Donald Goines

Donald Goines
Donald Goines
Born December 15, 1936(1936-12-15)
Detroit, Michigan
Died October 21, 1974(1974-10-21) (aged 37)
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Occupation Novelist
Nationality American
Literary movement Black literature
Notable work(s) Black Gangster
Crime Partners
Death List
Kenyatta's Escape
Kenyatta's Last Hit
Never Die Alone

Donald Goines (pseudonym: Al C. Clark[1]) (December 15, 1936 – October 21, 1974) was an African American writer of urban fiction. His novels were deeply influenced by the work of Iceberg Slim.



He was born in Detroit, Michigan on December 15, 1936, to a middle-class black family. He was addicted to heroin at various points in his life. Goines accomplished an amazing feat by writing 16 books in five years. He began his writing career while serving time at Michigan's Jackson Penitentiary, where he was influenced by the work of Iceberg Slim. In his vivid depictions of ghetto and prison life, Goines employed both standard English and dialectal forms to great effect.[2]

Some of Goines's novels have become films, such as Never Die Alone,[1] which starred DMX, and Crime Partners, which starred Ice-T, Snoop Dogg, and Ja Rule.[3] A minor independent movie made of his life was released in 2003. Goines's better known works include Black Gangster, the semi-autobiographical Whoreson, Dopefiend, Street Players, Eldorado Red, Daddy Cool (which was made into a graphic novel) and White Man's Justice, Black Man's Grief. Inner City Hoodlum, which Goines had finished before his death, was published posthumously in 1975. The story, set in Los Angeles, was about "smack", money and murder.[2]


Goines and his common-law wife were shot to death in Detroit on the night of October 21, 1974. According to some sources, Goines was gunned down over a failed drug deal.[4] But it is popularly believed that he was murdered by neighborhood criminals who objected to characters and storylines that they thought were based on themselves and thus clues to their identities and crimes. The identity of the killer or killers remains unknown.


  • Dopefiend (1971)
  • Whoreson (1972)
  • Black Gangster (1972)
  • Street Players (1973)
  • White Man's Justice, Black Man's Grief (1973)
  • Black Girl Lost (1974)
  • Eldorado Red (1974)
  • Swamp Man (1974)
  • Never Die Alone (1974)
  • Crime Partners (1974) [as Al C. Clark]
  • Death List (1974) [as Al C. Clark]
  • Cry Revenge (1974) [as Al C. Clark]
  • Kenyatta's Escape (1974) [as Al C. Clark]
  • Daddy Cool (1974)
  • Kenyatta's Last Hit (1975) [as Al C. Clark]
  • Inner City Hoodlum (1975)


Reference is made to Donald Goines by the following rappers:

Grand Puba

The skills go back to the days of flippin' coins
Pass time readin' books by my man Donald Goines
-from 'Who Can Get Busy Like This Man...' One for All [1990]


I'm the act to follow, housing kids like Ronald
Mac like Donald Goines, flows I change like coins
-from 'Orange Pineapple Juice' "Resurrection" [1994]

East Flatbush Project

Write like Donald Goines from Flatbush to (sic) Saint Des Moines
-from "Can't Hold It Back" [1994]


feeling like a Dopefiend character from Donald Goines.
-from 'Trippin' Gravediggaz - 6 feet Deep [1994]


Too hard to follow, you took a bite but couldn't swallow.
Your mind's boggled, but I'm as deep as Donald Goines novels
–from 'Rather Unique' Doe or Die [1995]


Criminal ties for centuries, a legend in my own rhymes,
So niggaz whisper when they mention,
Machiavelli was my tutor, Donald Goines my father figure,
Moms sent me to go play with the drug dealers.
-from 'Tradin' War Stories' All Eyez On Me [1996]

E-40 :

Spend about a half a hundred thousand
boost up my coins
proceed to spit mo supafly
than Donald Goines
from 'Record Haters', Tha Hall of Game [1996]


With so much drama in QBC,
Kinda hard being Escobaro,
Eldorado Red, sippin Dom out the bottle,
my life is like a Donald Goines novel.
–from 'Escobar '97 Men in Black Soundtrack [1997]


Read it like a novel, DonnaCappa Goines,
Strivin' my duns need dollars and coins.
-from 'Slang Editorial' The Pillage [1997]

Ghostface Killah:

Lines from Dolemite,
A few tips from Goines,
Gave her 2 fifty-cent coins.
-from 'Child's Play' "Supreme Clientele" [1998]

Memphis Bleek:

That credit you dead it, I know heads gettin' annoyed,
And knew all about a dope fiend before reading Donald Goines
-from 'Can I Live II' Reasonable Doubt (Jay-Z) [1999]


So I picked up a couple books by Donald Goines,
About the business of this shit, how to flip a few coins.
-from 'Eyebrows Down' Chicken & Beer [2003]

Andre Nickatina

You Know The Way I keep It Flowin'
is Like The Life Of Donald Goines,
My Homies Like That Pimpin, Hoeing
Cop It, Drop It, Cop It, Blowin
-from "CottonCandyLand" "Horns And Halos 2"[2005]


The revolver or matty’s cool,
Knife game like Daddy Cool, since Bally shoes.
-from 'Mighty D-Block' "Walk Witt Me" (Sheek Louch) [2005]

MF Grimm:

If Donald Goines wrote my life my name would be Kenyatta
I don't choose to kill a brother but to stay alive right now I gotta
-from 'Take Em To War' "Scars and Memories" [2005]


Like Donald Goines you write a hell of a story
-from 'Fetti' "Boss of All Bosses" [2009]


Mountain man axe to your loins
Self-employed like Donald Goines, cash cows on steroids
I don't fall for deceptions or decoys
-from 'Lyrical Noir' Lyrical Law [2011]

Also, there is a rapper with the moniker Donny Goines, which was derived from Donald Goines.[5] One of the members from rap group Pitch Black goes by the name of D.G. which was inspired by Donald Goines. D.G. also mentioned Donald Goines in the song "R U Ready 4 This (feat. Busta Rhymes)" from Pitch Black's album "Pitch Black Law".


  • Allen, Eddie B., Jr. Low Road: The Life and Legacy of Donald Goines. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2004.
  • Nishikawa, Kinohi. "Donald Goines." Encyclopedia of Hip Hop Literature. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2009. 102-6.
  • Stone, Eddie. Donald Writes No More. Los Angeles: Holloway House, 1974.

External links

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