Famed Hustler Alpo Martinez Is Fatally Shot & Killed In Harlem

According to numerous sources, notable and controversial street figure Alpo Martinez was fatally shot this morning (October 31) while in his Dodge Ram pickup truck. In a developing story, Martinez, 55 years old, was killed in a drive-by shooting in the same Harlem streets that he occupied throughout the rise to his wealth and power. On Smash is among those who published the story, reporting that the incident took place at 3:30 am near 147th Street and Frederick Douglas Boulevard. Struck in the chest, Martinez was hospitalized before succumbing to his wounds. Photos and videos have been posted from the crime scene.

A native of East Harlem, Martinez made history when he crossed paths with Azie Faison and Rich Porter. The rise of these hustlers intersected with Hip-Hop in various ways—from fashion to artist associations. Though not a musician, Alberto “Alpo” Martinez, like his associates, moved with Rap music’s developments in the 1980s and 1990s. He was partly the basis for Roc-A-Fella Films’ Paid In Full, a classmate of Teddy Rileyand a onetime associate of Biz MarkieLL Cool J, and Eric B., among others.

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Although to many, a respected figure of the streets in the 1980s, Martinez was marred in controversy after a 1990 federal drug indictment and subsequent 1991 arrest. Facing death penalty consequences for a reported 14 murders—including the 1990 slaying of Rich Porter and his 12-year-old brother, along with various drug trafficking charges, Alpo cooperated with authorities—testifying against his former partners. For his cooperation, Martinez was sentenced to 35 years behind bars. He was released in 2015 and regularly photographed as a civilian wearing a bulletproof vest.

Earlier this year, he insisted he was not properly portrayed in the media and the streets:

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Besides Paid In Full, Alpo was an inspirational figure to Barry Michael Cooper’s “Nino Brown” in New Jack City. In a 2016 25th anniversary interview, the film’s screenwriter told Ambrosia For Heads, “[In] my era of the late ’70s, early ’80s, all those dudes were in the shadows. They didn’t want to be out front. Fast forward to Rooftop and Alpo [Martinez] and Azie [Faison] and Rich [Porter]. These dudes were celebrating who they were. That was the difference. Wes was a split of both—half of it was he could make the reference to Elliot Ness and The Untouchables. The other part is when he’s walking to the spotlight with that split of Moet with a straw—which is what we used to do in Harlem World—you’re celebrating who you are. ‘F*ck it, I’m that dude. Y’all gonna celebrate me.’ That’s what Rich—God rest his soul, Azie, and Alpo was doin’. ‘Nino’ reflected both of those eras: ‘I want to stay in the shadows, but I can’t stay here ’cause I got too much ego. I want y’all to know what I’m doin’.””

As a survivor of the movement, Azie Faison reportedly left hustling after Porter’s death. He moved into music during the 1990s. In that decade, he released several albums with MobStyle. He would work on the Paid In Full film, starring Mekhi Phifer, Wood Harris, and Cam’ron.