In Columbus, Ohio there was a group of youngsters that held it down like original gangsters. They lived by the code of the street and kept it old school. The feds claimed the Short North Posse terrorized their neighborhood, an area called the Short North, that was adjacent to the Ohio State University. But the Posse didn’t terrorize the neighborhood, they held it down with an old school mentality and gangster code that emulated their predecessors from back in the day. They fought wars to keep the neighborhood sucker free. Keeping the big city drug barons and dealers out. They carried it like generations of Columbus City gangsters carried it before them. With honor and integrity, gunplay and heart, fierceness and loyalty- they represented for the Short North. Proudly flying the four finger salute.
With their street rep on one million and their neighborhood on blast the feds blew the spot and indicted the Posse on the biggest case ever in Ohio- 46 defendants charged on over 210 counts. The case exploded in the media and created major hype. But what fueled the legend over the years, giving it life, was the success of one of the main snitches on the case, another Columbus alumni- street lit author Vickie Stringer of Triple Crown Publications. While the Short North Posse took theirs and kept it moving, doing football numbers in the feds, Vickie Stringer rose to fame and fortune off their tradedy. It was the Posse’s blood that was shed to mark her ascension. Now it’s time to set the record straight.
As the Short North Posse members did their time in federal prison they watched as the unrighteous made money and fame off their blood. With the release of Let That Be the Reason and the founding of Triple Crown Publications Vickie Stringer turned her life around after five years of prison and became rich and famous. After snitching on everybody she knew or even heard of in Columbus including her own brother, because she couldn’t take the weight and do the time for her own crimes, Vickie Stringer was sentenced to five years in the feds. She wrote her book in prison but conveniently left out the part that she was one of the biggest snitches in Columbus’ history.
Fridge says on the matter, “I’ll acknowledge the facts, but we’re not rappers. Real niggas don’t broadcast their business. Yeah, she bogus, yeah, he bogus, but that’s all I got to say. A warning to all those who may come into contact with so and so, but that’s it. That’s how real niggas operate. I’m gonna be who I am. I slay dragons not talk them to death. Nobody cares about a grown ass man, which is what I am. They want to worship hot niggas and shit. I say let them have it. Niggas like us need to worry about one thing and that’s gathering real niggas. Connecting game on a boss level and wiping clean what you can. As for the Vickie thing. Yes, she is a rat. But she is not the only one. She’s a liar, but she’s not the only one. She tried to bury my nigga P.C. on this case. Vickie was a mule and a hustler, bitch wasn’t no boss. But like all rats they can make their own story up. What about Timmy and Terry Thomas’s rat-asses? June Dotson’s rat-ass? Bookie Burger, Grandpa, George Gladden, Andy Jackson, fat-ass Quinton Clausell (May he rot in pieces) and a whole lot of them and they are one. No different. People still listen to T.I. and he got the homie in Cincinnati 66 years to life. Rat! I’m saying hate all rats equally, not just the successful ones. Fuck all of ‘em.”
Vickie Stringer got busted in September 1994 and agreed to plead guilty and testify against others, even her brother, in exchange for reduced charges, The Columbus Dispatch reported. “Stringer’s information was found to be accurate and was corroborated by other confidential cooperating sources and independent investigation,” authorities said. It doesn’t get much clearer than that. “Everyone at the crib our own age knows what the deal is with her,” Rah says. But people in other cities don’t. They are steadily reading and supporting her and Triple Crown Publishing as if they are the epitome of the gangster lifestyle their books portray. When in reality the real gangsters, that she snitched on, are sitting in the penitentiary while she profits off their stories. Imagine how the dudes from the Short North Posse case felt doing decades of their lives in the pen, as the person who caused their case to come about rocketed to hood rich and street star status off of their blood.
On January 17, 2002, the appeals court ruled that SNP members could not get their prison sentences reduced a second time. So that was it, the gig was up. Appeal Judges Guy Cole, Karen Nelson Moore and John O’Meara decided one sentence reduction was enough. “It’s well known that we were not a threat to the university or our hood,” Fridge says. “We’re old school, we respected the turf. Yet they still caved in our little community, but there are reasons behind this that blacks aren’t looking at. It’s as easy as killing three birds with one stone. In the Clinton years he was responsible for the cleanup of NAFTA. All the factory jobs were pouring out of the country, but many of those jobs were replaced with prison industries, especially in rural areas. Blacks fill up those prisons, so here you have it. You indict whole neighborhoods of black males that are getting a little money, make them face doing life or telling on everyone they know, which causes a split in the unity forever.”
As the years have passed the area the SNP once considered their territory has changed dramatically. “Some real estate agencies and investors were interested in that area. $100 million was invested in that area. They had to devalue the property, create a high crime area,” Shorty says. “Since they got the SNP out of the way property values went up. It’s called gentrification. The legacy of the SNP is that of a group of young black men who were negatively exploited by the Department of Justice due to real estate and commercial interests.” So who are the real gangsters? “Look around,” Fridge says. “Projects are being destroyed left and right. The trap I grew up in has trees and gates and shit and at the bottom of the Short is $100,000 to $300,000 condos with more to come.”
In Columbus there was a big buzz after the prosecutions. “They were saying shit like they saved the Short North area from urban terrorism.” Shorty relates. “That’s some bullshit, the Posse was about their business but it wasn’t any different than what went down in other hoods.” In reality was the neighborhood saved with the SNP convictions or were the SNP just a convenient group of young black males to take the fall so gentrification could occur? Being unconstitutionally locked down for a case that should have stayed on the state level. We will probably never find out for sure, but still we must salute the eight dudes that took the feds to trial and stood up. The Short North Posse are Columbus, Ohio street legends and their story has gone down in the chronicles of gangster lore.
“Recognize that real street niggas get their props from the turf when they really handle their business,” Fridge says. “Rappers seek that kind of fame not us.” And during his years in prison Fridge has attempted to take the high road. “By a chance meeting I met my man Dr. Guy Fisher.” Fridge says. “Guy showed me how to reclaim my righteous mind back. I was a straight savage and proud of it. But I’ve always been skilled in sports and arts and through his influence and hard work and love for young gangsters he helped me turn all my negatives into positives. Most young hoodlums are good guys without nurturing. Hard work is in us, loyalty is in us. He showed me by example how to produce good works that can affect change in my life and others through achievement and now I help others accomplish the same thing. That’s what’s up.” Street legends can change too, there’s no crime in that.