Supreme Team | American Gangster from Queens

Supreme Team | American Gangster from Queens

(sorrowful piano) – Tens of billions of dollars have been made selling
the death and destruction of gangster rap music. And while we think of
the West Coast mostly when we think of gangster rap, it was also born in New York City. Especially Southeast Queens, the home of more hip hop icons than any place in America. From Run-D.M.C. and LL Cool J, Russell Simmons’ Def Jam Records, Ja Rule, 50 Cent, the founders of FUBU clothing, Iconic video director Hype Williams; they all hail from the same little corner of Queens. And at the center of
Queens hip hop history is a man called Supreme. Kenneth McGriff got
his street name Supreme from his involvement with the Five Percenter movement. The Five Percenter’s broke off from the Nation of Islam in the 1950’s, They came to dominate the New York State prison system among black inmates. So when young Ken McGriff started working the
streets of Jamaica, Queens, It was only natural that he would end up running with the Nation of Gods and Earths as they called themselves. The Five Percenters have a penchant for grandiose names as they consider their members to all be Gods. And young Kenneth McGriff was christened as Supreme. So in the early 80s McGriff rounded up some other young Five Percenters in Jamaica, Queens to take advantage of the exploding cocaine business, carving out a lucrative
street level business composed of numerous teenage workers who sold crack by the nickel and dime. – [Voiceover] Crack has become America’s drug of choice. – A potent, inexpensive highly addictive form of cocaine. – It is an uncontrolled fire. – It became known as the Supreme Team. And their leader Kenneth McGriff could soon be seen riding
the streets of Queens in a special bulletproof Mercedes Benz. To really understand Supreme and the Supreme Team you have to understand Jamaica, Queens. In the 2000 census Queens was the only major county in the entire United States where black household income, (mumbling), was higher than white household income. But the neighborhood of South Jamaica where Supreme was from, was the bad part of Southeast Queens, where the projects were at, where the poor people lived. – Cops on the run, criminals running from them. It’s just another Sunday in South Jamaica. The police ran a check on this car, it came up a 16, a stolen vehicle. A man tried to take the car in front of six cops, the cops won. But in this part of Queens the cops don’t always win. – This area, mostly drugs
probably from what I see. But you have a little bit of everything: robbery, burglary, and just as you saw, stolen cars. – [News Reporter] How bad is this place? – I’d say it’s bad. – So when the crack cocaine epidemic hit in ’84, spots like Guy Brewer Boulevard and the Baisley Projects became gold mines for the Supreme Team and other dealers. Black and white middle class buyers from the surrounding areas swarmed South Jamaica looking to buy drugs. The biggest dealer in South Jamaica in the early 80s was Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols. Now Fat Cat was a solid working class kid with a nurse’s aid for a mother and a professional plumber for a father. Nichols had the connection for lots and lots of cocaine supposedly from his contacts with the Italian Mafia, and he was supplying the Supreme Team in the early 80s. At the same time, hip hop was slowly bubbling up into the pop culture. And right next door to
Kenneth Supreme McGriff in South Jamaica was Hollis, Queens, home of the first big crossover rap group Run-D.M.C. And probably the single
most important person in hip hop history, Russell Simmons, who was the brother of Run from Run-D.M.C. He was launching his Def Jam Records from the home base of Hollis, and right around the corner from them, was the soon to be mega star LL Cool J. From the beginning the Supreme Team and other Queens drug dealers were hobnobbing with these soon to be mega stars. Paying for concert performances, and supplying some of them with drugs. Whether for personal use or for sale. Run-D.M.C.’s deejay, Jam Master Jay, even married the sister
of James Wall Corley, who was part of the
same drug dealing circle as Supreme and Fat Cat Nichols. In ’85, Fat Cat Nichols was indicted and locked up for drug conspiracy. And you could see hip
hop Founding Father’s Kurtis Blow and Busy Bee up on stage with Supreme and his crew for Fat Cat’s going away party. – I want to make a special dedication, to my man and brother, who ain’t with us right now, the police have locked him up. Fat Cat! (crowd cheers) Fat Cat, Fat Cat, Fat Cat! – In 1987 the Supreme
Team was at its peak, grossing up to supposedly $200,000 in a single day. Then they were hit with an indictment. Supreme McGriff, somehow managed to escape with a relatively light 10 year sentence. In his absence, nephew
Gerald Prince Miller took over the Supreme Team and things took a violent turn. The Feds claim the Supreme Team was responsible for eight
murders in 1987 alone. Though Supreme was never
charged with any of those. Gerald Prince Miller his nephew was himself sent away for a
short stretch in late ’87. With both Supreme and
Prince off the streets the Supreme Team was out of business for the time being. While the Supreme Team was in a sort of, hiatus, an event occurred in
their old South-side turf that would mark the end of the Golden Age of crack dealing in Queens and America. – A Queens Grand Jury is
going to convene tomorrow to consider the case
against four young men accused of executing
rookie cop Edward Byrne. He was gunned down while guarding a witness in a drug case. It happened in Jamaica, Queens, the same neighborhood where three of the of
four suspects grew up. – Rookie police officer Ed Byrne who was guarding the home of a witness in an upcoming drug trial that included Fat Cat
Nichols’ chief lieutenant, still on the streets, a
man named Pappy Mason, was assassinated by members of Mason’s Bebos Gang. – I said at my son’s wake, our streets could end up being as lowest as the streets of Bogota and Beirut, Individually we cannot
take on the drug dealers, they are an army, they are a massive army. – Welcome to the Forties Project. Two of the men accused of shooting police officer Ed Byrne grew up here. Some people call it
the largest crack house in the city. It’s five blocks of
projects, drugs and crime. It’s a place that even frightens cops. – I get scared, but I have to do my job as a police officer. – There’s big battle raging in these streets of Jamaica, Queens. On one side the largest police force in the country. On the other side, drug dealers, armed to the teeth. and with untold wealth. Many people in the
neighborhood are afraid. – We need an army, a big army. – In the aftermath of Byrne’s murder the New York Police Department swarmed the streets of the rotten apple, especially in South Jamaica. And when Prince Miller go out in ’89 and tried to put the
old team back together, his days were numbered. Prince and others were eventually charged with luring four Colombian
cocaine suppliers to the Baisley Public Housing Projects where they killed them
and took their cocaine. But their bodies were never found. While the Supreme Team and the entire Jamaica drug scene was being decimated by law enforcement, Kenneth Supreme McGriff was safely tucked away in federal prison serving a relatively
light 12 year sentence for drug conspiracy, which immunized him
from any of the trouble that his nephew and old
crew got themselves into. Finally, out on parole in ’93 Supreme found the streets of New York in South Jamaica very different from the days he went away in ’87. The Golden Age of selling drugs was coming to an end. Most of the big players from the 80s were either dead or locked up, but a new hustle had sprung up in Southeast Queens, one that was making young
guys even more money than drugs did in the 80s. It was called hip hop. Supreme’s old associate, Russell Simmons’ fledgling record label Def Jam, along with his
clothing line Phat Farm was now worth hundreds
of millions of dollars. Local rappers Run-D.M.C. had become global icons, LL Cool J was a budding movie star, FUBU clothing, started by two guys from Hollis, Queens, was approaching a
billion dollars in sales. The pop culture styles
of Southeast Queens, a culture that Supreme had helped in some small way to create, had spread across America and the world and was generating tens of billions in profit. Supreme wanted in. He quickly latched on to Murder Inc. Records CEO Irv Gotti, another South Jamaican native who was an up and comer
in the rap business. Supreme and Irving Gotti Lorenzo, needed each other, Irv
Gotti got street cred from connecting with Supreme and Supreme got entry into the entertainment business. Murder Inc.’s top artist, Ja Rule, scored a string of hits starting in ’99, and Supreme was along for the ride. But in 2000 Supreme found himself mediating a beef between yet another local Jamaica rapper, future mega star 50 Cent, who had been discovered by Run-D.M.C.’s deejay, Jam Master Jay. 50 Cent, probably just to make a name for himself, instigated the beef when he took credit for Ja Rule’s chain getting snatched, which Supreme claims was a lie, but either way, not long after that song Curtis 50 Cent Jackson was shot nine times in front of his grandmother’s house in South Jamaica. Word on the street was Supreme did it. But a man named Darryl “Hommo” Baum probably was the culprit, and Lil Kim’s one time boyfriend, Damion “World” Hardy, who was a Brooklyn kingpin, was eventually convicted of having bombed, killed in retaliation for yet another hit. Baum had once been Mike Tyson’s body guard and personal friend and Tyson supposedly put his own $50,000 hit out on World Hardy, and his brother Wise for killing Baum. New York, rap and hip hop and murder was intertwined right from the start. So after recovering from his gunshots 50 Cent used his notoriety to explode onto the scene, becoming the top selling rapper of the early 2000s. Meanwhile another piece
of Queens’ drug violence would finally seal Supreme’s fate. McGriff’s old buddy from
the Supreme Team days, a guy named Black Just,
had been shot and killed, by sometimes rapper and well known Queens drug dealer, a guy named E-Money Bags, right in front of Supreme’s own eyes. He was very upset to say the least about witnessing one of his oldest friends being murdered right in front of him. In 2001, Supreme took revenge by hiring a hitman to kill E-Money Bags, and unbelievably, having his underlings video tape the hit. In ’02, Queens legend Jam Master Jay was murdered in his studio by unknown assailants. Supreme was even a suspect in that case. He supposedly wanted revenge for Jam Master Jay signing 50 Cent. But to this day, no one
has ever been charged in Jam Master Jay’s murder. Meanwhile, Supreme’s ventures in the entertainment business weren’t bearing much fruit. All Supreme had managed
to produce for himself entertainment wise was a low budget straight to DVD movie
called Crime Partners which failed to make Griff a real player in the entertainment world. So, according to the DEA, Supreme had returned to the drug business, mainly running heroin to the Baltimore, Maryland area. After raiding several stash spots, the Feds took Supreme into custody and their prized piece of
evidence was the video tape of E-Money Bags’ murder, which had been left laying around in one of the stash spots. Irv Gotti and Murder
Inc. were soon swept up by the Federal probe, and Irving Lorenzo, aka Irv Gotti along with his brother were charged with money
laundering for Supreme. Too bad for them, Supreme had been using Murder Inc. registered phones to transact some of his business. Irv Gotti and Murder Inc. were actually eventually found not
guilty in a jury trial, but it was too late for
Kenneth Supreme McGriff. In early ’07 McGriff was found guilty or paying hitmen, who
testified against him, to commit two murders, including that of E-Money Bags along with drug and
money laundering crimes and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Just like his nephew Gerald Prince Miller. And that’s the story of Supreme. Currently serving life, no
parole, in federal prison. But I thought it would
be interesting to hear from somebody with a unique perspective, somebody who was friends with Supreme in federal prison. – I went to prison in 1993
for an LSD conspiracy. I wasn’t no Pablo Escobar type of dude, but for a teenager, I was
doing decent size stuff. I was supplying 15 colleges in five states with LSD and marijuana. I was locked up in the feds for 21 years. I was in about eight
different federal prisons, I met a lot of people, a lot of convicts, a lot of gangsters, a lot of bank robbers. I started writing books in the mid 2000s. And through my books that I wrote mostly on prison stuff and gangsters, I started meeting a lot
more dudes, a lot of people who were interested in my work. And eventually I met
Kenneth Supreme McGriff, at SCI Gilmore in 2004. When I met Supreme in 2004, I knew who he was, I didn’t know all the implications of everything he had done and all his legendary status, but I heard about him, he was a big dude on the compound. And he knew who I was too at that time I’d been writing stuff for Don Diva and F.E.D.S. Magazine, and I had my first book
out, Prison Stories, and he was really interested in the type of stuff I was doing. So we started talking a lot
and I really got to know him and I got to know his story. He told me a lot of stuff about when he was out there with Irv Gotti and Murder Inc. and a lot
of stuff about 50 Cent. But even when I used to
ask Supreme about 50 Cent you know, I mean, he didn’t
really have no problem with the kid, he thought the
kid was a go-getter, he was doing his stuff, but
he didn’t like it you know. Supreme, he had one foot in
the entertainment business, he had one foot in the streets. And 50 Cent was out there
putting his name in the mix. I was around Supreme personally and what I found was, he was like a real
gentleman type of gangster. I mean don’t get it
wrong, dude was gangster, he would handle his businesses as necessary, but he was really kind of laid back, you know, real
diplomatic, he wouldn’t use his force or anything like that unless you forced his hand. You know, but don’t get it fucked up, if you made the wrong moves Supreme’s gonna handle business, he’s gonna do what he has to do because he has all type of people that are going to do his bidding and do whatever he says, he’s just a real magnetic,
a real charismatic, a real intelligent type of dude. and really, when he speaks it’s like people listen because he doesn’t really speak that much, so when he does say something everybody’s kind of like
on the edge of their seat, like “Okay what does Supreme say, “Supreme said this.” And dudes are ready to enforce his orders like (finger snapping) that! I used to walk the
compound with Supreme a lot and we would walk around you know, and we’d be going here or there and you only got 10 minutes to move so you got to get to where you’re going. And a lot of guys were always coming up to Supreme, and they
wanted to talk to him they wanted to spit 16 verses at him or tell him about this idea or that idea or this book or this song that they had. And Supreme was always real gracious. He would always talk to these dudes and give ’em time. I used to tell Supreme sometimes after these dudes left, I was like, “What, why do you always
let these crackheads “just come up and monopolize your time?” Or, “Why do you even talk to them, “these dudes are crackheads.” And he told me seriously, he was like, “Man, sometimes you can learn
a lot from a crackhead.” – So there you have it. The story of hip hop’s
transformation from a New York neighborhood phenomenon into
a billion dollar business. The trail of bodies upon
bodies that went along with it and the man they still call Supreme. Today the old Jamaica, Queens crew is more successful and powerful than ever. Russell Simmons does yoga, and dispenses life skills advice. 50 Cent sells vodka, Run of Run-D.M.C. is a so called reverend with not one but three TV shows on cable including a show where the good reverend remodels a different room in his palatial home every episode. LL Cool J plays a cop on television. Daymond John of FUBU
is an investment guru. But Jam Master Jay is dead, his killer is walking free, and Kenneth Supreme McGriff, a key influence for the hip hop culture of egotism and materialism that has infected global culture, will never be a free man again. Supreme isn’t a big guy, he
wasn’t known for violence but from his days as a teenage leader in the Five Percenters, to
building the Supreme Team into a drug dealing machine, to insinuating himself into the world of chart topping music to still holding sway in federal prison, Supreme was feared, respected and loved. It’s interesting to think what he could have accomplished if he hadn’t come up in
the crack cocaine era in South Jamaica, Queens. Did he make the era? Or did the era make him? We’ll never know. Don’t forget to hit the subscribe button and subscribe to the Al
Profit YouTube channel. (sorrowful piano music)

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  1. More Historical Cocaine Stories:

  2. These guys cold asf murked a cop and also capped their own suppliers they really ran their turf like gangsters. So many people died from and revolved around them…their hit game was insane!!

  3. “Where the poor people lived” not everyone from south Jamaica queens is broke I live here and I’m from here and I get to the bag 🤞🏽😂

  4. Why do you show yourself talking?? Nobody wants to see your ugly face and you look like you’re fall asleep

  5. anyone recognize the corner of the iconic photo of Run DMC? …. I'll give you the one street — 211th — the other should be ease

  6. Grew up Southside Jamaica Queens 130th st Rockaway blvd.. I remember them… I remember when crack hit the scene, i was eight…

  7. I was 7 yrs old walking to ps52 on farmers blvd not knowing none of this going on. Just being a kid. Shout to Springfield Gardens

  8. The more you learn about the world the more you are blown away.

    Drugs and crimes have fueled the wealth of almost every rich family worldwide.

    The only reason we have all these rules and laws now is because they dont want us getting to their levels. They are inforced to protect their positions!

  9. i have never met a 5 percenter who was no a complete drug addict , living in shelters loser….not one….you have to be retarded to believe in that stupidity….its only islam bitch….malcom ex, muhammed ali islam……fuck these 5 percenter losers, fuck nation of islam….all of ya are drug addict losers

  10. See..!!!!!…😡…how this nigga PRINCE was moving…that's not how it goes…!!!!…niggas like this..! gotta look at it like he jealous and wanna destroy the business on purpose…smh..!..because he wish he was THE MAN..!!…smh..!….ME.!..cuz he was my cousin I woulda got him from around me before I had to do sumpum to him…all that unnecessary shit..!…smh

  11. At 848 you where Bias. When you said. FUBU was invented by two guyz…. Yet you show a picture with 4 white guys….as though they invented it.. That's misz leading

    Black man Daymon John Inventer.. Stop stealing

  12. So that mean 50 cent got shot and didn’t do shit 🤔the person who shot 50 cent got kill by other people not 50 cents people 😂

  13. Damn, can’t believe that I live through all that shit! Grew up on Shore Ave and saw that cop’s body sitting in his car after getting shot. Never knew the whole story behind that, and a lot of other situations that I’m not gonna mention. But it was good to get the story form the other side though.

  14. Why is this man the narrator? Couldn't find anybody who knows our culture? I don't appreciate his attitude towards the 5 percenters. All 5 percenters were not into crime. Many live righteous lives.

  15. 50 Cent expressing concern for safety in regards to Ja Rule beef video attached!

  16. Why this mfer sound so bitter…has so much disdain calling a black man a God ….or saying black man…new narrator please
    ..good footage…when he wouldn't be here or even be. Able to able to speak English with us

    We are the first

  17. Damn now i know why my big brother is latched to Al profit stories like mamas titty. This shit is dope nigga

  18. Everyone who talking about how a white guy is telling the story is absolutely insane bc Jamaica Queens had all races an poor white kids had it worse bc of the color of our skin noone wanted to be near us and we still made it . Dont believe the hype!!! Its a geographical problem not race. If you live in the ghetto. Police beat the fuck outta you. I was born in 74 and then ppl talking about Nas. He was in the Bronx

  19. This devil is trying to equate the gods and earths which bullshit. Also no mention of how the crack got into the hood. Troglodytes will never changes

  20. Bunch of criminals, thugs, drug dealers and killers calling themselves God. Lol. What a blasphemy on God name.. Damn criminals are not even close to God.. Stupid Fucks

  21. Bro u got some parts off doggie hom didn’t shoot 50 the paperwork says Robert Yea Sun Lyons did and world hit hom because he tried to press somebody from his team cash money brothers

  22. Being an addoct in ny i learned and met alot of katz like thiss. Most notorious one ran coke through funeral homes in the dead bodies. My dude lamomt green. Had been shot over 15 times the real 50cent. Elbow was missing legs were shredded uo by buck shot. Holes up and down his whole body. A true OG

  23. Good video Al profit. But you didn't mention that all the precincts from Manhattan ,Bronx and Queens thought that BRIAN GLAZE GIBBS shot the rookie cop. Do your homework Al Profit…



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