On Starting City Of Ink

"Tuki and I had been thinking about opening a shop -a lot of people didn’t know Tuki was homeless at the time. This was the era when BMF took over Atlanta – the black mafia family – and they loved Tuki. He was untouchable. He was the only one allowed to touch Big Meech. He would get a call from Meech like 'yo, come over here, I need BMF on my neck.'

"When BMF went down, suddenly everyone was broke. I had like 300 bucks. We found this abandoned building, it had nothing it in just a ceiling. The dude that owned it was like 'you can have it as is.' So I used my last 300 bucks got an Airtran ticket. I came to New York first. I made about $5000 in 4 days. Then I went from there to Waldorf, Maryland, then Baltimore, DC, and Philadelphia  and in four months ended up raising 30,000 dollars we got the building.

"We didn’t have any floor plan for city ink – we didn’t know what we were going to do. We didn’t have any money. We had Home Depot books, we read them and closed the windows up because we didn’t have any permits and we started. We built some steps and a deck. We read plumbing and built a toilet. It took close to a year to build everything.

"Tuki instituted a dress code – no Air Force ones, no white tees - we broke the stereotypes of what it was assumed we would wear. Tuki is really into fashion, so he set the standard. Corey Davis was there in the beginning, but still was an apprentice at the time and he was in charge of putting art shows together. We wanted to show work people could afford. We wanted to introduce college kids to the buying original paintings, because we thought if they started buying original paintings in college then by the time they are out of school they'd want more and want tattoos too… we we were building long term clientele.

"Tuki created the image with the fashion. Corey was the face to the new generation. I was the glue in the middle that put everything together, like the common denominator bringing everyone together and it just worked out perfectly.

"It never slowed down. That was 6 years ago."