The South Jamaica section of Queens, New York was where Kenneth McGriff was born and raised. The McGriffs lived right across the street from the Baisley Projects. It was a working class neighborhood. Both his parents worked for the Transit Authority on New York’s subway system. They wanted their son to go to college and get a good job. That was the future they dreamed about and worked for.
Some dreams come true. Others don’t.
When he was 10 years old, Kenneth got religion. He came under the influence of a quasi-religion known as The Five Percent Nation, which was also known as The Nation of Gods and Earths. For lack of a better term, it was a cult.
The Five Percent Nation came from the peculiar imagination of Clarence 13X, who – once upon a time – had been part of the Nation of Islam. Before he converted, 13X’s name used to be Clarence Edward Smith. Later, Clarence 13X decided he could no longer accept the idea that Wallace Fard – who was the founder of the Nation of Islam – was god. So Clarence 13X left and started his own religion. His new religion taught that God was the Blackman and the woman was his Earth. In other words, the Blackman was the highest power or Supreme Being of the Universe.
The Five Percent Nation took their name from the fact that they believed they were the chosen five percent of humanity. The other 95% of humanity was made up of two divergent groups. Those who lacked knowledge accounted for 85%. And those who were devils made up the remaining 10%.
The devils were people who knew the truth but deliberately taught lies for the purpose of personal gain.
Members of the Five Percenters took or received new names, which were based on their personal characteristics. After he converted to the Five Percent Nation, Kenneth McGriff’s new name was "Supreme."
Since many of the Five Percenters were recruited out of prison, hustling went hand-in-hand with the religion. Hustling referred to any type of criminal activity that made money for the hustler. Con games, extortion, murder, drug trafficking, money laundering, gambling, money counterfeiting and robbery were some of the popular hustles.
Supreme fell into hustling early on. He mentored under some of the best hustlers around. He guarded stash houses for Ronnie "Bumps"Bassett and hung out with Lorenzo "Fat Cat" Nichols. Both men were ghetto drug kingpins who moved a lot of cocaine and heroin. By 1980, Supreme had his own crew, all of whom were Five Percenters. They called themselves the Supreme Team and got their supply of coke and heroin from Fat Cat Nichols.