How Vending and Arcade Machines Determine the Difference Between Dumb Criminals and Cartels

When I was a young kid on the West Side of Chicago, someone opened up a videogame arcade spot near the house and after school before going home, I would play my favorite game Mappy. While other brothas chased skirts or played school sports or the band or threw basement house music parties in Chicago, nah this brotha here chosen to be different and spend my valuable time playing the ish out of Mappy: So one day when I woke up in the morning and going to school, I saw a whole bunch of police cars and wagon surrounding the house next to the game room with the door busted open and they had the owner in handcuffs and putting more people in the wagon with cuffs on taking them out the house. The arcade was also busted open and cops were all in there. I realize I couldn’t play Mappy anymore and from that point, decided to be like all the other lamers out there. So I decided I just go ahead and hustle hard downtown Chicago to get some side paper, become a drum machine programmer and chase skirts as a kid. But what I learned later on and what I remember to this day was it comes to find out they were drug dealers and they handled the money, lots of the drug money. But the dumb part was they sold drugs from the home next to their arcade setup and that’s what did them in. The obvious reason they were running an arcade was because that is how they were trying to launder their money to make it appear legit. With that said, we are going to talk real quick about how cartels learned to used vending machines and video games to launder drug/illegal money and established them and their people economically to be legit. The different between a dumb criminal organization and a cartel is a cartel avoids federal tax problems while a dumb criminal organization do not. Back in the days, it was the mafia that was running vending based games like pinball machines where they would report these things made all of this money and they also hid their illegal gains in the income. See, these vending games took cash and no one knows how much cash they receive so they can put their drug money and everything else in these operations. But dumb criminals engage in stuff like drug dealing, grow houses, pimping little girls and we suppose to admire in the Black community, right? The reason why is vending machines does not have inventory or products, it is based on utilization. So as you know it was not only pinball machines that the cartels hid their money in, they also hid their money in other coin-operated ventures like coin operated, Laundromats and casinos. Now there was another thing many cats don’t know but the mafia cats also hid their money in record labels because you really did not know how many album they sold and could have reported someone sold millions when they probably only sold thousands. That’s how the cartels hid and laundered their money. But guess what happened? The casinos went legit, the pinballs turned into legit arcade video game companies and record labels turned legit and the sons and daughters or associates of the original cartel are now running these companies or just silent shareholders with generational wealth because their family did dirt back in the days. Las Vegas, Atlantic City, major record label signing up these rappers talking about drugs and distribution of drugs – now you know where all this ish came from. The funny part and the sad part is you know who are the biggest CUSTOMER of these hustles – yeah, our Black ancestors were customers of these pinball, laundromat and other vending operations and they put these businesses in our Black neighborhoods. But some of the Black gang members picked up on this hustle and started doing shell type businesses where they can hide their money which is stuff like party/promotion companies, strip clubs, rap music labels putting out mixtapes, coin operated game rooms and laundromats and these are stuff that did not require upfront inventory and just somehow – cash was made and the IRS cannot trace it back. However, the problem we have in our community is we have dumb criminals, not cartel characters. See, the cartels back in the days turned legitimate and gave their family generational wealth while Black criminals only throw money around wanting you to admire them as some legendary street pimp and our dumb Black asses admire that shallow ish. On the south side of Chicago in more recent times, there were a couple of dudes with very bad reputations; Flukey Stokes and his son Willie the Wimp. They beat people up. They sold drugs. They became wealthy. Willie the Wimp was shot in 1984 and dad threw a funeral. Thousands were invited. Even more invited themselves. People don't often see the recently departed sitting up and holding the steering wheel of a coffin modeled after the Cadillac Seville. A coffin with flashing lights and flowers for wheels. Oh sure, there were some other thoughtful touches, rings on his fingers and c-notes stuck like cigarettes in his hands. The post-burial birthday party for Willie the Wimp was held at the same motel where Willie was shot. So it was, Willie the Wimp became more famous in his coffin than he had been in the street. It's a story that inspires song. Flukey Stokes was gunned down last November as he sat in his car. We thought you'd like to know Stevie Ray isn't singing about some Mickey Spillane fiction. He's singing about Chicago. So this is what Black folks back in the day were celebrating – someone who beats people up and sold drugs and we got web sites trying to admire these characters who ain’t left a damn thing for the younger generation to stack paper on. But the cartels – oh, the cartels from Italy, Japan, China, Thailand, Columbia, Russia and so on have kids and daughters who are multi-millionaires with legit money to pass down to their kids and they all legit now and on television and movies and you don’t even realize it. Here is what I’m trying to say here – I’m not reading some Panache blog and admiring two-bit street mother*ckers who ain’t done ish on a cartel level and as far as I’m concerned, they are just overhyped dumb criminals in my book. No, show me the cat who build economic power like television studios in Manhattan, casinos in Las Vegas and record labels signing these self-hating Blacks rapping about drug dealing and they proud they push snow to their own Black people like a snow man. F*ck those lightweight ass people some of yall name-dropping as “street legends” in our communities – when we got cats smart enough to setup cartels that create wealth and economics for their people and they know how to exit quietly instead of throwing ignorant lavish parties, yall let me know.

6 thoughts on “How Vending and Arcade Machines Determine the Difference Between Dumb Criminals and Cartels

  1. Ed, it occurs to me like your condoning money laundering as a way to economic development for black people! Am I reading this article correctly?


  2. mmmm….er……I’m hope I am not telling anybody to risk prosecution or evade paying taxes as the result of getting caught would not be good.

    I was just explaining how cartels used to hide their money by investing in certain operations fronted by entreprenuers where they grew those businesses to the point of legitimacy and generational wealth. But Black criminal organizations don’t think like this and their legacy is nothing but jive pimp stories.

    My point was that hopefully some people read this article and learn from proven patterns and practices to be better, yeah that was I was talking about.

  3. LOL. Atleast your upfront about it, I can respect that!

    However; I do feel that the cost of creating wealth through destructive criminal behavior is way too high, even if its “Legitimized” for future generations.

    I don’t think our people should model every behavior/strategy just to make a buck or keep it.

    Just my opinion!!

  4. Reading this article made me sick to my stomach. I know exactly what you are talking about. I saw first hand how stupid those so called corner thugs where when it came to being flashy instead of being smart with the money they made. The next generation is doing the same thing. The kicker is that they are not stupid either. They let their eyes fool them and try to have it all to fast to quick. When its about putting in some work and using their brains and make the right connections. Hopefully these kids will get it together hop on the wave of technology and do the damn thing and build up the next generation.

  5. Great great article! I’m not in the dumb black criminal organization or any illegal organization, but you gotta respect the hustle though. I know people that hustle on the streets for a living and get popped by the cops, because they’re TOO dumb to take that drug money and flip it to something that can create generational wealth. Sadly, these dudes are so concerned about living like a rockstar or some shit without regards to the consequences of that lifestyle. Once again, great article. Love the site.

  6. Ed,

    I’m trying to figure out how I missed this article from 2012. I just happened to see it listed under the Most Popular Articles.

    But everything you said is true. Last month, I was at work and was talking to someone (white guy) who is the “front” for drug laundering. He started out saying he was in a gang but when his daughter was born he decided to get his act together. He started a “party/promotion company” but is still involved with the gang. He told me he goes to the project and launders their money for them. He was telling me how the police were always following him when he left his home, was watching him when he was down there in the project, pulling him over asking why he had all that money on him, etc. He’s a dumb criminal. The Feds probably building a case on his ass.

    I also used to work with a girl whose boyfriend was a dope boy, but I think he might have been a cartel in the making because his mother ran a daycare and the girlfriend worked and raised their children. They broke up and she took $30,000 of his money (without his permission) and went on about her business. She bought a house , and kept working. Her problem came from messing with another dope boy that would beat her ass and last I heard, he drove his car through the front of her house. If you saw her you wouldn’t think that she messed with dope boys or that she got her ass beat. You would just think that she was a baby mama in credit card debt from trying to look cute.

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