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BMF: The Rise and Fall of Big Meech and the Black Mafia Family Hardcover – March 2, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The Black Mafia Family, ostensibly a hip-hop record label, was actually an urban midlevel drug-distribution network. Originally based in Detroit, the operation expanded through the genius of the Flenory brothers. Demetrius “Big Meech” was the flamboyant personality behind the Atlanta operation, and Terry was the low-profile and conservative operator of the L.A. operation. With major direct cocaine sources out of Mexico, these brothers escalated their distribution to more than $250 million wholesale value before their downfall. They operated for a period apparently with immunity in Atlanta but were eventually caught through the persistence of a couple of local police and two nationwide federal drug-enforcement networks. Before their fall, the Flenory brothers managed to spread their taint of violence and drugs to reach several prominent people, including Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin and singer Bobby Brown. The rapper known as “Baby Blue” fell as part of the BMF crew, and rapper Young Jeezy escaped by the skin of his teeth. Shalhoup, an award-winning journalist, offers an insightful look at the street-drug industry, which casts a wide net of beneficiaries as well as victims. --Vernon Ford

Review

With superb pacing and a thorough handle on her extensive cast, Shalhoup's true crime debut makes a highly addictive read. (Publisher's Weekly (Starred Review!))

A first rate read. (On Wax Magazine)

…deftly tracks the fortunes of multiple BMF associates and their pursuers in law enforcement… her journalistic chops convey two inescapable messages: The cocaine industry is bigger and more entrenched than most people suspect; and sooner or later, no matter how glamorous, everybody goes down. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312383932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312383930
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.3 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #340,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mara Shalhoup is the editor of the LA Weekly. She started her career as a crime writer for the Macon Telegraph and is the former editor of the Chicago Reader and of Creative Loafing, Atlanta's alternative newsweekly. She has earned accolades including a Clarion Award, two Livingston Award nominations, several prizes from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, and recognition from the Atlanta Press Club and Atlanta Magazine as the city's journalist of the year. She lives in Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 74 people found the following review helpful By T. Jenkins on March 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The author does a credible job of crafting the BMF story over the course of 277 pages. The book is at it's best early on and tapers off significantly toward the end. It was apparent that this was a voyeuristic endeavor for the author whose interest in the lifestyle and personalities of the BMF members was apparent throughout. In as much the finite details of the story don't receive nearly the amount of attention they deserve. Had the author done so, she would have found many inconsistencies in regard to the BMF operation and the legend that has emerged.

Ignorant and naive, are the most appropriate terms to describe the behavior of BMF's co-founder Demetrius "Meechie" Flenory throughout the story. At least this is the impression one gets from the author. The story opens with an interview session where a jailed Meech reminisces over all that he has lost. The cars, the money, the notoriety are all listed by the author but it is apparent what he seeks is validation. For all that he has lost, the most precious of all "freedom," isn't mentioned. It's a curious omission from a man facing the remainder of his natural life behind bars.

It's sad because it demonstrates the mentality and mindset of so many men and women, "some young and some more experienced," who are sure to pick up this title and relate or adopt Flenory's irrational manner of thinking themselves. The author falls into the trap of trying to justify the actions of the group by employing the over-used excuse "if it wasn't the Flenory brothers...some else would-perhaps someone not so willing to give back.

Give back? Give back to what, where and to whom? The truth of the matter is BMF spent whatever earnings they made in the clubs of Buckhead, Vegas and Miami!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. Wright on January 31, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked it, but its not great. As a follower of hip-hop culture and underground news I've heard about BMF for a few years now, and I was following their story before Meech/ BMF was arrested or sentenced. So when I read the book I didnt come across much information that I hadn't already done from my own personal sleuthing. As I read the book I kept thinking "man, i could've written this" but i'm not an investigative writer or reporter, which If I was, I would have produced pretty much the exact same book, which is one of my gripes about it. Basically this is a good book for people who have never heard or are new to the Name Big Meech (likely through the Rick Ross song BMF). Its a compilation of all the public domain info on the peoples and group itself. My only other gripe was the absence of certain names/ photos, like Bleu DaVinci, and the story of Jeezy and Gucci Mane, which for some some reason has Gucci listed an unnamed rapper beef. Im hoping that's just some legal thing, but Im waiting for the personal stories to come out, directly from the mouth of Meech and Big T and how their "management styles" clashed and lead to their downfall, which is the real story in this typical drug tale.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Vermont on March 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I couldn't put this down - (I had to at some points to go to work), it reads like a non fiction, certainly as exciting as the godfather series, an updated version. I loved learning the details of how BMF and Sin City pulled off their dealings and also interesting to hear how the investigators connected the dots.

Great book! I can't wait for the movie.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Yvonne F. on May 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I too could not put this book down. It was so detailed and full of play by play information. But what shocked and surprised me was the amount of crew members that became goverment witnesses. I was not expecting those major players to roll on the Terry like they did, so much for their slogan Death before Dishonor....Before the movie comes out, how about a sequel to update us on how many of those who turned government snitches are still alive!!! Overall a very good book!! I was pleased with the content.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By William Hart on March 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book provided very good insight to the BMF rise in the south. Very detailed descripted writing about this story. Easy to follow and I wouldn't be suprised if this book is used as the basis for a future screen play. You iwll not be disappointed.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By OOSA Online Book Club on December 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"I think I'm Big Meech..." Who hasn't heard or repeated those lines from Rick Ross's `Blowing Money Fast'? Well, in "BMF: The Rise and Fall of Big Meech and the Black Mafia Family" journalist Mara Shalhoup recounts the details surrounding, like the title states, the rise and fall of the Flenory brothers, Demetrius aka Big Meech and Terry aka Southwest T. The Flenory brothers came from humble upbringings in Detroit, Michigan. Their father worked as many as two jobs at a time to provide for the family. Despite his best efforts, the family could not escape poverty. Subsequently, the two brothers took to the streets selling cocaine and so began the makings of an empire that would come to be known as BMF (Black Mafia Family). It was an organization that would go beyond the boundaries of Detroit to include Missouri, Georgia, and California. It was an organization that would earn over an estimated $270 million dollars. It was also an organization that would crumble under intense investigations, indictments and snitching. Ultimately, it was an organization that would end with its founders, Terry and Demetrius, in prison along with many of its members.

"BMF: The Rise and Fall of Big Meech and the Black Mafia Family" is informative. It is also very technical and sterile. I would have preferred to hear more from those involved and less from what is on the record. At times it read like a news report. There is nothing personable about this narration. The flow is not always smooth and the author often reiterates facts.

Even so, "BMF: The Rise and Fall of Big Meech and the Black Mafia Family" is an interesting read. I had watched a documentary about the BMF, but there is only so much that could be told in a short period of time. Mara Shalhoup's book filled in many of the blanks. At this point, though, I'd still be interested in hearing the personal account of either Flenory brother. If their portrayals were accurate, it'll be Big Meech.
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