In the streets some dudes are respected, some dudes are feared and some dudes are loved. But every now and then a dude hits the trifecta rising above the norm, because of the way he carries himself, because of the way people perceive him and because of how he treats others in the game. When a dude like this comes along he is known as an ambassador to the game and even in death his legend holds. Michael “Fray” Salters was one of these dudes, and even though he’s been dead almost 20 years, his name still carries weight in the streets of Washington DC aka Chocolate City and up and down the drug corridors on the east coast. When a man of Fray’s stature rises to prominence in the game, his name is remembered. With all the busters, snakes, cardboard gangstas and conmen in the game, a dude like Fray is one in a million. A man who lived by his words and actions alone.
Fray was known as a man to be feared and a man to be trusted but most of all he was a man who was respected. He held sway in his city and in the chronicles of gangsta lore as an example of what a gangster was supposed to be. Fray didn’t fuck around, he got his, but he also played fair in a game where the only rules are to keep your mouth shut. He lived by the code of the street. In the chaos of the drug world he brought a calming affect. He was a man of principle who upheld ideals that are now long gone and harkened back to the days of old school gangsters, who wouldn’t even tell the police who shot them, while lying on their death bed. Fray was like the old-time Mafia Don, an original gangster who held respect by the power he wielded. Any dude claiming to be getting it or to be the man in Drama City needs to compare themselves to the ultimate street legend of Washington DC- Michael “Fray” Salters.
In the late 1980s when Rayful Edmond came to power in the city dominating the cocaine trade Fray was still doing his thing. He acted as the godfather, an elder statesman of the dope game. He still played a part and was a major factor during the crack era when Rayful had the game in a headlock. This was when Washington DC was known as the Murder Capital of the World. Bodies were dropping daily as dudes tried to get theirs in the vicious crack wars that raged throughout the city. There was so much killing that it was affecting business and when war broke out between Rayful’s crew and a rival faction in the Trinidad section of Northeast Fray was called in to restore order to the streets of Drama City on behalf of Rayful. As the venerated and respected O.G. of the city his presence provided a calming effect. Placating the bloodlust of the youngsters who now held sway in the city’s streets.
“When I say he had power, I mean real power in the city,” Frays relative says. “When Rayful’s crew had its issues with the dudes from Trinidad and bodies were dropping all over the place, fucking the city up, niggas turned to Fray. I was there. Fray was paid $100,000 to put an end to that and the killings stopped. Not because niggas were scared, but because niggas respected him. These were killers, known killers we are talking about. Fray had power like that in the city.” It’s said that even the FBI and DEA were impressed by Fray’s actions.
DEA agent John Cornille confirmed this in the pretrial hearings for the cocaine distribution case of kingpin Rayful Edmond. He testified that Fray was identified as the person who in August of 1988 imposed a cease fire in the bloody warfare between Rayful’s crew and the breakaway crew operating in the Trinidad section of Northeast, Washington DC. It was the last week of August and Rayful Edmond, Tony Lewis and their rivals met in a school yard near Howard University to squash the beef. Fray showed the rival crews that the warfare was senseless and attracted too much attention from the police, plus it was cutting into the profits from each crew’s business. The beef had gotten personal and didn’t make sense from a business perspective. Rayful and his rivals got a clue and a truce was called. The killing stopped and business resumed.
“Rayful came to him to squash one of the most notorious beefs in the city,” says a hustler familiar with the situation. “Fray was like that. His respect level was high.” Fray was a man who could get things done. By any means necessary. “He was a man’s man. The type of dude that could lead other men,” Ya says. “This is how he did what he did. That was how he carried it.” But Fray was not a power hungry man full of conceit. Those who knew him well described him as a humble man. “I knew him as a person,” Fatts says. “He was a real good person. He humbled himself to the lesser guy. Anyone who needed anything he would humble himself to anyone in need.” He remembered where he had come from and knew that any man could make the transition, like he himself had made, under the right circumstances.
Fray’s ability to mediate turf wars helped him out in other ways. He would pool money with Edmond and his partner Tony Lewis to buy cocaine from a Los Angeles drug broker who was Edmonds pipeline to Colombian dealers. Fray worked it all out to his advantage when he could. He was a gangster but he was a hustler also. He would be all over the city politicking with the different ballers and crews spreading goodwill and exerting his influence. There was a method to his madness. “I can remember seeing him at Northwest Gardens, the Maverick Room and the Masonic Temple to name a few,” Ya says and Fatts remembered Fray being, “Everywhere. The whole town. Back then the Masonic Temple, the Squad Room. It depended on what was happening.” Fray stayed in the mix and kept his ear to the grapevine. He was always out and about the town, getting the news and the 411 on what was going down.
At the same time Fray took care of his comrade in prison all across the nation. Keeping money on their books for commissary, paying for their lawyers and arranging for drugs to be smuggled into them. He’d go down to the different fairs and functions at Lorton and give away thousands of dollars to his homies. He wasn’t no fake dude, he looked out. Fray sent 20 grand to his partner on the run in Houston numerous times and blessed another homie with 50 grand when he hit the bricks. His moves caused close scrutiny though, Federal Law Enforcement agents said they were told by several drug dealers that some dealers ceded Fray the power to assign drug territories for PCP, heroin, cocaine and other drugs. Fray was like the marketing director for the DC drug world. The feds were very worried about this Don Vito type figure. By this time he was being closely watched and thoroughly investigated. But Fray kept doing him.
Looking out for the home team was Fray’s M.O. This loyalty to his people would be his downfall. Some dudes didn’t buy into his DC only mantra. They were jealous of Fray’s position. His relative explains, “Fray would lean on outsiders, dudes that were from out of town. I know, I saw it. I was there. He stressed to me not to lean on hometown dudes when there was enough dudes from out of town that could be taxed.” This was Fray’s philosophy as he moved into his thirties, a respected member of Washington DC’s criminal underworld firmly entrenched in his position. But the game breeds larceny and it was creeping into the hearts of some dudes that were allegedly in Fray’s camp.
Check out the rest of this story and more in Street Legends Vol. 2. Order it today.
First-time urban author Scoop is bring it to you all the way live with Money, Sex and Murda. A story of two men living the life. Buckle up and ride through the streets of Washington, DC and watch how predators can ultimately become prey. Check out this exclusive interview with Scoop too.
Why did you decide to write a book?
I got into the literary game because I really wanted to challenge myself to see if I could paint that picture for the world to see. And I love it!
What are your influences?
I can’t say that I have any true influences. I dig a lot of authors who write about different things and it ends there.
Describe your style?
My writing style is urban, but with the ability to describe scenes and whatnot like James Patterson or George Pelecanos.
Is your book based on real life?
My book is not based o real life entirely, but a lot of what takes in my book really went down.
What are your future plans?
I plan to expand my brand and promote my book right so that I can be well off financially and put other authors in position to eat. I’m currently in negotiation for a record deal. Music is my #1 love and books is #2. But I do have a few offers.
Where can people get your book?
I’m online, holmes. For me to be incarcerated it’s the best situation for me.
What is Money, Sex and Murda about?
My book is based on two main characters, God and Murda Mike. They have been best friends since the age of about nine and eventually got into the streets together. Things are going good until people start turning that pistol on them and trying to take their life. And with Murda Mike’s babymother, Trina, sleeping with the enemy, it helps not one bit. And at the same time where the heat is coming down on them, God calms down a bit after having a son by his woman, Anisha, invests in legit businesses and remain a free man. But dirty cops try to set him up and a jump-off is pregnant by him. The book is a great book and takes place in Washington, DC. Go out and get the book everyone.
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