Inside the Crips Life Inside L.A.'s Most Notorious Gang

Colton Simpson with Ann Pearlman; Foreword by Ice T

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

352 Pages


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Colton ("C-Loc") Simpson was a Crip. From the impossibly young age of ten in the mid-1970s, Simpson's world was defined in terms of war. By the time he quit—the first gang member allowed to do so—he'd risen through the ranks to become Stabilizer and later, General. Simpson was the son of Dick Simpson, a ballplayer for the California Angels, but even before he became a gangbanger, his childhood was tough. Raised by his grandmother at the edge of Los Angeles's South Central, Simpson didn't turn to the streets so much as become engulfed by them: without asking to be part of the gang, his induction into the Crips involved running down an alley while the members opened fire on him as he ran.

Simpson was an elite gang soldier, loyal to a fault, participating wholly in a system whose rules and unique ethics he quickly mastered. But Simpson's run at the top of the Crips was cut off by betrayal, injury, and a prison stint that plunged him into an even fiercer war beyond gang violence: the war in Calapatria prison between the Crips and the corrections officers.

Inside the Crips is an intimate detailed look at gang life in the 1970s-1990s, and at the same time a story of both buoyant camaraderie and devastating loss. It places the reader in the center of the rush that comes from participating in gang violence and puts the extraordinary life and times of one Crip into a larger context.


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An excerpt from Inside the Crips describing Colton Simpson's induction at age 11:
"You wit' it?" Big T asks, but he doesn't look at me.
            "I'm down," I tell them, waiting for the discussion of my worthiness and loyalty to begin.
"When I say run, run down the alley and don't stop," Smiley orders.
            I take a quick glance down the alley. Only a dim light lends a gloomy vagueness. The telephone poles have disappeared into the sky. The iron bars have
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  • Colton Simpson with Ann Pearlman; Foreword by Ice T

  • Colton Simpson lives in Los Angeles.

    Ann Pearlman is the author of Getting Free: Women and Psychotherapy , Keep the Home Fires Burning, and Infidelity: A Memoir. She has a private psychotherapy practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she lives.