Wink Loc is walking textbook of gang banging in the 1990s. In the aftermath of the Decepticons, Autobots, United Kings, etc, the Bloods and Crips came to New York. The Crips specifically had a stronghold in areas like Flatbush. As a New York Crip, Wink solidified himself on the street and when he started rapping started to make a name for himself. A rare voice at that time representing Crip in New York, he sat down with The Source to talk about gang banging in New York, his music, and what it means to be a real big homie.

The Source: Who is Wink Loc?

People think I was born in Flatbush, but I was really born in BedStuy across the street from Roosevelt Houses. {Home of Mos Def} From there I moved to Bushwick, then Far Rockaway, then finally to Flatbush. Flatbush is where I had all my most important experiences in life. It’s where I finished high school. At a certain point, I went to Paul Robeson, but I got kicked out for gangbanging. Eventually I ended up at Erasmus Hall, which wasn’t far from my house. I wasn’t really into the streets until I got into high school. The block I grew up on {East 21st} in Brooklyn had a notorious reputation in the street, but I wasn’t in the mix like that. Growing up, I did or tried everything: swimming, tennis, even football. I started basketball and got good at it then I got kicked out of school. Eventually I got deeper in the street and then I just gave up basketball. Growing up in Flatbush, I used to play in Caton Park, but the basketball tournaments always got canceled because of violence.

You were one the first New York Crips to really represent in rap on record. Can you talk about what that experience was like?

I feel like it’s cool to be a Crip now coming from New York. The gang culture is only getting bigger. I feel there is a lot of authenticity among the artists representing. It’s not about glorifying it, but you can touch on the topic in a different way. I don’t think when I was talking about it; it had the impact it would have now. People criticizing didn’t listen to songs like “Detour” telling stories about gangbanging and redemption. They just knew I was Crip and that’s it.

What are your thoughts on the gangbanging and the violence taking place today?

I think it’s all miseducation. Some of the older homies aren’t giving proper guidance and making them aware. Meaning it could be jail or death if they continue down this path. I feel like some of them {older homies} slid meaning they were in the gang, but didn’t participate in gang activity. There is a generation gap. If you are 15 years old and you are hanging out with your older homie and he is in his 30s, you have to question why is he hanging out with you instead of people his own age.

Flatbush the Movie tried to show how the Bloods & Crips came to New York and become major forces of gangbanging. What are your thoughts on the movie? 

I saw it before it got released. I didn’t like it, it seemed a little cartoonish and the movie made it seem like there were mad Bloods in Flatbush which wasn’t the case. Another issue I had with the movie it made it seem like many of the people who joined the Crips and Bloods came from the D-Cepts {Decepticons} which also wasn’t the case. So I wasn’t a big fan of it, but I’m all for people doing positive projects.

What has your journey been like being an artist navigating the music industry?

People believe in me more than I believe in myself when it comes to the music. Steve Carless does and he manages me now. I’m currently working with Priority Records.

What is your musical process like when you go into the studio?

I really love doing music it is the only way I can really express myself. All of my music comes from my heart. A majority of my music comes from direct experience. My process to make music is I get a gang of beats, start writing, and then I go record. To be honest, I never listened to my music before I dropped Locomotive 4. On this album I let out a lot about losing my mother and talked about situations with my brother.

Who are some of the artists you listen to?

I listen to Dave East, Tray Pizzy, Nipsey Hussle, Haddy Racks, Weedogg, G Perico, T.F. Everything, and Scandalous. My favorite artist in the world was Easy-E.

You used to collaborate a lot musically with Push Montana. What is your relationship like with him these days?

Push is my brother. I haven’t spoken to him in a while, but that’s my guy.

You were also signed to CTE {Corporate Thugz Entertainment} Jeezy’s label. What is the status of that relationship?

I’m no longer signed to CTE. We just decided to go our separate ways. I’m always good with them. I just needed to separate myself to get my affairs in order. I got interest from them because of my music and I wasn’t doing dropping music with them when I was over there. I got too comfortable just being part of the situation.

As an artist streaming is very important to how your music gets out to the world. Where are you seeing you are making the most impact?

California is a huge market for me. Cities like New York and Atlanta. Countries like Switzerland and Germany. Places where there are a lot of Crips, ha-ha. Those streaming numbers are only from Locomotive 4. My old catalog of music is not on streaming services.

As a New York Crip, do you ever hope for the day the Crips go back to what it was said it originally stood for? {Community Revolution in Progress}

I hope that day comes across the board and it happens all over the world. I lost a lot of my comrades to this gangbanging. Recently, my big bro Billy Shepherd from California {$100DollaBill} recently lost his life to this. I want to make sure he didn’t lose his life in vain. I’m never going to stop speaking his name. That was my road dawg for real. There wasn’t a day that went by I didn’t speak to him.

On that same topic, do you think that gang banging in New York City will ever go back to the way it was with gangs like Decepticons, Autobots, being major forces in the streets again?

I believe as time goes on its more about understanding and building and less about causing destruction. I think the destruction came with my generation, but there should be a rebuilding process. That process should include more understanding, dialogue, and making life better for the next generation to break the cycle. Gang doesn’t always mean kill or go to jail. It could mean get your degree, do dope shit for the community, and push more positivity instead of negativity.

Sometimes on social media there seems to be a little back and forth about the relationship between New York gangs and Los Angeles gangs. What is the relationship like these days?

It depends on the individual. In LA, its cultural they have been doing this for years. We just got into it in the late 90s. There are different protocols you have to follow over there. In NY, we {opposing gang members} grew up with each other. In LA, the beef is inherited. I believe if you are serious you should get in tune with the homies out there.  I’m taking a page out of their book and creating dialogue amongst the gang members out here. I’m starting a softball league for all the homies out there to help ease the tensions.

You are also active outside of music in different areas of business. Can you talk about those activities?

Aside from music, I’m an investor in real estate properties in the New Jersey area. I’m currently schooling guys that were with me in the set when we were banging and putting them on to the game. One owns property in Long Island and two others are trying to own something in New Jersey. That’s what I mean by being a real big homie.  I also started my own not for profit called Concrete Pillars in the Community and it’s based in New York City. The organization focuses on conflict mediation, strategies to limit violence in the community. The organization has a special program called “Sacred Ground” that deems certain areas no shooting zones. Places like schools, parks, and public places. We are currently trying to build a relationship with New York City to bring services to Canarsie. Services like job readiness, lessons on how to invest money, and lessons on being an entrepreneur.

  Locomotive 4