riches.
Mr. Black sighed. “I was not always an old man who worked in a factory and became poor. The man that I was before I met your mother is unimportant. You are my sons, and I have lived my days. There comes a time when the parents must listen to the children. I just ask this of you. Remember, sons, that what starts in blood will end in blood. Do what you will with this house because it was built for you to share. I just hope Puncho will not be corrupted by greed, because before I die, I may have to bury the two of you.” Mr. Black stood and looked like a broken man. “Tell your mother where she will be living. Do not make her worry. I will not allow you to kill her, too.”
The sons of the Black family watched their old father walk away heading for his bedroom. Manny didn’t care how the old man felt. Rico was glad their plan was going to be in action, and Puncho was amazed that his tough brothers from New York could tell their father what to do.
Tha Twinz (Sha Bee and Baby Born) were born and conceived in Panama before moving to the notorious borough of Brooklyn. The brothers grew up hard and fast, tutored solely by their instincts for survival. By the ages of fourteen and eleven, the family seeking change relocated to Harlem. Unbeknownst, the new environment would prove to be a major turning point in Tha Twinz lives.
Under the care of their mother who worked hard to make ends meet. And despite her numerous warnings of the pit falls attributed to the streets, and the importance of education. The powerful allure of Harlem’s sub-culture prevailed. The brothers became deeply entrenched in Harlem’s legendary Drug Trade.
After years of witnessing countless lives cut short, encountering several close brushes with death and too frequent contacts with the Criminal Justice System. Tha Twinz made a conscious effort to take control of their lives by relinquishing their criminal mindset and lifestyle. The brother’s returned to school and became students of learning and obtained Degrees. They re-channeled their entrepreneurial energy by writing as a means of shedding light on the plight of so many young men of color in the inner cities across America. Additionally, they established the clothing lines Fortune Hunters & Diamond Girl apparel. It’s no secret that they have experienced a great deal of trials, errors and calamites in their lives. Nonetheless, those mistakes and failures of yesterday do not define who they are today, nor the possibilities of their future.
Currently, Tha Twinz are working on The Triple Cross, the final book of their bestselling Crime Pays? Trilogy. They are really committed to helping others with their company Prestige Communication Group. They offer an array of services for the individual who is debating if Self-Publishing or seeking a Publisher is best for them. Our Consulting services will walk them through the pros and cons as well as taking them step-by step.
Get to know Tha Twinz:
Without incriminating yourself or anyone else, tell our viewers what kind of lifestyle you lived before incarceration?
We think that everyone has a past. Our story is no different from the average fatherless youngster, who grew up in the heart of the “hood” and was influenced by its hazardous subculture. As a youngster coming up, devoid of any real parental guidance and in somewhat of a poverty-stricken state, we quickly learned how to adapt to the elements of our environment and became deeply entrenched in Harlem’s legendary drug trade. We chased money out in DC, Pittsburgh and also in Washington (Seattle). Many of the lyrics that you hear in Jay-Z, 50 Cent and Jeezy songs mirror a large portion of our previous lifestyle. But we quickly learn that with every choice we make there is always gonna be consequences- be it good or bad. Unfortunately, some of the choices we’ve made eventually led us to the penitentiary.
Do you believe that there is a future in running the streets?
No, but we are firm believer that the fundamental principles of a true hustler do not have to change –only the commodities that they push. We think that the common mistakes that most of us make who come from the streets, is that we try to make a career out of our negative lifestyle as opposed to utilizing it as a stepping stone. Just look at Jay-Z and 50 Cent who transitioned from the streets to corporate America or those who have become great entrepreneurs in their own right. We believe that they all studied the mistakes of the people, who were in the game before them and realized at some point that lifestyle could lead them to either life in prison or death. So it is definitely in their best interest to switch up their hustle which we illustrate in Crime Pays? Unfinished Business.
Without giving away too much of the books, tell us what the stories is about.
Part I, is centered around the main characters, Manny and his younger brother, Rico Black, who fled Panama and came to the United States seeking a better life. Faced with the dilemma of trying to survive and to provide for their family back home in Panama, they become deeply involved in the criminal underworld where Money, Murder and Mayhem becomes their theme. Doing what is necessary to succeed at all costs.
Part II, finds Manny making it from the streets to the corner office in corporate America, only to have to face the reality of his past which pulls him back into a dark place that he tried to escape, but is forever a part of who he is.
Why did Tha Twinz name the book Crime Pays? with a question mark? And are you actually twins?
We are not twins. Sha Bee is actually two years older than Baby Born. We only used the name, Tha Twinz for the purpose of writing together. We chose to add a question mark to the title for the pure shock value. Contrary to what most people might think, we’re not in any way glorifying, suggesting or implying that crime pays. Rather, we’re merely asking the question, does crime pays? It’s a question we leave for our readers to decide for themselves after they read the story.
What was the purpose or message Tha Twinz had in mind while writing Crime Pays?
Most people would agree that books, music and the media at-large does have the power to influence people. With that thought in mind, my brother and I decided we would utilize our writing, not only as means to entertain people, but also as a platform to interject certain thoughts and ideas that would be thought provoking. More importantly, we wanted to examine and shed light on some of the psychological and socio-economic factors that often times contribute to a particular mindset, which produces a certain type of behavior.
What inspired Tha Twinz to become authors and independent self-publishers?
We were inspired by Zach Tate, who happens to be an Essence best-selling author. He was the one who was very instrumental in helping us develop as writers. He also taught us about the publishing business. Most independent publishing houses were not offering any real money to new authors to sign with them, so we decided to go ahead and self-publish. As thriving business men it made perfectly good sense. We are in position to control our work, reap more of the profit and help others get their work out.
So what can we expect next from Tha Twinz?
Now that the much anticipated Crime Pays? Unfinished Business has been released, we are really committed to helping others with our company Prestige Communication Group. We offer an array of services for the individual who is debating if Self-Publishing or seeking a Publisher is best for them. Our Consulting services will walk them through the pros and cons as well as taking them step-by step. All our individual services are listed on our website prestigecommunciationgroup.com. Unlike other Self-Publishing service provider, we are in the business of publishing ebooks and printed books, and other forms of media. In addition, we are excited as a company to sign authors in other genres including our latest signed author who will create a really buzz in the Fantasy writing world