Damn, I look better without tattoos! [Laughs.]
Damn, that’s a trip, can I get a copy of these? [Laughs.] It’s crazy, all the details. I got the tattoos over a long period of time. The one on my face took about two hours, but I went over it like three times. There are some that I would have not done looking back. I would have probably not done my head and my face, the visible ones. I got them all in prison. I have just got out of prison.
I was 14 when I got my first tattoo. I had an “LA” here, but I covered it up. My brother and cousin have the same one. It meant a lot to me to have the same tattoos as them. I wanted to fit in because I looked up to them both, especially my brother.
Everything my older brother did I wanted to do: the first time I got high was with him, first time I picked up a gun was with him, anything. Everything I looked up to was him. He always had the females, always doing this and that, so I wanted to do everything that he was doing. I was following in his footsteps, but I joined a different gang because when he had gotten old- er and did not want me to join a gang, he was kind of pushing me away. I chose a different crowd and I joined that gang. I’m taking the tattoos off now though, mostly because of the attention, the profiling, all that. I’m taking them off. Why did I get the three dots? A lot of people from the South get three dots, I’m from the South. The North get four dots. But originally it meant “my crazy life,” back in the days. I started coming to Homeboy Industries when I got out of prison. I just did a seven-year, four-month term. I had just turned 16 when I went to jail. I was in juvenile hall. It was kind of fun, to be honest. Gangbang on your enemies, fight all the time, running amok, doing whatever you want to do; then it gets old. Once you get to prison, then it gets real boring, real old. You have to learn how to carry yourself in a certain way. For the rest of the interview to be found in the book.