The Rise and Fall of a Super Freak

And Other True Stories of Black Men Who Made History

by Mike Sager

The Rise and Fall of a Super Freak: And Other True Stories of Black Men Who Made History is a mini-collection highlighting Black men whose lives significantly affected the direction and zeitgeist of the American Cultural Mainstream over the last half-century. 

Rick James, known as Super Freak, was the first American performer to wear African-inspired braids; his powerful funk beats powered the rollicking 1980s and can still be heard today. Freeway Ricky Ross didn’t invent cocaine—as it turned out, the U.S. Government was selling it to him. What he did was turn crack into a business and share the model. An entrepreneur in a shadow economy, he created jobs and brought riches to his people. Later came the flip side: deaths, addiction, police wrath, and mass incarcerations.

Eric “Eazy E” Wright was Ross’ spawn, a crack dealer who used his earnings to form, along with icons Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, the seminal rap group NWA. Eazy’s business practices and lifestyle set the bar for hip hop culture. In the end, shockingly, he succumbed to AIDS. Black motorist Rodney Glenn King’s videotaped beating, at the hands of Los Angeles police, was a watershed moment in American racial history, focusing massive public attention for the first time on the issue of racially motivated police brutality and the perils of driving while black. King paved the way for movements like Black Lives Matter and worldwide calls for racial equality. 

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Mike Sager

Mike Sager is a bestselling author and award-winning reporter. He’s been called “the Beat poet of American journalism.” For more than forty years, he has worked as a writer primarily for the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, GQ, and Esquire.  Sager has written a dozen books; a number of his stories have inspired movies and documentaries, including the classic Boogie Nights. He is the editor and publisher of, a content brand.

Mike Sager