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Running From Cops… A Hip Hop Odyssey

Running From Cops… A Hip Hop Odyssey

Frienemies

CA lived on East 50th in between 3rd and 2nd Ave, nine blocks from Bloomingdales. We actually had beef at first. We would cross out each other’s tags and look for one another with the intentions of inflicting damage. Finally, we crossed paths. Terrified, I said, “Lets just be friends man,” and since that day we were inseparable.

CA was born to a loving, tough-as-nails Polish and Italian mother and a Haitian father — but he was essentially raised by his mother. The kid had a genius level IQ and went to quite a few choice schools that were almost impossible to get into, one of which being York Prep. He was a really good-looking kid and always got the girl. Back then I wanted to be like him in every way.

CA wanted more though. He wanted to be a part of the subcultures that he was exposed to by watching movies like The Warriors, Wild Style and Colors, so eventually he became entranced by hip hop and obsessed with writing graffiti. His mother Kathy did her best to keep him out of trouble, but CA was a “natural born killer.” He was the first kid in the crew with a gun, the first to set it and he never ran. CA was the kid that would walk by you in the street on some, “What the fuck you lookin’ at?” And if you replied with aggression, you would end up leaving in an ambulance with a gunshot wound or a razor slash. He gave me my heart and the courage to be a fearless soldier. I love him and his mother with all my heart.

Anyway, me and CA eventually started writing graffiti every day all over NYC. We hit subway tunnels, abandoned train stations, train yards and of course the streets. Graffiti and hip hop were my escape from a life of poverty. I would go bombing with Nas’s Illmatic playing in my Walkman and visualize and identify with his street tales as if they were my own.

I began robbing public and private school kids for their Starter jackets, hats and lunch money just so I could eat. If we weren’t robbing to survive we would go crew deep to supermarkets and steal food to make meals. This was the RFC way of life in the early ‘90s. Crime, violence and graffiti was the way of life we chose. The city was ours.

During our early stages of becoming full fledge hooligans, CA and I met Busta: a 6-foot 5, extremely volatile, violent individual with a heart of gold. Busta became the unofficial leader of the pack due to his size and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty to cause damage. He also had a sharp, organized and business—oriented mind that eventually enabled most of the crew to benefit in many ways, financially and otherwise. When no one else was there for me, he was. Every time.

Downtown Celebs

Our home base was the corner of West 3rd Street and 6th Avenue in The West Village, in front of McDonald’s. That’s where we would meet, drink, smoke, fight and rob kids for their Polo, North Faces, wallets and jewelry. We would call the pay phone that still stands on that corner to this day, to see who’s out and what club was popping for the night. I still remember the number: 212-674-9444.

My crew and I set fashion trends; North Face, Nautica, Tommy Hilfiger, that all became popular in NYC in the ‘90s because we were rockin’ it. Even Polo gear; we all know that the Lo-Lifes started it and made it popular in the ‘80s, but in the ‘90s that was mostly RFC in them Indian-Head knits, Suicide Gooses and Teddy Bear pieces. I was a star in all the local nightclubs: Palladium, Arena, Fever, Velvet, Vertigo, House Nation and Melting Pot, just to name a few.

The main RFC crew members in order of hierarchy are as follows —

Founders: Rast and CA.
Presidents/Leaders: AOS, BUSTA, MISTRO, RISK and ARK (RIP).
First Lady: Jocelyn (only female member).
Generals/Soldiers: FA (RIP), CASH, DEAL, SABE, SESA, RAY 1, DOUG, ARES, PRT, ASH, PRESS, FOES, BUDA, SEDI (RIP), FED-5, GUESS, ARGUE (RIP), ESO, KEM, DOMS, BETO, EJ, DOA, VAST, KEL and all of 5MH, ESKAY 5×7, REST and SHAZ.

We had numbers and notoriety. We had major press coverage in prominent, national magazines. There was the “Teenage Gangland” piece by Nancy-Joe Sales in New York Magazine and a photo-spread on boosting in Stress Magazine. We also got burn in a number of graf magazines.

But what did this fame do to us as individuals? If you ask me, I think it made us worse because we were being celebrated for doing wrong. We were selling drugs and hanging out with models. It was fun at the time, but at the end of the day, where did it get any of us? Those models ended up in rehab and most of us ended up in jail.

It was fun though.

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  • Kevin Michael Earley

    Good read

  • Salvador Espinoza

    I remember hearing you guys build on this at Nitehawk back in the winter. Glad to finally read it.

  • Kenji Takabayashi

    Great read.

  • COM 2DVS. RFC

    I miss my
    RFC BROTHER .. THIS ARTICLE BROUGHT ME BACK ..

  • Cuzzo Ray

    That’s story is full of BS and lies . This fool didnt grab no gun. He was hiding in the car. Anyway this is Cuzo Ray , stay tune for the real story. Imagination is a mother … Lol RI ..

  • NestWAR

    Nigga if u aint Ray 1 shut the fuck up….Cuzzo Ray

  • Rast

    Rast:

    Ray, as a man, I respect y’all because y’all were gully enough to run up in the crib, guns out. Also, looking back, I now feel that it was irrepressible of me to put that segment in the story because the last thing I want to do is reignite any old beef, so as a man, I apologize.

    However, the truth is the truth, and even though I am ashamed to say this, I almost, recklessly discharged a firearm at someone who me and you smoked weed with at one time, that night; two weeks later he was man enough to give me a “fair one” on 14th and 8th ave, and I think we shooks hands afterwards, ask him.

    With that said, I now regret putting that part in the story
    because I should have known that I would offend y’all. I guess I’m still learning life
    lessons.

    Peace.

  • Cuzzo Ray

    U talking like u that dude .. Make me shut the fuck up.. On RI u can see me any time crab…

  • Rast

    PEACE!

  • ja xtc

    Scuzzo
    You are probably too old to be talking tough on the internet. Have a turkey and cheese sandwich from the bodega and wash it down with a rusty dildo.

  • Erica

    A friend told me to read this article because my sister was mentioned. It hurtful to learn why she was slash. It was painful to relive this memory but it answered my question why.

  • Rast

    I am so sorry that happen to your sister. I often wish I could go back in time and change the course of my life sometimes. I hope she has been able to heal physically and mentally.

    This may sound strange, but I would like to meet her if she was willing; maybe we could speak to teens in high schools about senseless gang violence and the effects on those close to them.

    Love and blessings,

    @Rast_RFC

  • WHITE KAM

    WHAT HAPPENED THEY THOUGHT THE ROOSEVELT ISLAND NIGGAS AINT HAVE INTERNET

  • WHITE KAM

    IT AINT NO BEEF. BUT YOU PUTTING NIGGAS NAMES ON THE NET IN RELATION TO SOME NONSENSE SO ALL WE SAYIN IS “NEXT TIME CHECK WITH THE HOMIES BEFORE YOU PUT THAT PART IN THE MOVIE” THE ROOSEVELT NIGGAS IS STILL HERE! AND THANKS FOR THE SHINE.

  • WHITE KAM

    P.S. if Mass Appeal wants to hear about some young youth running rampant through Manhattan digging in these “Cool drug dealers” pockets and not just these RFC cats they were just the first. Holla at Cuzzo Ray his story is crazy. #FACTS

  • Cuzzo Play

    Roosevelt island always been soft. y’all live in the shadows of QB, Ravenswood and Astoria pjs. so sit down, grow up, and leave the tough talk alone.

  • Rast

    MY SINCERE APOLOGIES TO EVERYBODY ON ROOSEVELT ISLAND. THAT PART OF THE STORY HAS BEEN REMOVED.

  • $bin

    Going to venture a guess that Mecca is/was Raphael De Niro, because Tribeca and looking Arab and graf arrest.