Weird History

Slang You Would Need To Survive Among The Gangs Of New York City  

Melissa Sartore
645 votes 103 voters 8.3k views 27 items

List Rules Ex-NYC gang members, NYC law enforcement, and Martin Scorsese only: Vote up the terms you've actually used or heard used on the street.

Belonging to a New York City gang is no joke. Membership requires a fierce initiation and repeated proof that you can live by their rules. To be in one of the many NYC gangs, members also must wear the proper colors, learn hand signs, and even speak the right gang slang.

Some terms used by NYC gangs are proprietary, others are more universally applied. Either way, members of the Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, and numerous other groups use NYC gang code words on a daily basis.  

Former members, law enforcement officials, and other experts have documented some of the language used by NYC street crews; however, even if you've never been involved in NYC's turf conflicts, you may have heard some of these phrases without even knowing their meaning. Any of this gang slang look familiar?


Definition: Dawg is one of the terms used by Blood members to refer to one another. They may also use "Blood" or "b-dog."

Sentence: Dawg, I got love for you.

The Crip counterpart is "cuz."

Jumping In

Definition: "Jumping in" refers to the initiation process in which a potential member must fight two or more existing members for a certain amount of time.

Sentence: They followed the sound of the commotion to find a new member getting jumped in. 

Should a member want to leave, he must be jumped out, meaning he again must fight two or more members for the same amount of time.

On Point

Definition: To be on point means to prepare for a fight.

Sentence: When word got out about the fight, both the Bloods and Crips were on point.

Staying on point may also be referred to as "Washington, DC," by the Bloods or "C-10" by the Crips.


Definition: A wanksta is a portmanteau of wanker and gangster; it refers to a wanna-be gangster or poser.

Sentence: That guy isn't a Crip or a Blood, he's a pure wanksta. 


Definition: A biscuit is a gun. 

Sentence: No gang member wants to get caught without a biscuit.

While biscuit is not the only term used for a side arm, it's a common choice for street and biker gang members. Additional terms include gat, nine (referring to a 9mm), puppy (used by Jamaican gangsters), and pump (a shotgun).


Definition: A nickel is a five-year stint behind bars.

Sentence: He just got out from serving his nickel.

A five-year imprisonment is a point of pride for many members, as the sentence indicates a serious offense.


Definition: A kite is a message.

Sentence: The kite went from cell to cell to spread the word.

Usually associated with penitentiaries, kites are passed around inside institutions, often as a means of obtaining forbidden substances.



Definition: Zoomers sell fake substances to unsuspecting clients. 

Sentence: The zoomer down the street is bringing too much attention from Roscoe (the police).

Generally disliked by members, zoomers bring unwanted attention to their business.


Definition: Yubitsume is a punishment inflicted upon members of the Japanese Yakuza that involves cutting off a member's little finger.

Sentence: You can identify a Yakuza member once you see he's experienced yubitsume.



Definition: A stack is a hand sign members use to communicate with one another.

Sentence: They never said a word to each other; they just sent stacks as it all went down.

Stacks can have a variety of meanings, are often changed, and can even supplant verbal speak entirely


Definition: An elbow is a pound of controlled substances

Sentence: He split up the elbow to sell it on the street.


Definition: Lampin' is the act of standing under a street lamp, just hanging out. 

Sentence: He's lampin' every night as soon as the sun goes down. 

This usually accompanies the act of selling substances and carries "turf" connotations.


Definition: A SuWhoop is a greeting used by Bloods.

Sentence: When the Bloods saw each other, the exchanged SuWhoops.


Definition: Crab is the term Bloods use to describe Crips.

Sentence: From the perspective of a Blood, a Crip is nothing but a Crab.

The term is meant to be disrespectful and refers to the venereal disease of the same name. A Crab Killa is someone who has slain a Crip.

Ghetto Star

Definition: A ghetto star among Bloods is a non-member who should be respected by all gang members. 

Sentence: He's a ghetto star, so he's completely untouchable. 

A ghetto superstar is a Crip term for a well-known person. 

Dumb Dumb

Definition: A phrase used by a Blood to indicate he's unarmed.

Sentence: Give me a biscuit, I'm dumb dumb.

"Pumb-pumb" is an alternate phrase that means the same thing. 

Bag Of Cookies

Definition: A bag of cookies is a Crip phrase for bullets.

Sentence: A biscuit is worthless without a bag of cookies.


Definition: A mug is an Albanian gangster.

Sentence: Watch out for that mug - he's ruthless.

The term is a direct reference to James Cagney films and prison mugshots. 


Definition: An Inca is one of the leaders of the Latin Kings

Sentence: The Latin Kings showed the Inca proper deference when he entered the room. 


Definition: Within the Crip lexicon, a playhouse is a hospital. 

Sentence: Once he got out of the playhouse, he was a ghetto superstar (a respected person) among the Crips.

Xap Sam

Definition: Xap sam is a poker game enjoyed by Chinese gangsters. The game is often played in the backrooms of gang-controlled businesses.

Sentence: They played xap sam at the massage parlor until 3 a.m. 


Definition: A Picasso is a cut a member receives on their face while in prison. The term can also refer to the act of slicing someone else. 

Sentence: They gave the Crip a Picasso to prove he served time.

When a Picasso requires at least 150 stitches, it's known as a "buck fifty."


Definition: The Russian term for "slay" or "bury," "uryt" is used by Russian gangsters for enemies and bodies alike. 

Sentence: Uryt him, he's disrespected us all.

Red Rider

Definition: A red rider is a female Blood member.

Sentence: The red rider could be jumped in (fighting other members for initiation) or sexed in (having intercourse with male members). 

Female members of the Latin Kings are called Queens.

Drinking Milk

Definition: Drinking milk refers to the ongoing process by which Crips prove themselves - generally by eliminating Bloods or other rival members.

Sentence: After initiation, Crips have to keep drinking milk to maintain credibility.