I went to rehab like three times and finally decided that if I wanted to be a success at anything I do, I couldn’t use any drugs whatsoever, or break the law in any way.
While in rehab, I met my beautiful wife Celeste. Celeste is French/Irish and was born in New York, but was raised in Charleston, South Carolina. Her father is the famous artist Jean-Marie Mauclet. I have to say this impressed me when we met.
It’s a crazy story; I literally fell in love at first sight. She was this model-esque, bohemian hipster type and I was this rehabilitated gang leader/intellectual and we just clicked. I remember just watching her and fantasizing about kids and marriage, which for me was a completely foreign concept. I would stay up late in my dorm room with my guitar writing love songs about her. Eventually we let our feelings be known after some initial flirting and the rest is history.
Celeste came to treatment to address alcohol and cocaine addiction and we’ve been clean and sober since we met. I do believe that our love for each other has enabled us to grow spiritually, mentally and behaviorally, which is the foundation for a healthy recovery.
We now have a six-month old son, Lexington Dillinger Mauclet Cheers. I sometimes look at my son and I am brought to tears of joy because I know that he will not have to ask his mother for the spare change she had to beg for. He will not have to run, hide and duck from the police to prove to society that he exists. He will not be me.
I received my GED, went to college, and enrolled in a clinical-staff internship to become a substance abuse counselor, so I could earn an honest living by giving back. While working as a counselor I began to hone my craft as an MC; chronicling the street tales of a gritty New York kid who faced death, came back from the dead and lived to tell his story.
Peace to my brother, CA RFC, currently doing time upstate. I love you. When you come home, we’ll be rich. I promise.
Rast raps his ass off. Youtube: Rast RFC / Mark David Chapman for starters.
CA lived on East 50th in between 3rd and 2nd Ave, nine blocks from Bloomingdales. We actually had beef at first. We would cross out each other’s tags and look for one another with the intentions of inflicting damage. Finally, we crossed paths. Terrified, I said, “Lets just be friends man,” and since that day we were inseparable.
CA was born to a loving, tough-as-nails Polish and Italian mother and a Haitian father — but he was essentially raised by his mother. The kid had a genius level IQ and went to quite a few choice schools that were almost impossible to get into, one of which being York Prep. He was a really good-looking kid and always got the girl. Back then I wanted to be like him in every way.
CA wanted more though. He wanted to be a part of the subcultures that he was exposed to by watching movies like The Warriors, Wild Style and Colors, so eventually he became entranced by hip hop and obsessed with writing graffiti. His mother Kathy did her best to keep him out of trouble, but CA was a “natural born killer.” He was the first kid in the crew with a gun, the first to set it and he never ran. CA was the kid that would walk by you in the street on some, “What the fuck you lookin’ at?” And if you replied with aggression, you would end up leaving in an ambulance with a gunshot wound or a razor slash. He gave me my heart and the courage to be a fearless soldier. I love him and his mother with all my heart.
Anyway, me and CA eventually started writing graffiti every day all over NYC. We hit subway tunnels, abandoned train stations, train yards and of course the streets. Graffiti and hip hop were my escape from a life of poverty. I would go bombing with Nas’s Illmatic playing in my Walkman and visualize and identify with his street tales as if they were my own.
I began robbing public and private school kids for their Starter jackets, hats and lunch money just so I could eat. If we weren’t robbing to survive we would go crew deep to supermarkets and steal food to make meals. This was the RFC way of life in the early ‘90s. Crime, violence and graffiti was the way of life we chose. The city was ours.
During our early stages of becoming full fledge hooligans, CA and I met Busta: a 6-foot 5, extremely volatile, violent individual with a heart of gold. Busta became the unofficial leader of the pack due to his size and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty to cause damage. He also had a sharp, organized and business—oriented mind that eventually enabled most of the crew to benefit in many ways, financially and otherwise. When no one else was there for me, he was. Every time.
Our home base was the corner of West 3rd Street and 6th Avenue in The West Village, in front of McDonald’s. That’s where we would meet, drink, smoke, fight and rob kids for their Polo, North Faces, wallets and jewelry. We would call the pay phone that still stands on that corner to this day, to see who’s out and what club was popping for the night. I still remember the number: 212-674-9444.
My crew and I set fashion trends; North Face, Nautica, Tommy Hilfiger, that all became popular in NYC in the ‘90s because we were rockin’ it. Even Polo gear; we all know that the Lo-Lifes started it and made it popular in the ‘80s, but in the ‘90s that was mostly RFC in them Indian-Head knits, Suicide Gooses and Teddy Bear pieces. I was a star in all the local nightclubs: Palladium, Arena, Fever, Velvet, Vertigo, House Nation and Melting Pot, just to name a few.
The main RFC crew members in order of hierarchy are as follows —
Founders: Rast and CA.
Presidents/Leaders: AOS, BUSTA, MISTRO, RISK and ARK (RIP).
First Lady: Jocelyn (only female member).
Generals/Soldiers: FA (RIP), CASH, DEAL, SABE, SESA, RAY 1, DOUG, ARES, PRT, ASH, PRESS, FOES, BUDA, SEDI (RIP), FED-5, GUESS, ARGUE (RIP), ESO, KEM, DOMS, BETO, EJ, DOA, VAST, KEL and all of 5MH, ESKAY 5×7, REST and SHAZ.
We had numbers and notoriety. We had major press coverage in prominent, national magazines. There was the “Teenage Gangland” piece by Nancy-Joe Sales in New York Magazine and a photo-spread on boosting in Stress Magazine. We also got burn in a number of graf magazines.
But what did this fame do to us as individuals? If you ask me, I think it made us worse because we were being celebrated for doing wrong. We were selling drugs and hanging out with models. It was fun at the time, but at the end of the day, where did it get any of us? Those models ended up in rehab and most of us ended up in jail.
It was fun though.