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I just finished reading Hurricanes. It’s raw! Can’t take nothing from the man. Rick Ross came from the same environment as me and so many of my peers. Yet he managed to turn those expereiences into energy and used that glow to cultivate art. I gotta tip my baseball cap to ’em.

There’s been talk about me writing a memoir but I’ve been putting it off for years. TBH, I don’t like writing about myself. I feel like I have way too many flaws. But after reading Rick Ross’s book it got me thinking…

As far as my life is concerned I know I’ve made a lot of mistakes. They ultimately landed me in prison away from all five of my kids. Not to mention the victims I’ve amassed over the years. There’s too many to count and that’s sad.

After reading about all the obstacles Ricky Rosay had to overcome to get where he’s at it made me think of my own obstacles. His accounts made me feel like maybe I can overcome my pitfalls like he has. It made me wanna get up and dust myself off show the world that I’m not my worst mistake.

No one’s perfect. Lord knows I’m not. B.U.T., people grow and and everyone is capable of change. It’s a trip ’cause when I talk to people who knew me when I was younger I get all kinds of statements like, “If only you could stay out of trouble,” or “Life is so much more than thuggin’.” It really erks me to hear these things because it comes with the implication that I still haven’t learned. The truth couldn’t be further than the truth.

Even in prison, while in the midst of murder and meyhem there are those of us who get up everyday to work hard to better themselves. Whether it’s excersizing, reading and/or writing or going to school — we’re getting it done. Even when the rest of the world isn’t looking.

I watch the news. I see all the laws changing, giving lifers a new lease on life. Yet, at the same time, there’s always a prosecutor complaining bout the streets getting more dangerous ’cause we’re getting out. SMH! That’s nonesense!

You know, I just joined a book club where bloods and crips in my building are exchanging books and writing reports on ’em. We’re not doing this for milestone credits or laudatory chronos. We doing it for ourselves! Almost everyone I know is either in college, a trade class, or trying to get their GED. The prosecutors don’t wanna talk about that, tho’.

The reason you’re reading this blog right now is because I get up every morning to let my pen bleed. I’ve been doing this for years and so has everyone else connected to THE CELL BLOCK. There’s an army of intelligent, gifted convicts imprisoned in CDCR. We’re motivated, goal orientated individuals but you’d never know from just listening to your local news.

There’s men in here who have been in captivity for the last twenty or thirty years for a mistake that took them thirty seconds to make. Yeah, I’m not perfect. I’ve gotten write ups for every infraction in the Title 15. But if I sat here and listed all the accomplishments I’ve accrued over the last decade most of you would shake my hand.

If you don’t believe me ask my kids and the people who’ve stood by me throughout my transformation. Like I said earlier, after reading Hurricanes I realized my life wasn’t that much different than Rick Ross’s early years. He’s just like me. So the next time you’re bobbing your head to the music of your favorite artist think of those of us who’re behind enemy lines. Sometimes the only difference between us and them is that one of us got caught…

[Wilberto Belardo writes under the pen name King Guru. He is a best selling author of books called PRETTY GIRLS LOVE BAD BOYS: AN INMATE’S GUIDE TO GETTING GIRLS and UNDERWORLD ZILLA. As an incarcerated author serving a sentence of life without parole he has written a number of books with many more to come. If you would like to communicate with King Guru he can be contacted at:]