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Defeat The

By Rev. Eric V. Lee


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To my fallen Dawgs who didn’t know any better, and to the women we hurt. And the parents we made stay up all night crying and praying for us. Without you, I know I would not have made it and I would have been lost.



It’s like a story in the Bible. You know, Joseph. He had a dream that couldn’t be put to death, rather he was being put in a pit or in a prison. He would eventually rise to feed the multitudes because without a vision, the people perish.


Table Of Contents

Chapter 1 Those Were The Days

Chapter 2 Deeper And Deeper

Chapter 3 Lost And Turned Out

Chapter 4 The Struggle

Chapter 5 Feeding The Multitudes


Chapter 1

Those Were The Days


Bang! Bang! Bang! I couldn’t believe it. My dawg I grew up with , trying to take me out over some young, fine biddy. Neither of us really knew who she was down with.

Listen, let me tell you why I couldn’t believe my Dawg was trying to take me out over some biddy in the street. Our peoples lived next door to each other in the hood, the Dancers. I guess God knew what He was doing when he gave them that name because as long as I can remember, that’s all they seemed to do.

Every night, there seemed to be a party going on at the Dancers’ crib. My mom, Tori, must have been related to them through a second or third uncle on granddad Bogie’s side because mom could drop it like it was hot! Yes, she could shake her poppa-stoppa! That’s what I called it because it seemed that after every party, I would get a different poppa.

Yeah, It was wild growing up. My dad was murdered when I was only four months old and mom loved me so much, she had promised my dad right before he died that she would make sure that I would never be without. No matter what it cost her, even our souls.

My name is Rick V. Leo. My Dawg’s name was Jamie Dancer. They called me Vee and my dawg J.D. Man, we were close from day one.

We moved next door to them in October 1974. I was ten, J.D. was twelve. We went to Crescent Elementary. All our parents did was get high smoking that good sheeba and drinking vodka.

Boy, I remember when you could get a nickel bag and roll at least fifteen to twenty joints. Man, those were the days. We would roll a nickel bag, take it to school, sell ten joints keep five for ourselves and then get a dime bag until we started coming up.

I’m talking coming up for real! We would get our crew to go to all the schools and just sell joints.


Our crew was made up of five of the smoothest young bucks you could ever be down with. I was the youngest. Breeze was the oldest. In the middle, there was J.D., Man and Dave. Dave was a straight comic. Just to look at him made us laugh.

We all lived in the same hood. We kicked it everyday. It was all about the bennies from sun up to sun down, we got paid.

I remember one day, we skipped school and stayed over Dave’s crib. His parents were separated and he lived with his mom and three sisters. When his mom went to work, that would be all she wrote.

We would have to have Dave go to get one of our older homeboys to get us some brew. When he would leave, me and the rest of the crew would get busy with his sisters. They were older, sixteen, eighteen and nineteen. But they were always down when it came to us getting that you know what. My favorite was Teenie. She was the oldest.

We would go into the bathroom. I would kick her fifty to a hundred to keep her happy because I was a young buck, but paid. She would act like a little kitten and I knew my little thing wasn’t fitting. When we would come out, she acted like nothing happened, but I would be smiling like Ronald McDonald.

My crew would make fun of me saying I didn’t know what to do with it. But if they only knew because she would also show me new things to do with that thang she swang. Yep! Those were the days. I wish we would never have to grow up.


Chapter 2

Deeper And Deeper

Days turned into months. Months turned into years. I remember the shock of my life. My mom, Tori, got saved. Everything changed. Now, all I heard was Jesus this and Jesus that. That’s all she talked about. I was about thirteen, slinging large. I didn’t want to hear about no pie in the sky. I was large and in charge, so I thought. I had guys twice my age working for me. I had cars and houses, biddies on every corner. And you think I was going to give that all up for some God I couldn’t even see? Yeah, right! But mom wouldn’t stop telling me that there was a better way and his name was Jesus. I was too much in the game by now. I couldn’t hear her even if I wanted to. So, I left and went to one of my cribs in East Liberty, where I also had been working at a clothes store, which was a front to sell my drugs. As time went by, I got deeper and deeper in the game.

Now I was sixteen. It seemed like there was nothing new to do. I had money and everything else a person could want, but something was missing, and I didn’t know what it was. Right around this time, I had a dream that I was speaking to multitudes of people from a platform. But when I woke up, I didn’t pay any attention to the dream. I had also gotten involved with some Italians who had turned me on to selling cocaine. One of them became cool with me. His name was Nicky. Nicky told me, “Whatever you do, don’t try any of it for yourself or you’ll be hooked.” I thought to myself, “Not me! I‘ve been getting high all my life. Nothing can control me.” Well, everything was fine for the first couple of years. Money got larger than ever. I was so conceited, that I used to pass out band-aides to my crew. I would tell them that I was so sharp, that they might start bleeding.

What a big head! But there was still that feeling of emptiness in me that I just couldn’t shake. So, I gradually started getting high on my own supply. At the same time, I started separating myself from the crew and would get alone and get it in. But I wasn’t satisfied. There had to be more to life than this. I was around twenty-three now. So I got married to some white girl that I thought would change my life. I already had three children from some other biddies in the street. But I thought marrying her would slow me down. Yeah, right! I seemed to be digging my own pit, little by little. Then crack came on the scene. My crew told me that it had exploded in California, New York and Philly. Well, you know, I had to have it. J.D. was getting worried that we hadn’t been spending any quality time because we were closer to each other than me and my wife Helen were. And the other dawgs in my crew started to worry as well. But after the crack came on the scene, that’s all she wrote. I took the plunge, down!

Chapter 3

Lost And Turned Out

Two weeks had gone by and no one knew where I was at. I didn’t even know where I was. The biddies that danced and did whatever I wanted had left. It was just me, my pipe and a dead bic. I looked like a wreck gone bad. I left the hotel that morning, got in my ride and headed back to the city. My answering machine was full.

The crew had been looking for me everywhere for two reasons. One was, my wife Helen was pregnant and was so worried that she lost the baby. She just couldn’t take it anymore. She left me. I couldn’t blame her because I was never home. Second, some other crew was trying to take over our turf and set up camp. So we were at war. When you blow up, everyone seems to know.

My crew had already started to fall apart because I was losing control. I was going through thousands of dollars a day on crack. I started really slipping. One day, I was at a red light. Music was blasting, so I couldn’t hear anything. I was alone. That was stupid, especially in a war between two rival crews.

At that moment, my life was dramatically changed forever. One of the dawgs from the other crew came up to my car, put a forty-five to my head. I knew it was over. But, believe it or not, all I could hear in my mind was my mothers’ voice saying, “There’s a better way and his name is Jesus.” All I could do was pray within myself and I said, “Lord Jesus, if you’re real, please save me and I will serve you for the rest of my life.”

Well, he took me at my word because my crew came flying around the corner out of nowhere and the dawg with the gun moved for a split second and I got ghost. I went to my aunties’ crib. I ran upstairs to the third floor, fell on my face and praised God like a fool.


Chapter 4

The Struggle

But the crew didn’t believe a word I said. They thought that I absolutely lost my mind. “He’s high,” J.D. and Breeze said. Dave started making jokes and as serious as I was, I had to laugh because Dave is just stupid funny. The only one of our crew who wasn’t there was Man. He had gotten hemmed up in a humbug case and was in jail. But I was serious about serving the Lord.

I told my crew I was giving my share of our spoils to J.D. and it was on him to distribute all the assets. Everything was going great for the first eight months to a year, but eventually, I started reminiscing about the good old days. At least I thought they were the good old days. My mom, she was so happy that I was a Christian now. We started spending quality time together and I loved to make her feel good.

But I still had that old mentality, which caused me to start sneaking a drink here and there. And eventually, that led me right back to the pipe. But now my conscience was killing me. I felt miserable, up and down, in and out. I was like a yo-yo. To make it so bad, my old crew kept trying to get me to come back, but I would keep having that same dream of feeding the multitudes. That and the grace of God and my mom’s prayers were the only things that kept me going.

My mind kept remembering my past. It was holding me in prison to my future until I actually went on a binge and got arrested. But during that time in jail, I was finally able to clean up again. That’s when I truly surrendered all and started reading my Bible eight to ten hours daily. I started a Bible study in our pod every night at seven p.m. Before I knew it, two years had passed. It was time to hit the bricks again.


Chapter 5

Feeding The Multitudes

Home sweet home! There’s nothing like it. No more oodles and noodles. Praise God!

The first thing on my agenda was to re-acquaint myself with my children and let them know that I was sorry for not being the father I should have been and I loved them very much. And next was to start a ministry called Defeat The Street, Inc.

No, it wasn’t pie in the sky, this was for real. Through all the reading, studying and praying, my mind was finally free. Yes, free to take me and all who would come with me into the future. One day as I was out witnessing, I met a young biddie who told me she remembered me from the past.

So, we talked about how bad things had gotten in the hood and that my old crew had broken up and how I had given my life to the Lord. It was starting to get late. We were sitting in the park on a bench when I heard three shots from a gun go off. It was J.D. He must have thought I was someone else trying to take his biddie or something. But I screamed and shouted out to him to chill and that it was me, Vee.

But he seemed to be oblivious to me. So me and the young biddie ran and by God’s grace, we got away. I took her to her crib, prayed with her and rolled. The next morning, I went to find J.D. to see what that was all about. But I was too late. Another crew took him out that night. I was heart broken. I lifted up my eyes to heaven crying and promised God that I would do everything in my power to bring about a change in the hood and to share my story with all who would listen about how I defeated the streets.

Now I go to the inner cities around America and tell my story. And yes, I feed the multitudes with knowledge. My dream finally came true. And yours can too.





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