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What are some examples of gangsta tattoos?

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Quick Answer

A razor blade enveloped in a leafy vine, dangling bullets hanging with leaves and a gun with vines wrapped around it are some examples of gangsta tattoos. Other examples include names of people tattooed on the back of the neck or a motto tattooed on the chest.

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Full Answer

Gangsta tattoos are categorically different from gang and prison tattoos. Gang tattoos use numbers and symbols to speak a certain code and communicate information within and between gangs. Some gang tattoos indicate the tattoo-bearer's gang affiliation. One of the Japanese Yakuza's tattoos is a set of black rings around the arm, and each ring indicates a major crime committed by the bearer.

Prison tattoos are when inmates receive a tattoo during a period of incarceration, and they also speak secret languages that reveal something about the bearer. Some Russian prison tattoos include a cat, birds, skulls and barbed wire. A cat tattoo indicates that the bearer is a thief. A tattoo of birds communicates that the inmate was born free and wants to live free. Skull tattoos symbolize murder, and barbed wires show the number of years the bearer has been imprisoned.

Gangsta tattoos typically do not communicate any gang language and have no bearing within the context of gangs or any criminal culture. They are popularized by rappers and are often black and gray, sometimes with letters or numbers written in an old English or Gothic script.

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