Edinburgh boxer turned hip hop star Stevie Creed releases autobiography The Brooklyn Scotsman
Edinburgh fighter heads home to take care of “unfinished business”
An Edinburgh boxer who gave up the fight game to become a hip hop star in America has returned home and is back in the ring to take care of “unfinished business”.
Stevie McGhee – better known to thousands of music fans as rapper Stevie Creed – has been undergoing gruelling training sessions at the Leith Victoria Boxing Club gym and has already fought an exhibition bout in Edinburgh.
The 31-year-old decided to come full circle and get back to boxing shortly after releasing his autobiography last summer, The Brooklyn Scotsman, which tells how as a teenager he left home and survived living in some of the toughest neighbourhoods in the New York district.
Stevie went to America to train as a professional boxer, but instead ended up a hip hop artist, headlining shows, recording albums, and filming music videos on both sides of the Atlantic.
He said it was thanks to the help and kindness he received from the black community in Brooklyn, who befriended and adopted him as one of their own, that he triumphed over the adversity he faced on his coming-of-age odyssey to become ‘The Brooklyn Scotsman’, as his new-found friends named him.
Stevie, who plans to continue having competitive fights this year as a welterweight, said: “When I came back from America, I felt I still had some unfinished business in the boxing ring. When I first went to the States I was training at the famous Starret City Boxing Club, in Brooklyn. Although boxing was always my first love, the hip hop music took over and I had quite a bit of success as a rap artist. I’ve been training hard with Tommy Dickson, the head boxing coach at the Leith Victoria club for the past few months. It’s the oldest boxing club in Scotland and Tommy has been brilliant with me.”
Tommy Dickson said: “Stevie has the enthusiasm and raw excitement of a teenager just starting out in boxing. But he’s also got a lot of valuable experience and has an old head on his shoulders from what he has learned when he was boxing in America. You get the best of both worlds with Stevie – youthful energy and experience. He’s going to do extremely well this year and he could be that good, he could end up turning pro. The door’s certainly not closed on that one if he keeps up his level of improvement.”
Stevie said: “It was great getting back in the ring and I felt a mixture of excitement and apprehension as I stood in my corner waiting for the bell to ring to start the boxing match. Although there is no winner announced in the exhibition bout, I more than held my own and I was relieved I was able to perform as well as I did.
“What I’d learned from my coach, Tyrone Venning at the Starret City club in Brooklyn and their intense training and sparring regimes certainly stood me good stead. It really was gym wars at the Starret City club and sparring wasn’t anything like I had been used to in Scotland when it’s more about helping each other out to refine your skills. As I discovered in my first sparring session in America, the boxers go at each other hell for leather and you’re expected to beat your opponent like it was a real boxing match.”
Stevie added: “I was pleasantly surprised how relaxed and controlled I was in the exhibition match and how much I felt at home in the ring. It has given me confidence that I still have it in me and I’ll take my boxing as far as I can. Having said that, I haven’t completely swapped the stage for the boxing ring, as I’ve recently released a hip hop album, Concreed Jungle and I’m planning some shows later in the year.”
In his autobiography, Stevie tells his story revealing how he had an Uzi machine pistol held to his head by one of the Crips gangsters and witnessed shoot-outs and murders on the streets. And how a ‘Scottish Survival Kit’ of his accent got him noticed and opened doors for him along with his Scots bravado, which saved his skin on many occasions.
The book also reveals how he became poverty-stricken after a music business deal went wrong, an apartment he stayed in turned out to be a crack den and when he became homeless he slept rough on a subway platform living on one cream cheese bagel a day. He also bluffed his way to being hired as a male model during New York Fashion Week.
Celebrated Scottish author, Sir Ian Rankin has read Stevie’s story and said: “It reads like fiction, but it actually happened. A hugely enjoyable book. Bravo!” And actress Linda Lusardi said: “What an adventure. This is an incredible read – it’s a must!”
You can purchase The Brooklyn Scotsman published by Macdonald Media Publishing for £12.99.