ThugLifeCover430In 1992, at a cease fire agreement and gang ‘Truce Barbecue’ in Watts, California, Tupac Amaru Shakur was instrumental in getting rival members of the Crips and Bloods to sign a code of ethics, that which is called The Code of Thug Life. He and Dr. Mutulu Shakur had helped write up The ‘Code,’ with other ‘O.G’s’ who came together to bring order to the violence on the street.


Someone must dare put the street life back on track, because it is clear to anybody that can see – that the hustling game has gone stark raving mad.

The short and long range result, will not only be detrimental to the street game, but more importantly, the combination of the self destruction & turf warfare, coupled with the government’s police terrorism, fascist laws designed to capture and keep our Black men and women in prison for the rest of their lives, leaves a defenseless Black community – which will result in our genocide.

For as long as the street game / hustle has existed in our community, which is the result of many factors (and will only be resolved through our liberation), it has been viewed as a necessary tolerance between the legal and illegal economy and culture.

The underground economy has, in many areas, been supportive of the uplifting of the Black community. Although, for a fact, it has been the downfall of individuals, the dynamics of struggle between the do-gooders and the thugs has kept a consistent battle for balance in The Black Community which at least was under our control.

The rules of engagement of the hustle was a code of the thug life. This code was the A, B, C’s of how the street game should and would be played. These rules allowed for money to be made by the crews in the different fields of the game, and determined how disputes between and among the players should be handled.

It also allowed the people who were not in the game to pressure the enemy of our people, and allowed the people who would work in the interest of our people (education, health, housing, legal, etc.) to feel that the effort was worth it.

The game today, as it exists, is a complete violation of the code. Historically, the street hustler was hip to the enemy and would never work in the government’s interest to destroy their own people.

The thug life is a tool of the enemy as it exists today; it must change. The interests of outside forces are being served by the hustlers, because the crew has no dignity or honor – and this must be corrected. A council must be called to put a code to the thug life.

We accept that the game will go on until our liberation. What we won’t accept is that the game will destroy us from within before we get another chance to rumble and rebuild. We will not allow ourselves to be played by the covert operations, COINTELPRO, and low intensity warfare waged by the United States government.

A code must be established. As we look at the West coast, the majority of the life is controlled by gangs (Latin/Chican and of the Black community as well). The gangs are the force behind the underground economy in our hoods.

In the mid-East, the common denominator there is also the gangs, which are responsible for the street life. Politically, culturally, and economically, these forces attempt to put the game back on track and work in the interests of the community and to resist the strategy of the government. They have begun setting down a platform for the street game in full effect – we praise this effort.

The code of the thug life must become a part of East coast street life as well. There must be a common denominator.

The original gangsters behind the walls of the dungeon will take some responsibility to putting force to the council and the code.

We must act now. The Code of the Thug Life will save us to fight another day. If we don’t, then we will lose…

While other forces attempt to bring peace and unity to the gangs and crews of the street life…Although we re down with that, and shout out to those attempts, we have always tried to be real with the people. Some folks may oppose what we say and do.

What we’re putting out here is a code to the true dwellers in the thug life. We don’t see this as an end of the game, or the street game as a real end. What we need is liberation. But what we do see if the bringing of some honor to being true to the life – and being real to our family which is a giant step to being down with the true thug life.

Code of THUG LIFE:

  1. All new Jacks to the game must know: a) He’s going to get rich. b) He’s going to jail. c) He’s going to die.
  2. Crew Leaders: You are responsible for legal/financial payment commitments to crew members; your word must be your bond.
  3. One crew’s rat is every crew’s rat. Rats are now like a disease; sooner or later we all get it; and they should too.
  4. Crew leader and posse should select a diplomat, and should work ways to settle disputes. In unity, there is strength!
  5. Car jacking in our Hood is against the Code.
  6. Slinging to children is against the Code.
  7. Having children slinging is against the Code.
  8. No slinging in schools.
  9. Since the rat Nicky Barnes opened his mouth; ratting has become accepted by some. We’re not having it.
  10. Snitches is outta here.
  11. The Boys in Blue don’t run nothing; we do. Control the hood, and make it safe for squares.
  12. No slinging to pregnant Sisters. That’s baby killing; that’s genocide!
  13. Know your target, who’s the real enemy.
  14. Civilians are not a target and should be spared.
  15. Harm to children will not be forgiven.
  16. Attacking someone’s home where their family is known to reside, must be altered or checked.
  17. Senseless brutality and rape must stop.
  18. Our old folks must not be abused.
  19. Respect our Sisters. Respect our Brothers.
  20. Sisters in the Life must be respected if they respect themselves.
  21. Military disputes concerning business areas within the community must be handled professionally and not on the block.
  22. No shooting at parties.
  23. Concerts and parties are neutral territories; no shooting!
  24. Know the Code; it’s for everyone.
  25. Be a real ruff neck. Be down with the code of the Thug Life.
  26. Protect yourself at all times.

“I didn’t create T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E., I diagnosed it.”

– Tupac Shakur

35 thoughts on “Code of THUG LIFE

    1. Sanyika Shakur

      Rev. Greetings! i remember Comrad-Brother Mutulu had the Thug Life Code sent to me while i was in Pelican Bay SHU in 1994. i endorsed it and swore my allegience to its morals and ethics. i had pretty much lived it any way, but it was good to see the Comrad take the initiative to frame it and dissiminate it to the Street Forces. i sent a copy to Tookie on death row, and it is evident in his Blue Rage Black Redemption, in his calls for peace and unity that he read and agreed with it. i Love, Honor and Respect this Brother Mutulu. It is because of him that iam, today, a Shakur. Free The Land!

  1. Grandpa

    If all the thugs on the streets would follow the code we would be more peaceful this code can help us to make a better place on the streets.

    1. JD

      Codes are codes people these days don’t use these codes anymore. The world would be better if they did.

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  3. Refiloe Letsie

    Let the hard work of great men continue to change the world to a better place…”We will not be defeated”:-Refiloe Letsie monna wa Mosotho Maseru Lesotho..

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  5. JD

    Everyone must carry the torch in order to preserve life, if we don’t stand for something,we will fall for anything, we will not let these falling comrades life go in vein,it is a must to get our communities back on the right track.

  6. Usman

    Love you guys. I ride for Matu Like I ride for Geronimo! Down to die for everything I represent, meant every word in my letter to the President

  7. Cozyb

    THUG LIFE is a positive step for returning life to it’s original purpose. The problem is the new thugs think of it as following another mans rules and they are not with it. I think the word UNITY needs to be taught to these lacking true understanding so there ignorance is not passed on thus causing the continued lack of ethics in the street life. I’m down cause I know and understand the start of why it is and must be.

  8. Adela

    Look I’m trying to start a movement in Dodge City things need to change in society because there is no community people are selfish got any advice on what I can do??

  9. John Randall Kenya

    Respect and alot of love for Tupac Shakur who was a year old brother to me enlighten my live and perspective. Living in London UK struggling and in hard times had me brake down and gain strength to keep my hhead up and handle it.

  10. angasu areri

    The thug life code concept is realy what every gang member and street hustler must know and follow.
    i think most of this codes seems repetitive (code number 22 and 23 etc). they should have to revise it.

  11. Brian Monayong

    Assimilating the thoughts of everlasting circumstances elevates the ambitious patterns of one’s excessive desires and illuminates the thought patterns of the most important factor in the everlasting essence of life.

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  15. Russell

    If all governments followed the Code of THUG LIFE, the world would be a more peaceful and happier place to live. It would be a lot safer for generations to come. But instead our so called leaders have chosen to follow the dictates of capitalism

  16. Peggy Blake

    Tupac Shakur music inspired me It describes the ghetto life and struggle I really wish it was another rather than Tupac Shakur Today it still hurts how his life was taken senseless “R.I.P” “My Nigga” never ignorant always accomplishing goals I admire that code and the meaning of Niggas ✌

  17. NoType210

    I think we need this code spread around the U.S. it’ll really help everyone in the streets struggling. I wanna see my community and everybody else’s community keep the peace, imagine if we applied these codes/morals to ours communities. We gotta do something.


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