That’s crazy…. That’s crazy [laughs].
It’s been a long time since I have seen [myself with] no tattoos man, since around ‘92. I got my first tattoo at a very young age. I was 12 years old. The first one was an area code where I grew up at, the 213 area code, back then in Los Angeles. I used to see the older homeboys with that, and I thought that I needed to put one on too. Represent where I was born, where I came from, my roots, my grounds, the streets I walked on. That was one of the proudest days for myself, you know? The homeboys were important. I mean, family was important to me. I grew up with both parents and stuff like that. I am the only child between those two parents, but I do have step- brothers and sisters. Two elder brothers that I looked up to, one passed away and one went to jail real early as a kid.
I was just a kid trying to be a kid before I got involved with all this lifestyle. My friends were doing it [gangbanging], my brothers were involved, my sister also. Being the baby of the house I was like, “Wow.” It was what it was. All I ever wanted to do was be a part of it. I got in at eight. Of the little crowd that I grew up with there were two individuals that were the oldest ones. They were 13. They used to tell us how the homies were giving them money, [and the girls were giving them] sex. How the homies were embracing them, how they would go out. We used to hear these war stories and look up to these individuals, right? I did what I did. I got involved.
I got jumped into the neighborhood. I didn’t tell my parents. At 12 years old I started messing around with weed and alcohol, just fun and games, hanging out laughing, the munchies, chillin’.
But that is when I had a friend introduce me to crack cocaine, and I was willing. He told me, “Try this man.” I was always a willing participant; I was a risk taker. Addiction took over my life, you know? Crack cocaine took over my life. I started getting more involved in crime; that’s when I started to go to juvenile halls. By then my parents are trying to talk to me, but I was not hearing them no more. I would talk shit, have a bad mouth, did not want to listen, you know what I am saying? I thought that I had someone to back me up just in case. So I felt that power at a young age. I started getting involved more on the streets. Drug addiction, man, it took me to a very dark place at a very young age, a very young age. I start messing around with different drugs, in and out of juvenile hall, camp. I hit the Youth Authority for four years and that was a different struggle.
The outside life gets cut off. This is where you are. Either you are going to program with it, or you know what the consequences are: you’re about to get stomped out and rolled under. It was crazy to go through that at a young age. When I was 16, before I went in, I was going to have my first child, my son. It was one of those exciting moments in my life.
I remember the one thing my father said to me as a kid, “When you are growing up, and you get to the point when women start becoming your girlfriends, you bring me all the problems you want about women. Like if you get one pregnant bring it up, no problem. I’ll help you out, no problem man, half-way man.”
I was going to have this kid with this woman and I write to him. “Dad, I’m going to be a dad.” But he was not too fond of the woman I had picked and he told me, “Ah, not with her!”
So I saw that bond between me and my father just break!
I look at it like, “You lied to me homes,” and now I could not bring no problems home to nobody! I thought, “You guys are just bullshitters!”And now everything was to the streets, to the streets! When I was 17 I was introduced to heroin. I had never tried heroin. That took me to a different dimension in my life right there. I was like, “Man, I found it.” I found the one thing I was looking For the rest of the interview to be found in the book.