Hip Hop fans and natives to Queens New York know who the legendary Pappy Mason is. He isn’t Italian, he isn’t Cuban and he’s not a creature of myth. While his reality these days is that of a poop slinging, 24hr lockdown lunatic serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole, Pappy Mason was one of the most dangerous gangsters to have ever held the streets of New York.
The legend that is Pappy Mason is that of an enforcer and muscle who studied the doctrines (a whole lot of Scarface and The Godfather reruns), hated cops with a passion and never broke omerta. He was a crime boss’s wet dream because of his loyalty and he served his boss Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols with Samurai loyalty. Pappy Mason was successful for one single solitary reason, he was respected out of fear. His volatile nature and bull-like aggression made it easy for him to commit murder when he deemed it necessary and this included the very police officers that he hated.
Pappy was said to have shot druggies if they made any remarks about his bosses product. He was the Al Capone to Fat Cat’s Johnny Torrio, the Sammy Gravano to Cat’s Gotti – well before Gravano betrayed him, you get what I am saying, he was the Black Hand bodyguard to a crack king. Due to Pappy’s ruthlessness Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols had a life of luxury, endless riches and invincibility. Looking at the Cat wrong would get you killed by Pappy and for this his boss rewarded him with his own corner. This led to Pappy forming his own sub-gang known as the Bebos.
Howard “Pappy” Mason was a country boy born in Alabama and moved to Brooklyn, Crown Heights as a child. As a teen he couldn’t stay out of Juvenile Detention Centers like Warwick and Spofford as he would assault his rivals, cuss out cops and stay in fights. One of his stunts was an attempted murder charge which landed him a 5 year stint in Spofford where he met another scrapper who would be his future boss: Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols. The two became tight and when Lorenzo got out he helped Pappy land on his feet when he was released some years later and relocated to Queens. When Pappy was sprung free and found Lorenzo, his friend was a big-time drug dealer on the street and he immediately hired Pappy as his enforcer.
“Pappy was the dude crazy dudes would think twice about trying. With his no-nonsense attitude he was vicious. And don’t get if fucked up, Pappy was fiercely loyal to Cat.” – GorillaConvict.com
Whenever you would hear Pappy’s name it would have the word crazy in the sentence. He was a murdering bulldog with no love for authority, rivals or anyone that crossed his path. When he formed the Bebos and became a boss himself, they idolized their leader who had taken to becoming a born-again Jamaican – sporting long dreads, speaking patois and practicing Rastafarianism. This army of dreads would swarm on their victims leaving them slain execution style or brutalized as to not have any repeat offenders. People feared the Bebos as crazed killers and Pappy reined them in like a warlord.
Ultimately Pappy Mason’s downfall came from his hate of cops. Unlike gangsters with a high self-worth and preservation, Pappy saw red when it came to the police and he was fingered by a rat for having set-up and executed a police officer with the help of his Bebos. This conviction got him up on murder charges and facing life imprisonment but the fear of retaliation caused the rat to clam up and stop talking. For this the prosecution had to use a taped recording of the confession and it made for a hung jury instead. Free and bitter, Pappy took to the streets to resume business when some time later a popular cop in the neighborhood got on his case for drinking a beer outside of a paper bag.
“Do you know who I am? Fuck You!”
Pappy would not have a cop talk down to a grand wolf like himself so he allegedly put a hit out on the officer, leading to a mistake in identity and an innocent rookie being shot several times in the head. The bottom fell out fast for Pap following this as he was quickly fingered for being the organizer and all of his so-called friends began to sing for lighter sentences. One of these friends was allegedly the man he loved more than anybody else, his boss Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols. The testimonies caught up to Pappy and he was given a life sentence.
The name Pappy Mason lives on in the streets and the sound that is Hip Hop today, rappers Nas, 50-Cent, Jay-Z and other former hustlers turned rappers have mentioned him in their street ballads. Sure he was a murderous lunatic to those on the outside but he is more respected for keeping the code of the streets and staying loyal to the end. It’s said that he is now one of the biggest problem inmates in his prison and having to be kept on lockdown 24/7. Men that have spent time with him describe him as having gone full on bugsy (crazed). Every gangland legend seems to have the same end to their story and Mason is no different, still as an example of a badass gangster you get no better than Pappy Mason.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.