Monday, May 13, 2013

Endangered Species: A 20th Anniversary Retrospective of ‘Menace II Society’ (Part 2)

In honor of the 20th anniversary of ‘Menace II Society,’ I proudly present this multipart retrospective.  The current chapter is posted below.  To read the previous chapter, please click here.  Thank you, and enjoy!   

Part 2: Countdown To Armageddon

In laying the groundwork for their crime ridden cautionary tale, the “Tender Trio” didn’t need to look very far for inspiration.  They had only to peer out of their living room windows, or play their favorite rap albums.  By 1991, Los Angeles had become a veritable powder keg of social unrest.  The illegal drug operation birthed by “Freeway” Ricky Ross and his Nicaraguan connection had mushroomed into a nationwide epidemic.  Throughout the 1980’s, L.A. gangs morphed into heavily armed militias thanks to the crack trade.  A saturated marketplace soon facilitated their exodus to other areas of the U.S.   This was especially true of L.A.’s two largest Black gangs:  The Bloods and the Crips.  Both organizations were born in the 1970’s, in the wake of the Black power movement.  By the early 1990’s, they’d carved up every square block of South Central L.A. amongst themselves.  Battle lines were drawn in accordance with neighborhood boundaries.  Ordinary civilians became live- in hostages.  The police became just another gang, though one with the backing of city government.