The Nine Best Stories From 2019 That Define How We Will Serve You

Our staff weighs in on writing that sets the tone for what you can expect in 2020

LEVEL Editors


Update 6/7/22: Level has a new home. You can read this article and other new articles by visiting

Happy 21st birthday to us. Wait, no — happy 21st day to us. Tomorrow marks three weeks since Level, Medium’s publication for Black and Brown men, was born. Personally, we can’t imagine life without it. But with 2020 fast approaching, we thought we’d take stock of what’s appeared in the publication so far and salute a few standouts. Consider it a primer to what we’re all about. So read up, cool out, and we’ll see you next year.

Drug Kingpin Frank Lucas Told Me Not to Forgive Anyone,” Aliya S. King

I would hear about Frank Lucas on Wednesdays, the day after he and Aliya S. King sat down to work on his biography, Original Gangster. King and I called their meetings “Tuesdays with Frank.” She would download me on his bad behavior while she reluctantly penned that book, which presented a powerful man who earned absolute power (and close to a billion dollars) supplying heroin to Harlem junkies and many other addicts. That God-like mentality, I believe, is a drug of its own…