Top 10 Underrated
Street Lit Authors

by The Urban Book Source
May 2008

JM Benjamin#1. Erick Gray

Some of the greatest things invented happened so by accident and so was Erick Gray's writing career. An avid reader and closet writer for years, Gray got his start in this genre when he handed his first manuscript to Carl Weber, a book store owner at the time. Carl passed his work on and soon after Erick became a published author. That was a decade ago and Erick Gray continues to hold his place as a writer to be contended with in the urban fiction genre. With the release of his first novel, Booty Call, Erick showed what a well-crafted story, developed characters and good editing was all about. Since then Erick has released six other novels including a sequel to his critically acclaimed Booty Call.

Visit Erick Gray on Myspace:


tracy#2. Tracy Brown

The reclusive Essence Best Seller, Tracy Brown, has been a valued contributor to the urban fiction genre for over half a decade. First published by Triple Crown Publications with the release of Black, Tracy transgressed to St. Martins Press for her second and third novels. Nominated for YALSA's "Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers", Tracy Brown's Criminal Minded has received much deserved praise. Since the release of her first novel Tracy has blessed readers with five subsequent titles. Although a recognized personality within the industry, Tracy remains humble, asserting her main goal both as a writer and a motivational speaker is to let others know that "no matter what setbacks they come across in life, if they stay focused and never give up, sky is the limit!"

Visit Tracy Brown on Myspace:


JM Benjamin#3. Caleb Alexander

Many authors are motivated by the fame that can be gained in the publishing business, however, some authors write just because they love to, no honors necessary. Caleb Alexander falls into the latter category. A ghostwriter to many of the big names in the urban literature genre, for years Caleb has remained in the shadows while others collected on his talent. Caleb's gift was only recognized and cherished by the agents and publishers who signed him to secretly write their best sellers. With the release of Eastside and Two Thin Dimes, the public now knows what a talented craftsman Caleb is. But what else would you expect from a writer who was handpicked by erotica queen, Zane, to launch her Strebor in the Streetz imprint?

Visit Caleb Alexander on Myspace:


JM Benjamin#4. Tu-Shonda Whitaker

Modesty, humility and ability can take you a long way, just ask Tu-Shonda Whitaker, the Ella Baker and W.E.B. DuBois International Award winner for fiction writing. The Essence Best Selling author has seen her share of success but this has not jaded her; through it all Ms. Whitaker has maintained her focus giving her readers and the industry a worthwhile read. Tu-Shonda first blessed the industry with her talent in 2004 with the release of Flipside of the Game which was followed up by the sequel Game Over, both which have been well received by urban book enthusiasts. After her first two novels received much praise Ms. Whitaker's third novel, Ex-Factor, was picked up by a major publisher. At present Tu-Shonda is working on her fourth novel.

Visit Tu-Shonda Whitaker on Myspace:


JM Benjamin#5. Al-Saadiq Banks

Al-Saadiq Banks got his start in the game in 2003 when he self-published his first novel, No Exit, which was a fictionalized retelling of many situations he has experienced. No Exit was followed up by the Block Party trilogy, Sincerely Yours and Caught Em' Slippin', all of which were published under Mr. Banks' True 2 Life Productions. With a fan base like few others, Al-Saadiq has shown that a self-published author can play with the big dogs.

Visit Al-Saadiq Banks on Myspace:


JM Benjamin#6. Solomon Jones

Solomon Jones is a father, teacher, rapper, and spoken word artist, turned author who has dropped nuggets of knowledge in his urban novels over the past several years. A graduate of Temple University, this Philadelphian has kept his fans satisfied since 2001 when he released Pipe Dream with Random House. In between motivational lectures and his weekly weekend column for The Philadelphia Daily News, Jones works hard to craft the kinds of stories that the industry can be proud of and it has shown in each of his novels.

Visit Solomon Jones on Myspace:


JM Benjamin#7. Danielle Santiago

Most 21-year-olds revel in the club scene and experiment with life unsure of what they want to do when they grow up. This was not the case for Danielle Santiago. At the age of 21, she decided to write her first book. Nine months later Little Ghetto Girl was completed, the first in a three book series named A Harlem Story. Based around real experiences, Little Ghetto Girl captured the hearts of many. Since then Danielle has been published in two anthologies and recently released her second book, Grindin'. When not touring or writing Danielle works hard to advocate for battered women, abused children and young girls in the ghetto through her non profit organization Mischievous Girl Ink.

Visit Danielle Santiago on Myspace:


JM Benjamin#8. Moses Miller

A self-described writer/scientist, Moses Miller is an enigma that has hit the urban fiction world hard with his first novel Nan: The Trifling Times of Nathan Jones. Nan was published under his company MindCandy, which prides it self on publishing "intelligent urban fiction." With a background in journalism, Moses built his technique while he worked as a writer for The Voice, Newsday and His stories are refreshing and command that you examine society. This native New Yorker's second novel, Once Upon Time in Harlem, was published in conjunction with FEDS magazine. The follow-up to Nan is expected to drop later this year.

Visit Moses Miller on Myspace:


JM Benjamin#9. T. Styles

A quiet force in the industry for years, T. Styles is a jack of all trades and has remained a name on the tips of readers and vendors tongues for years. The Maryland based beauty got her start in 2005 with her first title, Rainbow Heart. Since then she has nourished the industry with follow-ups such as A Hustler's Son, Black & Ugly and Diamond Playgirls. To the average reader her stories are nothing less than inspiring and fresh and to industry insiders, her work has set a bar to be reached by many others who attempt to enter the genre. At present T. Styles has changed hats and is busy running The Cartel Publications which debuted its first novel in December of 2007.

Visit T. Styles on Myspace:


JM Benjamin#10. JM Benjamin

A hustler by any other name is still a hustler. Just ask J.M. Benjamin, a hustler turned author. Since Mr. Benjamin's homecoming in July of 2006 he has released three novels—Down in the Dirty, My Manz And Em, Ride or Die Chick—and has accumulated a number of awards including, Best Street Novel Of The Year 2006 by the African American Literary Awards for Down in the Dirty which he wrote in just 34 days. Aside from publishing, J.M. is a motivational speaker.

Visit JM Benjamin on Myspace:


Honorable Mention:

  1. Anthony Whyte
  2. Anna J.
  3. Dwayne Murray Sr.
  4. Endy
  5. Zach Tate

The Top 10 Underrated Authors of Street Lit are based on market research by The Urban Book Source and the preferences of its visitors and judged against the following criteria.

1. - Author should have 2 or more published books.
2. - Quality of book; concepts, lasting impressions, characters, longevity, excuetion, pacing, etc.

Related features/articles:
Top 10 Street Lit Authors
Top 10 Books of All-Time

Comments page 10 of 365:
Click Here to Add a Comment
Resty :
Posted 2181 days ago
I absolutely love Yahoo 360 and escaipelly the blog section. Iâve maxed out on my friends list but am adding to my (unlimited) favorites list daily. Actually, if the truth be told, Iâm a blogging/360 addict and have no problem saying so *laffs.Seriously though, I donât think that 360 targets the âyoungerâ crowd like âMySpaceâ does and is far easier to navigate through. Having over 750 blogs, a Custom Theme, and enough understanding of HTML to use it in my 360 kinda indicates that it is a user friendly site. Plus I am NOT up on PC know-how so if I can do it just about anyone can! In comparison though, Iâve toyed with MySpace for over a year and it still confuses me 360 is much easier!So yes, Iâm a 360 âhappyâ user and have a ton of awesome and memorable experiences as a result, not to mention the wonderful people Iâve met along the way! I highly recommend giving it a shot, it sure canât hurt but could be tons of fun for you!Addicted to 360 frisky*winks*Long time Yahoo 360 user
Beatriz :
Posted 2181 days ago
I think affiliate mrnietkag is a SAFE, easy and FREE way to supplement your income. I've been members of a few different sites but so far I like click2sell the most. It has a easy to use interface and doesn't charge a start up fee or any weekly monthly inactivity or low balance fees or anything like that. Check it out! Copy paste the link into your address bar >
charlz :
Posted 2181 days ago
This weblog aperaps to recieve a great deal of visitors. How do you promote it? It gives a nice individual spin on things. I guess having something real or substantial to talk about is the most important thing.
Posted 2427 days ago
Moses Miller is a magnificent writer. His vocabulary and vivid characters pull you into a story and keeps you there. I read his books
and a few months later go back and reread. His stories are real and keep me begging for more. What a wonderfully, intelligent, modest
author!!!! I love his books and recommend to my friends every chance I get! He is dedicated to improving the quality of life amongst Black youth (especially mentoring our young men!) All hail his book, THE BARACK IN ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I use it with my students at my high school.
I thank him for his words of wisdom and participation recently in Jamaica,New York at Sugar and Spice, Chocolate and Champagne
Literary Conference! God Bless him!!!!!!!You go MOSES!!!!!!!!!
Karen :
Posted 3415 days ago
Jmbenjamin your book On the run with Love was a great read!!! I enjoyed reading it and I enjoyed meeting you!!!may you continue to succeed HANDSOME
sonja Jones :
Posted 3478 days ago
Thomas Overton is a good author as well. "Murder with a Deadly Weapon" is a headbanger.
princess madison :
Posted 3653 days ago
I personally think, and many will agree, that Anthony Whyte is the most talented author out there. His book was the first book I've ever read from this genre when I was 15 yrs old. I believe he should've been #1, no doubt about it. With all do respect, ya'll need to step up your game and give respect to whom respect is due.
CC :
Posted 3680 days ago
I'm glad Erick got noticed, as well as Solomon. I'd also add:
Kenji Japser
Rochan Morgan
Tony Lindsay
Evie Rhodes
Divine G
D. Mitchell
Well done, UBS!
Pooh :
Posted 3680 days ago
A big cyberhug to Erick S. Gray and Mr Moses Miller. I just read Crave All Lose All a few weeks back and I am still excited about reading it. The trifling times of Nathan Jones, Mr Miller you have some stuff with you, that book was an awesome read as well. J.M keep doing you, My Manz and 'em teaches very valuble in lesson as far as prison and the game of life.............Kudos and CyberHugs to all!!!
Author Lord'Williams :
Posted 3682 days ago
These brother and sisters had always been rated tops in eyes.
3 Chicks On Lit :
Posted 3682 days ago
Congrats E!
Tammy White :
Posted 3682 days ago
You spoke to soon. You have no faith in your "cousin" Erick Gray!!!



Company Info
Privacy Policy



Message Board
Get Featured. Be Heard.
Submit Your Book
Review For Us
Book Checklist
Join Mailing List
Send Your Feedback
Contact Us

© 2005 - 2013 by The Urban Book Source, LLC