When the documentary-styled crime drama Snow On Tha Bluff was released last year, viewers received a vivid account of what it’s like to walk in the shoes of Curtis Snow, a west Atlanta street hustler and robber.
What’s real and what’s fake is difficult to decipher in the film, making it enthralling to some viewers and bothersome to others. Some hearts were touched, some tempters were ignited, but, if nothing else, a conversation was created about the occurrences going on within the Bluff, a crime-ridden neighborhood minutes from Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.
For more than an hour, a stolen video camera captures several capers and drug transactions committed by Snow and his comrades in the film. The karma that comes as a result of the dealings is unfortunate but not a surprise to those familiar with the street lifestyle.
Although the film is based in Atlanta, it’s a candid depiction of the struggles that are prevalent in many underprivileged communities across the globe. And Snow is just one example of the countless souls plagued with the trials and temptations that come with residing in an impoverished community.
Taking a momentary step away from film, Snow is trying his hand at the literary realm with his book “My Name Is Curtis Snow And I’m A G.” An autobiography of his life, primarily over the last few years, Snow discloses some of the trials he’s overcome to readers in a raw but sincere fashion.
Snow talked about his new book, how his life has changed since the release of Snow On Tha Bluff, if he’s worried about negatively affecting the youth, Snow On Tha Bluff 2, and his upcoming shirt and skateboard with DGK clothing.
How did the idea come about for you to write a book and how long has it been in the making?
The book’s been in the making ever since I’ve been in the 9th grade. This is way before the movie. This is before everything. Me and my friends, we used to write lil’ shit, just to be bullshittin’. We had read so many books. I was like, ‘my real life story is a book.’ So when the movie came out and it was a [success], I was like ‘I’m about to try a book too.’ I hooked up with the people who helped make this shit happen and here we go.
How was the actual writing experience for you?
It was like there was so much shit going on, I wanted to start all the way back from when I was born but the last couple years of my life been so raw, I had to talk about that. It’s like, ‘damn, this right here got me to where I’m at right now.’ I done been through so much shit in the last seven or eight years, I had to talk about that. I was damn near close to death. I got my throat cut. My mamma, my brother, my grandma died. I lost a lot of people from the streets. I just went through a lot of shit over the last couple years, so that’s what I mostly based the book on. I didn’t want to bore [readers] with no ‘I grew up and went to school’ and all that ol’ bullshit. I wanted to get straight to the point.
[David Kwon Kim, Curtis Snow’s manger, provides a note on the book: Curt was doing writing sessions with the writer Calvin Stovall since the middle of last year. We finished his last sessions the first quarter of this year, and then they were just transcribing the book and finalizing it and designing it.]
I’m trying to reach my reading audience. With the movie, I had an audience that wanted to see it, not hear it. Now, I’m trying to get the audience that wants to hear it, not see it. A lot of people like to read books and it’s a lot of people that like to watch movies. A lot of books done turned into movies [and] a lot of movies done turned into books. It’s two different audiences: the people who read and the people who don’t know how to read. I’m trying to pump that audience who can read and really get an understanding of what’s going on, and I’m trying to reach the audience in prison. A lot of my folks who were unable to see the movie, if they can get that book off of commissary and read that, that’ll give them an understanding of where I’m coming from, how shit went, shit they missed and all that. I’m trying to get my reading audience right now. I’m just trying to fuck wit colleges where they’re reading at. Schools where they’re reading at. Jails where they’re reading at.
Explain why you titled the book “My Name Is Curtis Snow And I’m A G.”
Well, a lot of people know me from the movie. A lot of people run around sayin’ ‘I’m a gangsta this, I’m a gangsta that,’ [but] I ain’t no gangsta. I’m a genius. To come from where I come from and accomplish shit I’ve accomplished, and just to go through what I’ve gone through, I consider myself a genius. I got to know something to make it this far.I thought about it and I was like, ‘shit, I am Curtis Snow.’ A lot of people ask me did I try to copy off the name Kurtis Blow, but my Grady Hospital name is Curtis Edward Snow. This is my real name. That explains me off the rip, and ain’t trying to imitate and be nobody or no shit like that. I’m just one person. I’m my own man. I’m like a one man gang. I done did so much in so little time and accomplished so much shit, and a lot of people think I did it over night. Oh, hell naw. I been low-key in this shit for 25 years but I just got recognized, well, I just got people to fuck wit me and give me my chance to show the world what I can do. Help me give [the world] my life story, because I gotta story to tell.
We just came up with the concept, and I wanted folks to know my name directly. Not from Snow On Tha Bluff. The real Curtis Snow. The real me. That’s how I came up with the book’s name. It was a distinctive name. I could have named it anything but I wanted people to know that it was me coming to you live and direct and telling you the real story out of my mouth. My words.
Is there a message you’re seeking to convey with the book?
My message is, everybody who’s got a story to tell, and you feel like you want your word to be heard, just try to get it out there. Just get it out there to the people. That’s my message to people. If you have a real-life story, because people tell lies every day, but if you have something real that you’ve been through for real and can vouch for, get it out there.
In a press release for the book, it states that you lost your brother, mother and cousin all in one week? Can you touch on this?
Yeah, I really was supposed to have lost it after that. I was really supposed to have said ‘fuck that shit’ and went crazy and found the nigga that killed my brother and found the nigga that killed my cousin. I did spend a lot of time looking for those guys and I never caught up with them. And it took me a long time to get past that. I’ll never get over it. It’s gonna haunt me for the rest of my life, but it’s took me a long time to get past that. And when my momma died, I was like ‘Gotdamn,’ and she died as a result of my brother dying. It was like a reaction. She had an aneurism as a result of my brother getting shot.
I had to keep my brother’s name alive and let these folks know that we’re still strivin’ and we’re still trying to get this money on a legit tip. The dope and all that shit, that’s what brought all the turmoil. Now, I’m like, ‘let me switch it around and see what it’ll do if I go legit.’ I was really fucked up for a long time about that shit. I’m still living with it now—still having nightmares and all that shit. I’m really a strong nigga to be able to overcome that shit. And then, I had three younger brothers, so I had to be strong for them. I couldn’t do anything crazy or go off the deep end, because they would’ve wanted to do it too.
In Snow On Tha Bluff, you talk about one of your child’s mothers being murdered? Also, your son’s mother gets killed in the film. What’s real and what’s fake?
My child’s mother, in that first [part of the movie] when I walk up the street and I say ‘my baby mama got killed by this pole,’ that was my child’s mother. She really did get murdered right there. That was Tashiba Matthews. My son’s mother, who plays a part in the movie, she bullshitted and wanted to do some hating stuff, so I had to let her die out through the movie. You know how a soap opera is? I just made it where she died off in the movie, to get her out of there.
Are you worried about the image you portrayed in Snow On Tha Bluff limiting your success as an author?
Aw, naw, not really, because I’m a Jack of all trades but I’m a master of none. I ain’t gonna worry about the images, as long as I don’t get seen anywhere doing something out of character, I’m good. People are going to criticize and say whatever.
Are you concerned about possibly influencing the youth negatively with your image?
Naw, not really, because they already doing the shit. I’m just painting a picture to the people who don’t believe that this shit is going on, or that’s it’s still going on. I’m just letting ‘em know that it’s still going on. The shit that they overlooking, it’s gonna turn into a big problem. While they’re worried about shit at Congress, building a new dome and a new stadium and shit, these folks still getting killed over here. It’s still a war zone where I’m at. Did you see that shit on the news where all them folks in Chicago got blasted up? Children and everything. They looking over shit like that, but it’s still going on in the world. It’s still people out here struggling and striving and trying to get away from that shit. But it’s like a crab in the bucket: every time we get to the top, somebody pull us back down. I just want to get the message out there that there’s still people trying. As far as that violence and all that, that’s every day. That ain’t nothing new. What I’m doing, they’ve done it. They done seen it.
What will it focus on?
It’s gonna pick up from where the first one left off, but it’s gonna be worse. You know, shit gotta get worse before it gets better. So it’s gonna be like, ‘seems like I was on the road to success but shit just got worse and I got back into the same ol’ shit, tryin’ to get out the same ol’ hole.’
How has your life changed since you’ve released Snow On Tha Bluff?
It’s changed a lil’ bit to the point where I can’t eat at a restaurant with my family without someone walking up saying, ‘let’s take a picture.’ Or I can’t walk through the mall without someone saying, ‘hey, I know you’ and all that other bullshit. But other than that, we ain’t got no check. We ain’t got no real check, so it ain’t changed. And I wasn’t planning to change if I got a check, but I’m just sayin’. I’m still in the ‘hood. I ain’t went nowhere. It ain’t like I’m in the suburbs or I’m rich or I’m staying somewhere secluded. I’m still right here. The same place that I was talkin’ bout, I’m still there.
You’re collaborating with DGK to release an exclusive t-shirt and skateboard. Can you tell how that came about?
Oh yeah, DGK is showin’ me a lot of love, man. They’re fuckin’ wit me real hard. We gotta lil’ collabo with them. We got the t-shirts coming out. We got a skateboard coming out. We’re tryin’ to see what that’s gonna do. In my ‘hood, we’ve got the skateboarders. We’ve got the motorcyclists. We’ve got the four-wheelers. We’ve got the daredevils, just like you see on TV. Just like the white boys do, we’ve got a black boy crew of all that. I got some black boys who skate harder than white boys. I’ve got some black boys who know how to ride them turnpikes and all that shit just like the white boys do. So yeah, we’ve got the skateboards coming through. DGK is showing me a lot of love. I’m giving the love back.
What can people expect from the shirt?
You can expect some real gangsta, quality good shit. Some shit worth wearing and some shit that’s really gonna stand out and be different. Right now, everybody got on True Religion. Everybody got on MEK jeans. The majority of everybody damn near dress alike, so we just gone hit them with this DGK shit. We goin’ outside of the game. And the shit stand for Dirty Ghetto Kids. It ain’t nothin’ but dirty ghetto kids that I know runnin’ around, so they need to rep the shit that they’re doing.
[David Kwon Kim provides a note on DGK Shirt: The shirt is Curtis Snow wearing a DGK shirt that says, “I am what I am.” And that’s what they felt like Curt exemplified. He is who he is. He’s unique. He’s himself at all times.]