Monster: The Autobiography Of An L.A. Gang Member

689 words - 3 pages

Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member


"Where I came from, in order to be down you had to be 'in'" (Shakur, 226). This quote, taken from Sanyika Shakur's (aka Monster Kody Scott) Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member relates the mind set of those growing up the concrete jungle of South Central L.A. This powerful account of the triumph of the human spirit over insurmountable odds brings the reader into the daily battles for survival. His story starts at the beginning of his gang life (being initiated at age 11), moves through his teen years (mostly spent in various correctional facilities) and ends up with his transformation in a member of the New Afrikan Independence Movement.


When Kody Scott was 6 years old, the gang wars started in Los Angeles. It started out as a battle between the Crips and the Bloods, but by the late 70's and continuing today, the biggest killer of Crips is other Crips. The Crip Nation was divided into different divisions, which Monster compares to the U.S. Army. "For instance, one who is in the army may belong to the First Infantry Division, 196th Infantry Brigade, Second Battalion, Delta Company. A member of a gang might belong to the West Side Crips, Eight Tray Gangsters, North Side Eighty-third street" (78). The smallest division was known as a "set" and it was to this group that the gang members claimed the most loyalty. From the time Monster joined the Eight Tray Gangsters (part of the Crip Nation), he aspired to achieve the status of Original Gangster (O.G.). Before he quit "banging" and joined the New Afrikan Independence Movement, he was almost at that status. O.G. was the highest honor a banger could get, and only then would you have the true respect of your friends and enemies alike. Monster spent many years in Juvenile Detention Centers before he turned 18, and a few years in prisons (such as San Quentin) after. It was in these prisons that he first attended a Muslim Service and met Muhammad, who...

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