Pretty Young Thingz
I dreamt about the girl that stole my cherry from me tonight, Damn she was beautiful, inside and out. The dream left me feeling great and it wasn’t even dirty. Lying in bed after, my mind went back on a lazy tour of those teenage years and for the first time in a long long time I found myself thinking of my first crew, the PYT’s.
Strictly speaking, I can’t say that PYT was the first three letter acronym associated with my alter ego. We were early pioneers of the Marshall Mather school of gaining fame through controversy you see, and this was reflected in our names. The leader of the crew was without a doubt ELVIS, who inducted me into infamy when, looking over my shoulder in History class, he saw I had learned how to draw the cartoons from inside jacket of De La Soul’s Three Feet High and Rising album from memory. I was in, but back to Elvis.
At the time, Chuck D was about as close to the voice of god as anyone could imagine, and everyone knew his feelings on The King.
“Elvis was a hero to most,
but he never meant shit to me!
Straight up racist,
that sucka was simple and plain!
Motherfuck him and John Wayne!”
Public Enemy, Fight The Power
So when I asked homeboy why he was writing Elvis, he grinned and told me straight up. “Pisses niggaz off, keeps ‘em talkin, keeps me famous.” Enterprising to the last, my man had clearly researched his target market. Elvis later got into the habit of slashing every tagger he thought was getting a bit up, just to get people talking about the latest beef on the streets. Which he had just invented. It worked for Madonna, it worked for Marilyn Manson, it’s working for Lady Gaga, it certainly worked for us.. and homeslice was willing to suffer the odd fat lip for the cause. So when we walked up to that wall in the back of Otahuhu and we saw a big line of tags with T.C.G.’s underneath, and beside it another with S.O.S. below, and still another beside that of K.O.A.’s we knew exactly what we had to do. Out came our finest Auckland Straights and up went our roll call, all hail the mighty B.B.Q. crew!
But PRETTY YOUNG THING$ was the one we first stuck with.
It took me a while to settle into a name. I started rollin’ with SUBZERO because it reflected my Canadian heritage and I played goalie, like that character from The Running Man. It soon got abbreviated, but there’s a zero in every suburb and cops all over South Auckland, and when a gang of kids were relieving me of my jacket one night I was a bit pissed off that the biggest and oldest one was able to look at me and tell me if I gave his cuzzie the hiding he deserved he’d “make me a real zero”. Dude had me by a foot, 20kg and 3 years. But I got the coat back, eventually. Thanks Mom.
As I settled into the game, it started opening up a bit of a rift in my life. The crew started to realize that if I had any papes I was hangin with my private school set, drinking and smoking and trying to get our guns off. Activities which the crew was never really into. For the life of me I could not get my two cirlcles of friends to interact. (In retrospect, not choosing between them held me back) So if I was on empty you’d find me with the baggy jeans set, rackin’ paint, gankin’ records, gettin’ up, cold droppin’ my G’s and working as many obscure references to Bill Bixby and Ted Lange into conversations as humanly possible. After a time, my posse came to know if I was in the hood, I was BROKE. (and if I wasn’t you made sure you knew where ya girl was)
Other, lesser known, PYT members include CRIMINAL T who went on to appear in no less than seven Steven Segal movies and TECH 9, who approached us from the junior ranks. TECH earned his membership the hard way. When given a list of articles of clothing to shoplift, he came back with every one. When a horizontal mohawk was shaved into his head he gladly shaved the rest off himself. We all realized the man had what it takes to achieve big things and it was shame he was taken from us before he had finished achieving them.
RIP TECH 9.
PRETTY YOUNG THINGZ