According to the New York Daily News, a federal
investigation over the past year investigating crime in the rap music business
is focusing on a former crack kingpin from Queens, New York.
Kenneth (Supreme) McGriff, who headed up a $10
million dollar a year crack operation in the 1980’s, is the central figure in
the probe. McGriff, along with Lorenzo "Fat Cat" Nichols and Howard
"Pappy" Mason, led the Supreme Team. The Team controlled the Baisley
Park Houses in Queens, peddling an estimated 25,000 vials of crack a week.
Mason is serving life in prison. He was convicted
of ordering the 1988 murder of police officer Edward Byrne. Four members of
the drug gang shot the 22 year old rookie, who was guarding the home of a citizen
who complained about the drug gang’s open air market. David McClary pumped 5
bullets into Byrne’s head. All four drug dealers involved in the murder
were apprehended and convicted.
Nichols turned informer when he was sent to prison
for murder and racketeering. He entered the witness protection program.
"We were very aggressive with them — including
arresting both of their mothers," Federal task force head Leslie Caldwell
Caldwell told the Houston Chronicle, adding that the mothers were "intimately
involved in their drug operations." Caldwell is now heading up the investigation
into the collapse of Enron.
McGriff was hit with drug and weapons charges
by the city’s special narcotics prosecutor in 1985. He pleaded guilty and was
sentenced to nine years to life. Due to a technicality with the search warrant,
McGriff only served 22 months in prison before his case was thrown out.
McGriff is about to serve 5 years for a July
2001 weapons charge. "He became a player in the hip hop entertainment industry
after he got out of prison," a law enforcement source told the Daily News.
McGriff is listed in the credits of the movie,
"Crime Partners 2000," starring Ja Rule, Snoop Dogg and Ice T. He
is described as co-author of the screenplay and executive producer of the DVD
Ja Rule thanks "Preme" in the shout
out’s on his latest album, The Last Temptation.
"My nigga Preme you said it ‘we will not
die until history records our greatness,’ the notes read.
50 Cent also pays homage to Preme on his song
"Ghetto Qua’Ran," which names the main players of the Queen’s crack
scene in the 1980’s.
"Yo, when you hear talk of the south side,
you hear talk of the Team / See n*ggas feared Prince and respected ‘Preme…
When 50 mentions Prince, he is referring to Gerald
"Prince" Miller, who took over as leader of the 200 strong Supreme
Team. Miller was known for his violence and is now serving a life in federal
On "Look Who’s Back," 50 also asks,
"50 who shot ya?/You think it was Preme, Freeze or Tah Tah?"
Nas also pays homage to the Supreme Team on his
debut album Illmatic. "Hung around the older crews while they sling smack
to dingbats/ They spoke of Fat Cat, that nigga’s name made bell rings/Black
Some fiends scream, about Supreme Team, a Jamaica Queens thing.."