Street Legends Vol. 2 – Seth Ferranti
Seth Ferranti is the acclaimed author of a number of books, perhaps most notably “Prison Stories”, which he self-published through his company Gorilla Convict Publications. Ferranti currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for dealing drugs. He has currently served 17 years. As he was sentenced under the guidelines of an LSD kingpin, Ferranti’s case was widely publicized and covered in high profile sources like Rolling Stone magazine and The Washington Post.
Not only did he form his company while in prison, he has helped to publish other incarcerated writers. Ferranti is an accomplished journalist and has written pieces for a wide variety of magazines including FHM, Vice and Don Diva. More information about Gorilla Convict Publications and Seth Ferranti’s work can be found at http://www.gorillaconvict.com
Urbania: Can you tell me a little bit about your publishing house Gorilla Convict? How did you find the other writers that you are currently publishing?
Seth: Gorilla Convict Publications is the voice of the convict. It is founded and formed by prisoners and for prisoners. We are trying to bring readers the voices that might not otherwise be heard. We are trying to shed light on the stories that have been manipulated by the mainstream media and government. We give the prisoners side. We give voice to the legends of the street. They have been glorified and name dropped in hip hop, now with Gorilla Convict Publications you can read their real stories, in their words and the words of their homies, co-defendants and relatives.
We try to promote any other prisoners who are writing and putting out books from the penitentiary. We know it’s a struggle because we did it ourselves. So anyone with like minds we hook up with and help them to do their thing. Like my man Lamont “Fridge” Needum whose book STRAIGHT SAVAGE is like that and my dudes from the MIA Plex and Mike Harper who wrote BooBaby and STREET RAISED respectively. Their books are like that. At Gorilla Convict we promote and network to find the talented writers that exist within this system. There are a lot of dudes in here with a lot of stories to tell.
Urbania: Do you ever think of writing a straight up biography about your own life?
Seth: I’d like to write a biography one day or a movie script about my story. I’m not a gangster or anything like that. I’m just a kid from the suburbs who got caught up in this bullshit war on drugs and now I am paying the price with this 25-year federal sentence of which I’ve served almost 17 years of so far. So eventually, yes, I will write a straight up biography of my life and case and the circumstances that led me to be incarcerated. As of now, magazines like Rolling Stone and Don Diva have touched it upon, but I look forward to writing the complete and unabridged story one day. But for now I have a lot more stories to write and to share with the world in my Street Legends series.
Urbania: I know you didn’t start writing books until you were in prison, did you ever have any indicators earlier in life that you wanted to write?
Seth: I always played in bands when I was young. I still sing and play guitar. I know its kind of weird being that I write about gangsters and urban stuff, but really I am way into punk and metal, music wise. Though I do love a lot of the early hip hop stuff like Run DMC, Beastie Boys, NWA, DAS EFX, UTFO and stuff like that. I have always written songs and poetry and lyrics and the like, and it just evolved into what it is now. So I guess I did have indicators early in life that I wanted to write. It’s about more than that though, it’s about being able to create and to have a vision and follow through on it. That’s what I think I have always been about even when I was out on the street selling LSD and marijuana at all the east coast colleges. That was my vision back then, Gorilla Convict is my vision now. When I finally hit the streets my vision will take on a new form.
Urbania: What are currently your main motivations as a writer?
Seth: My main motivation as a writer now is to get stuff done. I want to put out a book a year for the rest of my bid, 6 years. So that when I get out I will have a resume, my books, my works that will speak as to what I am capable of. I want to be heard. I want these stories to be heard. I think it’s great that hip hop and urban fiction has opened up these doors. Especially for me and other people in prison. It gives us something to aim for and it gives us hope of a future life when we get out.
I want to use my time wisely and crank out as much quality material as I can. I’m happy that people are interested in my work, but for real I would do this regardless. This is my passion. Like I said, I’m a visionary and I won’t compromise my vision for anybody or anything. My wife and I started this from prison. When I get out I want to take it as far as it can go. That is my motivation.
Urbania: Street Legends 2 comes out next month. Can you talk a bit about how this new book compares with the first Street Legends?
Seth: Street Legends Vol 2 drops in DEC 09 and it carries on where Street Legends Vol 1 left off. In Vol 1 I wrote about the death before dishonor sic- Supreme, Wayne Perry, Anthony Jones, Aaron Jones from the JBM, Boy George and Pistol Pete. Six of the most recognizable gangsters of the hip hop era. These dudes were the black and Latino John Gotti’s and Pablo Escobar’s.
Now in Vol 2, I am profiling the original gangsters. Dudes you might have heard about but never really knew about. Frank Matthews, Peanut King, Michael Fray, The Boobie Boys, Short North Posse and New World. A lot of the street legends we hear about from the rappers are from New York, so I widened my scope on this one and tried to write about legends from different areas including Baltimore, DC, Miami, Columbus, Ohio and New Jersey. I wanted to talk about the older legends you might not have known that much about and some of the newer, not so hyped up ones. So basically Vol 2 is the same format. We are just talking about different legends.
Urbania: Do you think you have inspired other people in prison to become writers? Can you give some examples?
Seth: I think I have inspired other people in prison to be writers. Me and my man Joe Black started off together, he wrote Street Team and Squeeze. I’ve also been around Robert Booker who wrote PUSH and Eyone Williams who wrote Fast Lane and Hell Razor Honeys I and II. My man Fridge who wrote STRAIGHT SAVAGE and Plex who wrote BOOBABY and Mike Harper who wrote STREET RAISED.
I’m sure I have inspired them and they have inspired me and vice versa. Wahida Clark has been corresponding with me since she first started writing. Also Kwame Teague, who wrote the DUTCH series for Teri Woods, is someone I correspond with. I know a lot of writers who are still in prison. We have all inspired and tried to help each other. I’ve done whatever I could to get interviews and articles about all the people I have named here in magazines and on Internet sites. I appreciate Urbania doing the same for me. I’m sure there are more writers too. That’s just off the top of my head.
Urbania: On one of your blogs you mention you are interested in filmmaking when you get out. Are you going to get into Directing films? Also are you thinking of making your books into films or would you do something new?
Seth: I am going to get into film making when I get out. I want to write and
direct. I want to be like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. Like
I said before, I have a vision. Some of the stories I written about would
make great films.
But I want to do more than gangster films. I want to do action/adventures with a gangster edge, of course. Anything I do has to have that edge to it. But dudes like Supreme and Boy George have tailor-made stories for film. When I am in the right position, I will push to get those films made. I will write them and then I will do all I can to get someone to bankroll them. I have written a couple of scripts and am still perfecting my screenwriting craft.