Guilty by Emulation
by K. Coleman Brown
Being the largest of New York’s five boroughs, it’s no wonder Queens has enough territory to breed an ample amount of riveting stories told by the known and unknown sources of its burg. These events can be conveyed by way of your favorite rapper through his or her rhymes, the views of a politician, the eyes of a corner preacher or the experience of a third party closely related to the streets and the people who were running them at the time.
Wise, nephew of Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff and native of Southside Jamaica Queens, is no stranger to the rambunctious epics that took place around the time of his upbringing. His close and familiar tie to a few of the city’s most infamous street bosses and their supreme (no pun intended) and ghastly activities directed him to express his feelings and address the rappers who glorify and author these so called lifestyles they’ve never lived.
Even though the mayhem of the early 80’s are referred to and idealized in music and movies alike today, majority of the real participants don’t view those references as flattering especially if these impostors offer up too much information or have never touched the block. Wise makes mention of a few rappers like Jay Z and Fat Joe, who were [real] and recognized dope boys at one time but have now gone on to become reputable business men. And then, there are those who have/had only watched these street antics from their project windows and then felt compelled to turn it into their own story to move units.
Wise vividly narrates his background for Protégé, which included a lengthy prison term that he served, his kinship to "Supreme", and his recollection and encounters with childhood acquaintance, Curtis Jackson III aka 50 Cent. He recalls the early times on the Southside as “fun and unified”. Growing up, his view of the known hustler(s) weren’t as hood superstars but more so neighborhood role models. Those same so called villains were also branded as urbanized robin hoods. They financed multiple favors through the streets and made what some felt to be significant contributions. If you needed it AND they had it, it was yours. Even if the request couldn’t be sponsored on the spot, the requestor was still given ways to get it. Whether the task was facile or laborious, no favor went null and void. It could be earned by doing something as lenient as washing cars or if you were good at basketball you could play a few games and get a thousand dollars per win, of course.
When questioned about his direct relation to “Supreme” and the early accusations surrounding possible motives to have Curtis Jackson set up to be shot, Wise explains he was incarcerated at the time (serving a 16 years sentence for conviction of murder and manslaughter) and knew nothing of that plan. He states, in addition to 50 Cent’s numerous beefs and enemies, there may have been others wanting to carry out that mission, but his uncle, who happens to be his mother’s brother, had absolutely no hand in the May 2000 shooting.
There was also speculation that “Supreme” was responsible for the demise of 50 Cent’s mother, Sabrina who too was heavily involved in drug activities and havoc in the Southside Jamaica, Queens Area. Wise described matter-of-factly the connection between Kenneth and Sabrina, as a close one and that there was never any criminal business conducted between the two, only a friendship. To his knowledge, didn’t include any reason(s) for "Supreme" wanting to kill Sabrina or have her killed. He also informed PM of his presence at the time of her murder…”I was right across the street.” Wise attributes her death to simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
His memory of Curtis Jackson was that of being a smart kid. Aside from his famed name to the world, 50 Cent was commonly known in the hood as “Boo-Boo”. Despite the situation involving the casualty of 50 Cent’s mother, Wise states there was never any animosity or strain between the two of them. “I remember when I first came home [from prison] seeing him at the Summer Jam 2003, we shook hands, hugged and since then if I see him, I see him, if I don’t I don’t.”
Questions of hatred still circulate in regards to 50 Cent’s feelings for Supreme and how adamant he’s been in associating the crime boss with his mother’s death. Wise questions those feelings as well and basically see them as unfathomable. “I don’t feel that that was hatred. However, with all his [50 Cent] success he tries his best to emulate everything my uncle did already and why would you glorify a neighborhood that you didn’t do anything in, but “Preme” did.” It can be quite obvious that there’s a slight lack of repugnance especially since 50 Cent seemed to routinely mimic “Supreme’s” habits and lifestyle, but nevertheless he continues to stand by those accusations. Wise claims He and Supreme have no ill feelings towards 50 and wishes him well on his success. He also added “He will never be half the man his mother was”.
In spite of the drug trafficking, infamous strong-arming tactics and his 2007 conviction of murder-for-hire, Wise remains loyal and confidently speaks in his uncle’s defense. He agrees McGriff was in fact a drug dealer but not a drug kingpin. Wise goes on to addresses the rumors that “Supreme” was designated as a silent partner for The Inc Records (formerly known as Murder Inc.) He states that myth too was an untruth and the relationship between McGriff and the Gotti brothers didn’t involve any funding for the start up of Murder Inc. Instead, he sort of adopted Irv and Chris as little brothers and often advised them to take a more honest route to gain success.
It seems Wise has no bad observations or opinions of his relative. And naturally we would assume not due to their kinship but he does feel there was something “Supreme” should not have done; and that was carelessly spend the myriads of dollars he’d accumulated. After all the illicit transactions that led to his significant capital gain, one would think the big time drug dealer would’ve invested wisely or at least purchased property. However, Wise explained because of the constant profit he [Supreme] quickly became a prodigal spender that made frivolous purchases. Throughout McGriff’s case all the assets he did gain were seized.
The courts and jury may have tried and convicted Kenneth “Supreme” Mcriff for the heinous killings and illegal activities related to the “Supreme Team” reign but his nephew continues to assert his allegiance to the notorious crime figure. He believes his uncle was unfairly sentenced and wrongly convicted. And although the loyalty and good deeds of Mr. McGriff were never highlighted through the media, Wise feels his uncle was a decent dude and guilty of only one thing and that was having a bad past.