Excerpts Taken from VIBE july 2006...courtesy of SKJ productions (smile) : _________________________________________________________________ by Ethan Brown When Kenneth "Supreme" Mcgriff is led down from his cell to a closet-size confrence room, his mood shifts from jovial to fierce. "People in here (jail) think I should be angry with you" says Mcgriff.. Pulling a chair up.."They say you made me look....pauses..."bufoonish". Supreme is not being oversensitive, just before our meeting at the Metropolitian Detention Center in Brooklyn, I (ethan brown) had come out with a book called 'QUEENS REIGNS SUPREME: THE RISE OF THE HIP HOP HUSTLER that chronicled Supreme's stewardship of the crack dealing Supreme Team during the 1980's, including a raid on a stash house in which he was busted with blow on his face. "Cocaine on my face, huh?" he says sternly It should have been a sh1t in your pants moment, but panic subsides when i size up Mcgriff..His slight 5foot8 frame is draped in a tan prison jumpsuit, and his graying beard makes him look older than his 45 years. But on the street , Supreme is a towering legend, mythologized for his 80's crime exploits by various rappers. Federal Prosecuters contend that , like the Supreme Team of the 1980's which he helmed rank over. Mcgriff once again carried out Mafia style murders while moving kilos of coke. Though Mcgriff potentially faces the death penalty, the charges against him (to which he pleads not guilty) will be overshadowed in hip hop circles by another accusation (for which he has not yet been indicted) the accusation that he ordered the shooting of 50 Cent in 2000. Despite Supreme's fearsome rep, in person , he seems far from a typical thug. On his cell table are Salman Rushdie's "Shalimar the Clown" and Jimmy Carter's "Our Endangered Values": America's Moral Crisis. Kenneth Mcgriff once had a repuation as being one of South Jamaica's best and brightest. He was a talented student, avid football player and welcome presence in his queens neighborhood. But when Mcgriff discovered the teachings of the Five Percenters, an offshoot of the N.O.I teachings, he began to envision himself as a different kind of leader. Soon Mcgriff formed a small crew of his own, selling retail amounts of coke in Baisley Park Homes in jamaica , queens. He named himself SUPREME, in the five percent tradition and dubbed his crew the SUPREME TEAM. At first the crew was strongly conflicted about embracing the ethics of the five percenters alongside the Queens underworld. "Alot of the brothers and sisters didn't like the idea that we hustled because it was contrary to the lessons (five percent dogma). " remembers close friend "Knowledge" But the drug money of the 80's proved to lucrative to be resisted and the crew soon lived out it's moniker. Crack Cocaine arrival in 84, breeded a new style of hustling empowered by extreme violence. It also attracted alot of heat, Supreme was arrested on narcotics charges in 85, and ceded power to his nephew Gerald "Prince' Miller, but thier leadership styles could not have been more different. Mcgriff was a meticulous organizer who formed alliances and tended to use force coldly and carefully to preserve power. Where as Prince on the other hand took the crew in a brutal direction, beginning with the Supreme Team "butchering" of four Columbian cocaine dealers in Baisley Park Homes with bodies stuffed in trash bags. Yet few were worried about the Supreme Team getting caught as law enforcement was tied down with Mafioso crime families, federal authorities were rather lenient and lax in regards to crack crime lords. All that changed in 1988, when Officer Byrne was shot in his police car while he guarded the home of a guyanese immigrant whom had informed the police about Lorenzo "FAT CAT" Nichols. Federal Officals sought out both Lorenzo , Prince, Pappy and Supreme and as a result the SUPREME TEAM was brought to it's knees with Supreme catching a 12 year sentence. As Mcgriff sat in prison , his fame only grew, illustrated in the songs by artist such as Nas's "Memory Lane" (Some fiends scream about SUPREME TEAM , a Jamaica Queens thing). Just prior to Nas debut in 1994, Mcgriff came home in 1993, while in prison Mcgriff had immersed himself in grimy street novels like the works of Donald Goines and his dream was to turn a novel into a film. He figured his best entree into the film industry was through hip hop. Later that year Mcgriff had met Irv at a video shoot. Although from different sections of queens as well as different walks of life, they took a liking to each other. Gotti being "DJ IRV" whom moved mixtapes at 10$ a pop, while Supreme was the menacing coke kingpin whom moved kilos for thousands of dollars. Aligned with IRV , Mcgriff reaped the benifits of being in the shadow of IRV's success while at DEF JAM, and having Supreme around gave Murder Inc. street cred and implied a strong fear factor as voiced by Jarule on a Def Jam compliation freestyle.."Funds Unlimited ..backed by my Preme Team crime represenatives" At this same time, Murder Inc.'s presece irritated many, including a young Curtis Jackson aka 50 Cent whom spent his adolesence pitching crack vials in Supreme's old Jamaica Queens territory. During 50's early part of his career, 50 wasn't shy about making his feelings known about Murder Inc. and Jarule in particular. The drama ignited when in early 2000, Ja was robbed of his jewelry outside his Queens home. 50 whom was 24 at the time, seized on the incident ("Your Life is on the line") as proof that despite thier alliance with Supreme, Murder Inc. rappers were not safe even in thier own neighborhood. 50 claims that a friend of his was the perpetrator. But Mcgriff disagrees and contends that the robber was a young thug under the Supreme Team whom commited the crime. "I always see articles where 50 is saying that his man robbed Ja"...supreme says.."Wrong..that was my man, i raised him".