According to King Ray Raven, in 5 Poppin 6 Droppin, the African-American gang called Bloods was birthed during the 1970s in Los Angeles. The East Coast version of the Bloods didn’t appear until 1993, when O.G. Mack set the wheels in motion at Rikers Island, whence came the United Blood Nation aka East Coast Bloods aka East Side Bloods.
Raven goes to great lengths to point out that the East Coast Bloods and the West Coast Blood are not affiliated organizations. They are two separate gangs. Indeed, the Bloods on the left coast consider East Coast Bloods to be bogus Bloods, phonies, wannabes.
After providing a brief overview of Bloods’ history and the gangs’ unique sub-culture, Raven moves on to O.G. Mack, whose real name was Omar Portee. Mack was the leader of the One Eight Trey Gangster Bloods, which operated in New York City, running guns, dealing dope, etc. Mack was an opportunist, who more than likely snitched his way out of prison, although no one can prove it. To puff up his ego and his rep, Mack did interviews with newspapers, in which he claimed to have had a “come to Jesus experience,” resulting in a new, more pious way of life.
In Raven’s opinion and that of many others, Mack’s moralizing stance was the worst sort of flagrant hypocrisy. Mack wasn’t fooling anyone, except maybe himself. It was B.S. It wasn’t long before the façade gave way to the real Mack. Mack couldn’t stay away from the drugs and the violence. He is now serving a 50-year sentence.
Next up, is Anthony Jones, a Bloods gangbanger in Baltimore. Jones aka A.J. aka Ant was real piece of work. Nowadays he would probably be classified as a “domestic terrorist,” simply because he instilled terror wherever he went. Basically, Jones’ motto was “kill em all.” He even ordered the murder of his own brother for snitching.
Raven’s gaze then turns to Peter Rollack aka Pistol Pete, the general of Sex Money Murder gang. Subsequent to Pistol Pete, in order of appearance, he spotlights Bernard Porter aka O.G. Burn, who ran Sex Money Murder in Trenton, N.J. and went to war with the Gangsta Killer Bloods, James Powell aka Munchie of the Gangsta Killer Bloods, who moved to Columbia, S.C. to recruit gangbangers, and David Andrea Jenkins aka Dread, the High Stain of the Gangsta Killer Bloods, who wreaked havoc at the South Carolina State Fair, when he and his gangbangers engaged in a blazing gun battle with the Folk Nation.
Then there ‘re Travis Pinkston, a “Ghetto Star,” who supplied the Gangsta Killer Bloods with tons of drugs, Reggie Nicks aka Macazoe, the honcho of Miami’s Zoe Pound gang, Andre Roach aka Redrum (murder spelled backwards), who ran the South Side Brims from his prison cell, Brandon Smith aka Little King of the Latin Kings, the Dixon City Bloods who went to war with the Shower Posse in Toronto, Valdo Thompson, Jr., the 5 star General of Sex Money Murder, who thought he was untouchable and the Mac Baller Brims, “New York’s most dangerous gang,” according to the New York Post.
Raven’s writing style is easy to read, for the most part. Occasionally, he almost falls into the morass of stuffy didacticism, but catches himself and gets back to his impish cool mode, where he mixes snarky-lite with unadulterated candor. The combination is great fun to read.
His attitude toward his subject matter comes across as ambivalent: on the one hand, he is intensely critical of the gangbangers, viewing them with frigid disdain. On the other hand, it’s obvious he is fascinated by their flaws and holds a certain oblique fondness for them.
5 Poppin 6 Droppin recommends itself to readers. The book is well-researched, structured logically and contains entertaining true stories about people most of us only hear about after they’re arrested and make the news. Normally we don’t get to hear the details of their lives. This book provides them.