Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Supreme Team was a crack cocaine gang that operated throughout the 1980s in New York City. Their headquarters was in a Jamaica, Queens apartment complex; however they controlled a huge chunk of the entire city itself, including Harlem. The leader was Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff and his brother, nicknamed "Prince". Their trademark was rolling in bullet-proof vans, wearing paramilitary uniforms, and arming themselves with uzi's. In 1989, thanks to the work of a high-ranking informant, the Team was disbanded, and McGriff spent 10 years in a federal prison for a narcotics conviction.
The Supreme Team's most notable influence on popular culture is its role as inspiration for the Cash Money Brothers gang depicted in Mario Van Peeble's 1991 film New Jack City. The film stars Wesley Snipes as a McGriff-like character, Nino Brown. Like the Team, the "CMB" operate out of an apartment complex, wear paramilitary outfits and wield uzi's. They also make aprox. the same amount of money that The Supreme Team did during their heydey. The film is still a dramatization: Snipes' character is killed in the end, McGriff is alive and well.
The infamous Supreme Team has been the subject of songs like 50 Cent's "Ghetto Quaran" and Nas' "Memory Lane". In Prince's 1987 song "Sign o' the Times" he described two black youths who, "Join a gang called The Disciples, touting machine guns", a reference to groups like The Team. The rap group Public Enemy's original line-up included a similar pseudo-paramilitary "unit" led by Professor Griff, although this is most likely more reminiscent of The Black Panthers than any gang. It should be noted however, that Flava Flav appears in New Jack City. In the 1997 song "Mo Money, Mo Problems", The Notorious B.I.G. raps: "My team's supreme...".
For a similar group, see The Black Mafia.
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