Rich Paul’s memoir, Lucky Me, is a compelling read where Paul introduces us to his impressive formative years. The book is an incredible origin story that takes us from his dice-throwing youth through his entrepreneurial exploits as a young adolescent into adulthood and his famed encounter with LeBron James.

Born and raised in Cleveland’s East side and briefly in St. Louis, the memoir spans a notable era in the history of America and the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s through the 2000s. Paul’s story is a familiar and unfiltered account of surviving that era, resilience while in the streets, and pursuing success on his terms.

“Swear you b***** dont know s*** about our stress, about our woes, and my obsession with success, by definition of my own. Sure as death is waitin’ on our flesh and bones. Demon callin’ my spirit, had to click the phone…”

-JID Kody Blu31 “The Forever Story”

Cleveland Rocks and is also Gritty

At the heart of Lucky Me, is the theme of learning and growth. Despite the chaotic surroundings growing up in Cleveland and the constant danger, Paul gleaned valuable life lessons from his experiences, and also from his father, Rich Paul Sr., a respected businessman and OG in the neighborhood. Paul describes him with reverence and honesty, a man with integrity, who was accountable for his actions. In reading the memoir you also get to know Paul’s mother, Peaches, who seemed so familiar to me, that I could not help but sit in awe. Peaches was a beautiful black woman from St. Louis who moved to Cleveland where she met Rich Sr., and would birth Rich Paul Jr., the senior’s only son.

Paul’s mother was a fiery woman who struggled with addiction and at times was not in the picture. Her absence affected Paul in many ways as a youth and young adult, and one cannot help but notice that her absence was perhaps necessary albeit tragic. In this way, the book speaks to the complexity of life.

Rich Paul is a remarkable person and the message is conveyed as fact through anecdotes and amazing exploits, especially as a young dice-shooting gambler, a skill taught to him by his father. Gambling for example, while initially a means of income in elementary school, taught him about risk, strategy, and the importance of staying sharp under pressure. This and other lessons laid the foundation for his later success in sports representation with Klutch Sports Group.

The Human Cost of the Crack Epidemic

Paul’s memoir also serves as a poignant reminder of the human cost of the crack cocaine epidemic. He recounts its devastating impact on families and communities, including his own. Friends and loved ones fell victim to addiction, violence, and incarceration, and Paul’s narrative does an excellent job of humanizing these statistics, turning them into personal stories of loss and resilience. This aspect of his memoir is powerful, shedding light on a dark chapter of American history and its influence on our culture through the lens of personal experience.

Writing Style and Tone

Rich Paul’s writing style is engaging and conversational, making Lucky Me, an accessible and enjoyable read. He writes with honesty and authenticity, allowing readers to connect with his story on a personal level. The memoir is well-paced, with a good balance of anecdotal storytelling and reflective commentary. Paul’s voice is both relatable and inspiring, providing a unique perspective on the challenges and triumphs of his life.

Lucky Me, is more than just a memoir; it is a story of hope, resilience, and the enduring human spirit. Rich Paul’s journey from the streets of Cleveland to the heights of professional success is a powerful reminder that our past does not define us, it only shapes us in ways that propel us forward. 

This memoir is a must-read for this generation’s young black men and the importance of knowing who you are, valuing it, and owning it. I recommend that you read it if you are seeking inspiration and a deeper understanding of the impact of the crack cocaine epidemic on individuals and communities.

Paul’s story is a testament to the power of love, discipline, and belief in one’s ability to achieve success through one’s effort and hard work, and that through that effort, and yes, a bit of luck, there is a path to a better future.

DeWarren Smith