In “The Naked Soul of Iceberg Slim,” the fierce and lyrical icon for criminal reformation describes himself as “ill…from America’s fake façade of justice and democracy.” For Iceberg, the illness may have been a detriment, but for us, it’s a gift. His tales serve as a chilling reminder that we are all still inmates of one prison or another, and the time to break free has arrived.
Iceberg Slim took the public into the raw, unseen, predatory reality of America with “Pimp”. This time around, he puts the emphasis on reality with his collection of personal essays. This is Iceberg, in California, broken down into a million pieces of anger, wisdom, but ready for a shift in his own consciousness. From the corrupt LAPD to a broken heart, Iceberg recounts woes that the average Joe can’t even fathom. Iceberg Slim takes us for a ride; this time not only through the harrowing world of a pimp, but through his brain, his soul, and his psyche. The racist, gut-wrenching universe Iceberg Slim inhabits throughout this novel and his struggle to endure is one that will be appreciated by all. The story’s arch of chaos to cleansing is startlingly honest. After all, one can’t help but root for the man who had the courage to rupture the bars of the cell society created for him and the man who gave a voice to those too afraid to speak. In “The Naked Soul of Iceberg Slim” his voice reigns loud and clear, and ready for vengeance.
Iceberg Slim, also known as Robert Beck, was born in Chicago in 1918 and was initiated into the life of the pimp at age eighteen. He briefly attended the Tuskegee Institute but dropped out to return to the streets of the South Side, where he remained, pimping until he was forty-two. After several stints in jail he decided to give up the life and turned to writing. Slim folded his life into the pages of seven books based on his life. Catapulted into the public eye, Slim became a new American hero, known for speaking the truth whether that truth was ugly, sexy, rude, or blunt. He published six more books based on his life and Slim died at age 73 in 1992; one day before the Los Angeles riots.