What’s Up with Gang Signs Houston, Ya’ll?

What’s Up with Gang Signs Houston, Ya’ll?

Welcome to the city where the cowboys roam, and the gang signs are thrown. Houston, Texas is home to some of the most recognizable gang signs worldwide. An outsider might assume that all of us Texans are walking around flashing gang signs, but the truth is that most of us don’t know what they mean. Nonetheless, they are a part of the city’s culture and history, and we can’t help but be fascinated by them.

In this article, we aim to give you an insight into the world of Houston’s gang signs. We will discuss its origin, types, and meaning. We’ll also tackle some misconceptions about them, and of course, we’ll do it all in a funny tone.

So, whether you’re an out-of-towner, a curious cat, or a born and bred Houstonian, join us as we explore the fascinating world of Houston’s gang signs.

A Brief History of Gang Signs

The term “gang sign” refers to a hand gesture or symbol that represents a particular gang or its message. They are often used by gangs to display their affiliation, intimidate rivals or non-members, and communicate messages at a distance.

Gang signs can be traced back to the early 20th century when street gangs first emerged in big cities. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s and 1990s when they became popularized through rap videos and media, that they became a part of mainstream culture.

Today, gang signs are prevalent in urban areas worldwide, with each city or region having its unique forms and styles.

Types and Meaning of Houston’s Gang Signs

There are several gang signs used in Houston, with each sign representing a different gang or message. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Clutch City Sign

The clutch city sign is probably the most popular hand sign in Houston. It consists of making a fist and then extending the thumb and the pinky finger. This gesture represents the city’s resilience during tough times and is often used by Houstonians to show pride in their city.

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The H-Town Sign

The H-town sign is the second most popular hand sign in Houston. It involves making a fist and then extending the index and middle finger, forming an “H” shape. This sign represents the city’s nickname, as well as its tight-knit community.

The “Slab” Sign

The “Slab” sign refers to a hand gesture used by car enthusiasts in Houston. It involves forming the letter “Y” with the hands, representing the spokes on cars known as “slabs” that are a part of Houston’s car culture.

Gang-Specific Signs

There are also several gang-specific signs used in Houston, such as the “Screwed Up Click” (S.U.C.) sign, representing one of Houston’s most influential rap groups. The S.U.C. sign is formed by crossing the thumb and index finger to make an “S” shape. Another example is the “69” sign used by the “59 Piru” gang, associated with the Bloods.

Misconceptions About Gang Signs

There are several misconceptions about gang signs that are commonly believed, but actually, aren’t true. Here are some of them:

All Hand Gestures are Gang Signs

Just because someone is making a hand gesture, it doesn’t mean that they’re in a gang. Many hand gestures are used for non-gang-related reasons, such as communicating with sign language.

All Gang-Related Hand Gestures are Dangerous

While many gang-related gestures are used for threatening or intimidating purposes, not all of them pose a danger to others. Many are simply used as a way of displaying affiliation or recognition to fellow gang members.

Gang Signs are Only Used by Criminals

Lastly, it is worth noting that not all people who use gang signs are involved in criminal activities. Many gang members use them as a way of showing their affiliation, but don’t engage in any illegal activities.

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How to Spot a Gang Sign

If you’re from Houston, you’ve probably seen people using gang signs on the street or in photos. However, it’s essential to remember that not everyone who uses a hand gesture is a gang member. Here are a few things to look for when trying to spot a gang sign:

  • The gesture is made deliberately and repetitively.
  • It is used to communicate or signal to others, especially in a group setting.
  • The person using the gesture is affiliated with a gang or is known to associate with gang members.
  • The gesture is used in the context of some other gang-related activity or behavior.

Famous Faces That Have Thrown Houston’s Gang Signs

Houston has a rich history of gang culture, and it’s no surprise that some of its most influential figures have been affiliated with gangs at some point in their lives. Here are some of the most famous faces that have thrown Houston’s gang signs:

  • DJ Screw – the late rapper and producer of the S.U.C. was known for his affiliation with the gang and its associated hand gesture.
  • Trae Tha Truth – Houston’s own Trae Tha Truth is known for his affiliation with the Bloods, and he’s often seen throwing up the “69” hand gesture.
  • Scarface – the legendary rapper and member of the Ghetto Boys has been known to throw Houston’s clutch city sign and H-town sign in his music videos and performances.

The Future of Houston’s Gang Signs

Gang signs have been a part of Houston’s culture for decades, and it’s unlikely that they’ll disappear anytime soon. Although they may carry negative connotations, they are also a part of the city’s rich history and heritage.

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As the city continues to grow and evolve, its gang signs will undoubtedly change too, reflecting the cultural and social shifts of its people.


Houston’s gang signs are undoubtedly an intriguing and complex part of the city’s culture. They illustrate the diversity and richness of Houston, while also posing questions about the city’s socio-economic issues.

While it’s essential to acknowledge that gang signs are often associated with criminal activity and violence, it’s also important to recognize their historical and cultural value. They are an aspect of Houston’s identity, and they embody the city’s unique spirit.

So, when you see someone on the street flashing a hand gesture, remember that there’s more to it than meets the eye. After all, as the old saying goes, everything’s bigger in Texas, including the gang signs!

Helpful Table

Type of Gang Sign Description Message
Clutch City Sign Fist with thumb and pinky extended Resilience During Tough Times
H-Town Sign Fist with index and middle finger extended Nickname and Community
“Slab” Sign “Y” Gesture Formed with Hands Car Enthusiasts
“Screwed Up Click” Sign Crossed Thumb and Index Finger to Form an “S” Rap Group
“69” Sign Depiction of “6” and “9” Hand Gestures Gang Affiliation


  1. “What are Gang Signs?” Gang Prevention Services. https://www.knowgangs.com/gangs-signs
  2. “Houston Hip-Hop History: The Screwed Up Click.” The Houston Chronicle. https://www.chron.com/culture/music/article/Houston-Hip-Hop-History-The-Screwed-Up-Click-14082531.php
  3. “Scarface Tells The Stories Behind His Most Ghettofabulous Videos.” Complex. https://www.complex.com/music/2013/03/scarface-tells-the-stories-behind-his-most-ghettofabulous-videos/
  4. “Exploring Houston’s Gang Culture.” Houston Public Media. https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/shows/perspectives/2015/02/10/211948/exploring-houstons-gang-culture/