Preme: A Boss Without Being Bossy

supreme2“Preme was a better boss than most because he did not have to be bossy,” the Queens insider says. “Dudes for some reason wanted Preme to boss them, even when they were down with other crews.” Preme wasn’t a loose cannon-type of dude, but he had the “go and get it” mentality that success embodied. He combined ruthlessness with unchecked diplomacy, forcefulness with mercy and generosity, and cunning with street smarts and intelligence.

“He’s very intellectual and culturally conscious. Not bias or racial,” T says, painting the picture of a gentleman gangster who upheld the virtues of honor, integrity and loyalty. “He’s not flamboyant t and he’s highly intelligent. Ain’t nothing slow about him.” Preme used this intelligence to build his team around him, a team that was loyal and brutal, and a team that would follow his orders without hesitation. “I remember him saying that he didn’t want to be the boss. That he was chosen only because he was best qualified at the time.” T says. “Supreme is respected because whatever he’s gonna do he’s gonna do it 150 percent. The most brutal individual on the planet will work with you if he respects you.” And Supreme attracted some vicious dudes as part of his crew.

Following Pretty Tony, Ronnie Bumps, and Fat Cat’s lead, Supreme rallied his crew and installed in them the codes he had learned and lived by. He also saw people’s potential and encouraged them to live up to it. “Preme was a master of the build up,” the original member says. “That’s what he was capable of doing. Building dudes up to a certain level or aura and having them live up to it.” Preme taught his crew respect, loyalty, and honor. He treated them as individuals and with appreciation.

The Supreme Team reflected Supreme in all facets. “We respected people, we wanted people to respect us too, even if it meant going to war,” Bing says. “But the neighborhood loved us. We took care of the neighborhood.” Supreme became a ghetto strongman that roamed the streets and became revered locally as a Robin Hood figure. His command of the criminal group was absolute as he played out a role in a gangster movie.

What became known as the Supreme Team was a crew organized in the early 1980s in the vicinity of the Baisley Park Houses in Jamaica, Queens, New York, by a group of teenagers who were members of a quasi-religious sect known as the Five Percenters. Under the leadership of Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff and Gerald “Prince” Miller, his nephew, as second in command, the gang concentrated its criminal efforts on wide spread drug distribution.  “Preme basically taught Prince everything he knows about the game,” the Queens insider says. The dynamic between Preme and Prince was one of big brother/little brother, with Preme being the older sibling. Even though Prince was Preme’s nephew, Preme was only two years older, so in effect they grew up as brothers with Supreme leading the way. Where Preme went Prince followed.

First they went into the Five Percenters and then into the streets together. Preme attracted a lot of dedicated followers, but Prince was his most steadfast and diehard supporter, always at his side and watching his back. With a master’s degree in the drug game acquired under the tutelage of Ronnie Bumps, Pretty Tony, and Fat Cat, Preme’s game point average (G.P.A.) was off the charts. Using this knowledge, Preme moved his crew off the block and into Baisley Projects. “Preme and them were from Baisley,” Bing says. So it was only logical that Baisley Projects would become their headquarters.

9780980068740This is an excerpt from The Supreme Team. You can order it from Gorilla Convict or www.amazon.com

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