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Inside a Gang Initiation with the Silent Murder Crips

For JT, a young prospect making his way into a local branch of the Crips in Brooklyn, joining the gang is about family: Getting close to a group of men that care about him, and are willing to back him up if he ever finds himself in trouble.

But getting initiated isn’t easy. We followed JT through the process of getting made to see what drew him to the gang, and to hear why he’s willing to be “squared in”—suffering a brutal beating at the hands of his best friends.

WATCH NEXT: The Nightmare World of Gang Stalking –

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Video transcription:

It's tradition.It's something that
niggas got to keep it going,it's about the respect
of it, the love of it.You feel what I'm saying?
You understanding what it is?I understand the initiation
is super important.It's love.You know?It's the key, you know
what I'm saying?It's like right of passage.Hold on, hold on.Make a circle, make a circle,
make a circle, make a circle.Make a circle!
Let's go, get it cracking.Make a circle, make a circle.Light one, it's a celebration.Smoke two then we reminiscing.The long nights
on the corner are over.We ain't got to
get along with you.We rockin' forever.My name is JT.I was born in Washington, D.C.Basic seller.You feel me? I'm just,
you know what I'm saying?Right now, I'm about to go
through the process.I'm about to join the Crips.It's something that I want to do,it's something that
I've been wanting to do.And I take it very serious,so that's the reason why
I'm doing it right now.I want to be around my
brothers more, making more.The way I'm moving
right now is good,but I'd be moving better if
I had something extra behind me.That's family.And, you know what I'm saying?When you're by
yourself, you feel me?Like, you need that, you
know what I'm saying?It's that backing.Even if I didn't join the gang,
there's a possibility that I couldbe in jail, I could get shot,
you know what I'm saying?I could get killed, you know?My sister was taken from me.I lost her in a drive-by.So, I know what it is, I know what the
fuck niggas got to go through and shit.What they got to do.I know how to get keep shit going,
you know what I'm saying?How to keep that money
coming in, you feel me?And why it is that… why it
is that, why the organizationhas even started, so…it's always been around me, in my
surroundings, in my environment.I'm just, I feel like
I'm accepting it more.You feel me?We are products of
our environment, yeah.It's hard.I come from, you know what I'm
saying, eating straight noodles.In my cabinets,
sardines and shit, man.Putting motherfucking pots
on the stove to get hot water.You know what I'm saying? So…I feel like it takes for somebody to
know where you're coming from.To have an understanding.You feel me? You want to
be surrounded with that.You want to make it out with that.I love my brothers.You feel me?I love my family, we
look out for each other.I know Otis through a nigga named,
you know what I'm saying, Poppy.Poppy introduced us in school.My whole hood is full of pessimists!'Cause we don't own nothing,
we never had much.I pray you get everything
on your bucket list.The corner's cold,
the stove is hot.There's barely food
on a the pot, damn!Damn!We struggling, here's Uncle Sam.Right now we in Brownsville,Marcus Garvey,
Brownsville right now.Down on Bristol Street.You know, they call it Pistol Street,
you know what I'm saying?Yeah, I'm about to
take you around, man.You're about to see
what's really going on.This is where I'm from right here.Yo, Poppy. What's good?Really good.What's up?
What's crackin'?-So you know… everything going on.
-What you got going on?You know, I've been grindin', bro.
OT, man. Regular.That's what up.
You could have came in the crib –Came in the crib?
Shit, let's go in the crib.-Niggas is in there?
-Yeah, come on!-Where you at?
-[Unintelligible] nigga.All right, let's go.
We're going to go in the crib.These dudes right here, these
dudes watched me grow up,you know what I'm saying?It's always love anytime
I see them, anytime.You know, most of the time when
I be like, "Yo, I got this going on,I got that going on", you know,
they come through for meand they show their love,
so yeah, it's the homies.Well, you know, I'm Poppy.From Marcus Garvey,
better known as Pistol Street.You know, all our
gangsta Crips, you know.Regular neighborhood shit, you know?
We're from the Ville.A lot of people don't like us.
You know how this shit go.We probably, because we
be staying together so tight,that's why they be mad at sometimes.-They don't like different shit.-Yeah.
-They don't like different.When you're different,
they're scared of different.The thing is, man, what can the
government and these people doto stop this, other
than to lock us up?Give us things to do,
community centers.Programs, access to other things.Instead of just taking us
and shipping us up the river.'Cause obviously I
landed with a situation.You get what I'm saying?We live and we learn, it's a part
of what I was just talking about.I lived it, I'm learning.So, you know.I got to go away, you know,
two and a half.Bullshit, but, it's just something
that I got to acceptbecause I got to accept it,
I want to live the life.If you don't give us something
a gateway or something,they're going to fall to negativity.
Now it's where…gangbanging is about
protecting around you.The real gang is the police!Me personally, I grew up
in it from like 9 years old.Me and all my homies,
you know what I'm saying?We grew up in that shit, that shit
wasn't no shit where you just like,"I want to join."
It's like, everybody in the community,they Crip.Even if I'm not Crip, they're Crips.So now guess what, guess
what you are? You Crip!So it's just like, I'm going to the
park to play basketball, all right?And that's another hood two
blocks away from me, you feel me?Them niggas jump me over there,because them niggas
are going to identify youfrom your association and
from where you're from.So sometimes, a lot of people are
products of their own environment.That's what it's really
about, you know?Well, me and JT met and we had
a common love, which was the music.This is like my brother
right here, you know?And he moved out here years ago,
you know what I'm saying,and I brought him around the homies
that I grew up with, you know?Yeah, basically a lot
of the motherfuckersI was telling you about, like, with
the Crips and shit like that, man,a lot of my men, this is
my first relationship.He knows I've been,
you know what I'm saying,putting it on, putting it in
his ear, that it's somethingthat I want to fuck with, that
it's something that I want to do.He said, "Well, you know what?
You make that decision,and you make that choice."Right, right.You do that whenever you
feel like it's right for you.It was no peer pressure.It was no gun to my head that,
"you have got to do this",you feel what I'm saying?It was a choice that I made to be with
my brothers and be with my family.'Cause whether he, whatever he is,
whatever he, Crip or whatever gang,that's still going to be my brother.
That's still going to be my guy, regardless.There's different sets, yeah but,
you know, that something that yougot to get in depth with.With some of the, you know,
like the big homies over there,you know what I'm saying?Y'all got to holla at
Cee-Lo about that,I can't talk about no initiations
or none of that, you feel me?It's about the community,
it's about gang, it's about us.It's about taking
care of one another.Taking care of the neighborhood,
making sure that the hood is good.No matter if you
Folk, Crip, Blood,no matter what, it's love out
here because it's the hood.A lot of us just grew up
and went different paths,but when you're in the
hood, it's Garvey love.All right, this is
how it breaks down.Eight Deuce Trey is the gang.G Stone is the first set, all right?Everything falls under
Eight Deuce Trey.Eight Deuce Trey
is like the umbrella.You know what I'm saying?In 9-7, we wanted our own thing,
we made our shit over here,Silent Murder Crip. Right now,
I'd say SMC is about 90,you know what I'm saying?
Mostly down south.But you know, we got 10,
12 members out here,and one new member,
you know what I'm saying?Other than that, you know,
we're mostly down south.It's many different things
you could to do to turn Crip,you know what I'm saying?But a lot of members
choose to jump in, you know?In my set, we don't do no
60 seconds or, "no this",or, you know, like, we're going
according to the person,we know you rock out, we're going to
make sure we put somebody in therewith you that's going to rock out,
you know what I'm saying?And it's not going to
stop until you rock out,you got to show, you know,
show us what you can do,you know what I'm saying?This ain't no part time thing,
you know what I'm saying?This is lifestyle, you
know what I'm saying?We move like this, we want
somebody that's going to be ablestand up for themselves,
whether they're with usor they're by themselves.
You know what I'm saying?We don't need nobody that's going
to run when they're by themselves,and pop shit when they're with
ten niggas or three niggas or,you know what I'm saying?We need niggas that are going to,
you know, represent for themselves.You know what I'm saying?
That's what I'm talking about.You know what I'm saying?I got a new member
about to join the gang,you know what I'm saying?The process he's
about to go through is,he's about to go through
a three person square.And he's going to have
to fight to prove himself,and let me know that
he's going to rep the gang.For all the youngins, man,
cripping may look fun,but it ain't. A lot of
shit comes with it, man.When you're crippin' and
you're out and you're flashingand you're reppin' gang,
and somebody may see you,don't like you, don't like
what you reppin',you might have to, you know?You might have to represent,
you know what I'm saying?Somebody may have a gun,
somebody may have a knife,you know what I'm saying?
You don't ever know how it'll go down.That's how I'm going to put it.
You'll never know how it'll go down.For all the youngins, man,
this shit may look pretty, man,but if you're ready for this life, man,
just make sure you're ready, man.'Cause it don't matter
what gang you're in, man.Niggas is dying. Young,
old, it don't matter.Cash straight cash, on deck.Eight Deuce Trey, on deck!Gang, on deck!-We out here! New York!
-Crippin' Eight Deuce…Gangsta Breslow,
823rd. GSC, nigga. All day![unintelligible] ghetto stars,
baby, holla at me!-The motherfucking flex, man.
-Yo, circle up.Make a circle for the homeboy, man.Do your best, just do your best.Come on, make a circle!
Let's go, get it cracking!-Make a circle.
-Make a circle.Get him up. Let him get up,
let him get up, let him get up.Goddamn!Fight back, nigga!Fight back, nigga!Fight back!Fight back!Come on, let him get up,
let him get up!Goddamn!-Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on!
-Goddamn!Fix yourself, cousin.-Get up, dog!
-Look at his eye!Goddamn!Hold on, get up!Get up. Let's finish it!No, no, no. His eye.
His eye is bleeding.His eye is bleeding.Let's me see your eye.You're good, man.
You're good. Come on, we're out.Come on, we're out.He's good. Let's get
some shit for his eye.Give him some water!Welcome home, nigga!
It's fucking cracking.This fucker's stone cold.Welcome to the home, cousin.It's what it is, man. Look.It's what it is, you feel me?Shit.-You good.
-C'mon cousin.Ace up, nigga. Hold it.
Ace up, nigga.You cry Bloods all day, man.
You feel me?So you're a Crip, you already know.Nothing. You're good, man.You seeing straight?That shit's going to be alright.What the fuck y'all doing?Get the fuck out of here,
he's a man.What I jump my [unintelligible]
nigga, what you going to do?Nigga, cry like a bitch?Beat you, shoot you.I got shot three times,
my nigga, own that.Let's get some water.We need some hydrogen peroxide too.
To kill the germs.Initiation, man.You know?You ain't going to
walk out pretty.I feel like I ain't
lose nothing from that.You know what I'm saying?If anything, I gained.I'm able to walk away,
you know what I'm saying?A better man.One of them niggas
scratched the shit out of me.Maybe that was the bottom of
that nigga's shoe, I don't know.How I look, you know
what I'm saying? Still looking good.It ain't even no difference, right?
I still look the same from earlier.You feel me?Got to laugh that shit off, man.
You know? It's in the past now.You dig?Shit wasn't about nothing, man.I love my brothers, man.
They did what they had to do.I stepped in that situation knowing
what I was getting myself into.At the end of the day…just know that every
decision, man, got its own–every choice got its
own consequences, man.Whether it's right
or whether it's wrong, man.Every cause got an effect.So what a nigga do?After he just swapped it
out with some niggas,just got fucked up, you feel me?
And he in a little pain.Take some shots to the head
and roll you one up, man.Fucking eye still leaking.My main thing like…when I first got to the park,
dudes started to surround me?My main thing was,You here, you're doing this,
it ain't no walking away,it ain't no backing out of this,
you feel what I'm saying?Let's get it done. Man up.That's my thought process,
when that shit was going down.You feel me?When I got to the park and the
dudes started to surround me,what was going through
my head at that time was,This is it, you feel me?It ain't no more, it ain't no
getting out of that, you feel me?It's like…You're here now,
you're in it, you feel me?It ain't no walking back from this,
there ain't no turning around.You made your decision.
Man up, go through it with it.I was trying to find out where
the fuck I was at, at one point.Like…Like, yo!It got to a point where I
wasn't feeling the hits,I was just feeling the concussion
on my motherfucking head rocking,you feel what I'm saying?If that's what a concussion
feels like, shit!But when the shit
was over though, man,and seeing the love, and have
my brothers embrace me,you know what I'm saying?We went to go cleaned
up and shit like that?That right there was another
reassurance that I was doingthe right thing, I was
around the right men.I was around people that,
you know what I'm saying,have the best interest at me
and my heart, you feel me?Even though it ain't a lot of
niggas out here that's like that.I don't think it was all love,
but I felt like niggas understoodand niggas been there.They've been hit to the
head to get through it,you feel what I'm saying?
So it was what it was.But the love that I did feel
while I was there, man?I feel like, that's something
that I'm going to remember.You feel me? I'm always
going to remember that shit.For years down, and years.
Of the day that a nigga had togo toe-to-toe with all these niggas
and stand in the middle of a circlewith all these niggas while
they're coming at you full speed,with everything, you
know what I'm saying?Nothing holding back. You
catching this beat, you feel me?Those are niggas I
want to stand up next to.Those are niggas I want to defend.When a nigga think that he got,
think that he got a problem.You feel what I'm saying?All right, we all saw that.You feel me? Those are niggas
that I want to stand toe-to-toe with.I want to be in battle with.You feel me?I went through what the
fuck I went through today.That shit was real.I feel like if I'm
the one initiating,I feel like if I'm
the one initiating,I'm going to always take it back
to the time when I got my ass beat,you feel me? And I
ain't going to hold backon nigga that's getting his ass
whooped too, you feel me?'Cause he got to feel like
what I felt like.You know what I'm saying?He's got to go through
what I went through.


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