I've stumbled upon a very peculiar phrase in a comic I'm currently reading; here's the screenshot.

As can be seen, just before exiting the train some gangsta guy quips "Sixty tray, all day" to a young woman.

What does he mean, exactly?

As far as my poor knowledge of the gangsta slang permits, I suppose that "tray" has something to do with "three" — but then again, what's a "sixty-three"? Is it a quantity of something, or a sexual position, or a widely-known chapter of some penal code? I'm at my wit's end.

Trying to google the phrase in search of context leads me nowhere, for all exact quotes refer to the comic itself.

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    We'd need a lot of context, like the entire graphic novel and the author and all that to really guess what is intended. Maybe the guy talks funny. That said, if '63' is the right interpretation of 'sixty-tray', since they mention 'Clark and Lake', a stop on the Green line on Chicago's L, 63rd is the end street for the Green line going to the south side.I don't know what he means by 'all day'. – Mitch Jun 14 '19 at 22:16
  • @Mitch Later on the characters mention Vice Lords, so I guess you are right about Chicago. As for the comic, it`s «100 bullets», issue #1, page 5. – hidefromkgb Jun 14 '19 at 22:29
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    63rd Street in Chicago used to mark the turf of a gang originally known (to my knowledge) as the Blackstone Rangers, then Black P Stone Nation, El Rukn, etc. Hope that helps. – Robusto Jun 14 '19 at 22:54
  • I had a look at some more of 100 Bullets online, I believe that I understood about two frames in three properly. If you're not familiar with Chicago and its gang dialect I think that most of the novel is going to pass you by. – BoldBen Jun 15 '19 at 6:31
  • Trey (usually spelled that way) is (mainly US urban) slang for 'three'. – Michael Harvey Jun 15 '19 at 7:42

The setting of this comic-book story is Chicago, so three very different readings of the slangy statement "Sixty trey. All day" seem more or less plausible, while a fourth reading seems highly implausible.

Reading 1: "63rd Street. [Someone or something] will be there all day."

Michael Lyman, Gangland: Drug Trafficking by Organized Criminals (1989) [snippet view] has this note about the expression "sixty trey" in a bulleted list that begins, "Black graffiti is read basically the same as hispanic graffiti":

The numbers 1, 2, and 3 are often replaced by the terms ace, duce {sic} and trey (sometimes spelled "tray") respectively. Specifically, 52nd street becomes "five duce," 63rd street becomes "sixty trey," etc.

The usage of "sixty [or six] trey [or tray]" goes back to the 1930s, according to Clarence Major, Juba to Jive: A Dictionary of African-American Slang (1994):

Six-trey n. (1930s–1990s) Sixty-third Street in Chicago; sixty-three. "Trey" is commonly substituted for "three." (DC, BJ, p.79.) Chicago use. S[outhern] C[ity] U[se].

The cryptic abbreviation "DC, BJ" in this entry refers to David Claerbaut, Black Jargon in White America (1972), indicating that the term "six-trey" for 63rd Street appears in that book. I couldn't find a direct quotation from Claerbaut's book, but the following appears in Sam Greenlee, "For Little Prez," in Black World/Negro Digest (August 1973):

The garbage collectors found Little Prez in the alley near Six-trey, OD'd away, layin' there cool and stiff, the tools of his burglar trade beside him and the shit for his fix there, too.

In Greenlee's piece "Six-trey" clearly seems to refer to 63rd Street (the setting is Chicago). But Majors notes that six-trey can refer not just to 63rd Street, but more broadly the number 63.

With regard to the meaning in the comic strip of "Sixty tray. All day," as spoken by a departing passenger on an elevated train, the information in Mitch's comment beneath the posted question seems relevant and useful. The Chicago Transit Authority's system map that Mitch links to indicates that the end of the line for the western extension of the green line on the South Side of Chicago is at Ashland and 63rd (the eastern extension of the green line has a terminus on East 63rd, but the station name appears to be Cottage Grove).

Interestingly, a musician named William E. Lee registered the title "Six Trey and Cottage" for a musical composition at some point from January to June 1958, according to Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 12, Part 5, Number 1: Music (1959).

The Chicago Transit Authority's downtown map shows that Clark/Lake is a transfer point for passenger wishing to switch from the brown, green, pink, or orange elevated rail line or from the blue subway line or from the purple line express to one of the other lines just named.

It follows that the person who says "Sixty tray" may be indicating a rail stop where someone or something will be waiting "all day" for the person he speaks to. There is a bit of a complication, however, in the fact that Ashland/63rd isn't the only rail stop that mentions 63rd Street by name: there is also a stop named simply "63rd" on the red subway line. So "sixty tray" might actually refer to either stop, if it refers to a stop at all. Unfortunately, the person he speak to doesn't ask him to clarify this point, so if she plans to follow up om his quasi-invitation, she may have to guess which stop he has in mind. Good thing she has all day.

Reading 2: "I'm with the Six-Tray Disciples gang. For life.

The suggestion by site participant Jordan Syracuse that "Sixty Tray" was a character name in Weird War Tales by Vertigo is also useful. The Wikipedia entry for Weird War Tales indicates that the original series (from DC Comics) ran for 124 issues, published from 1971 to 1983, and that the revived series (from Vertigo) ran for a total of five issues—four in 1997 and one in 2000. A synopsis on DC Database of "Ares," one of the stories in Weird War Tales volume 2, number 1 (June 1997) identifies "Sixty Tray" not as a person but as a gang that is in conflict with the [Chicago] Vice Lords:

A gangbanger name Tony is newly released from prison for four years for killing a member of the Vice Lord, a rival gang, and is returning to his gang the Sixty Tray. ...


The next day, Tony and the Sixty Tray drives to Twenty Ze's home where they expected to ambush him. However, they themselves are ambushed by the Vice Lords, who has been expecting for their arrival. Tony's gang are killed, and Tony, realizing the hopelessness and reality of his desire of his "mission" force him to run for his life into an alley where he once in his life prayed.

In a post about "Ares" in The Factual Opinion (dated April 14, 2009), the poster offers this remark about "Sixty tray, all day":

Tonally, the story is very similar to later work in both the Flinch anthologies as well as some of the street-level gang drama in various 100 Bullets stories--even some of the dialog shows up again later. "Sixty tray, all day." That's not completely Azzarello's construction--it's straight out of hip-hop and gang lingo--but it's used effectively, and it's the first of many experiences where the guy shows off the thing that he does that many comics writers, particularly the ones who try to do street-level dialog, can't. Effective usage of spoken lingo to describe character. Rare, that.

Multiple sources indicate that one subdivision of the Disciples gang in Chicago is named the Six Tray Disciples, although I have found no detailed information about it. The group evidently originated as an independent gang, presumably located in the vicinity of Sixty-third Street. Here is the mention of it in People v. Higgs (May 15, 1973), involving an appeal to the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Second Division, from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois [the county where Chicago is located]:

The deceased, Joseph King, was shot shortly after midnight on August 16, 1969. His body was found lying on the sidewalk on the west side of Carpenter Street just south of 63rd Street. King was a junior member of the Six-Tray Disciple Gang; defendant was its vice-president and a senior member. Three key prosecution witnesses were also members of the gang.

A slightly earlier reference to "Six Tray" as a neighborhood with gang activity appears in Gerald Suttles, The Social Order of the Slum: Ethnicity and Territory in the Inner City (1968):

To the Mexican boys in the Addams area there are several known gangs that hang out on Eighteenth Street, such as the Athenians and Roughshods. In the minds of the Mexicans these groups may not form a confederation, but certainly they are more likely to favor one another than their fellow nationals in the Addams area. ...

There are many other areas [of gang activity] that some of the residents [of the Addams area] recognize: Bridgeport, Horner, Rockwell, "K" Town, Lawndale, Bucktown, Simon City, Thirty-fifth Street, the Casbah, Six Tray, Tray Nine, Chinatown, and so forth. Like most Chicagoans, however, the majority of them have only heard of these areas, and in actual fact they are of little more concern to Addams area residents than to people in the suburbs. What especially distinguishes Addams area residents is that they must somehow manage to live there despite Eighteenth Street, Jew Town, the Village, and "the guys over on Western." According to Addams area residents, this is very difficult because all the people in these surrounding sections are "against them."

It thus appears that, by the late 1960s, whatever independent Six-Tray gangs may previously have existed on 63rd Street had been consolidated into the Six-Tray Disciple gang. The Wikipedia page for "Outlaw Gangster Disciplines" reports that Six Trey Gangster Disciple Nation has broken away from the main body of Gangster Disciple Nation:

Outlaw Gangster Disciples or "Six Trey" GDN are similar to regular Gangster Disciples however they are a renegade offshoot of the original gang. One representation can be the six pointed star to honor David Barksdale as well as pitchforks pointing upwards. However outlaw and other renegade factions do not always honor traditional Folk Nation symbols. They will often invert or "crack" gang signs commonly associated with them to show that they are at war with another Gangster Disciple set. In Chicago, gang colors are not as significant but in other states they favor black bandanas to distance themselves from Crips and Bloods. Peoples Nation are known to wear Red, Black, Gold and Green clothing. Six Trey has a heavy presence in New York especially in Brooklyn.

Randy Kearse, Street Talk: Da Official Guide to Hip-Hop & Urban Slanguage (2006) notes that "all day" also has its own distinct meaning in prison slang:

[to receive] all day [in prison] phrase (prison sl[ang]) new school 1. a life sentence without the possibility of parole. (var. [to receive] all of it)

I speculate that the sense of "all day" as a life sentence might have evolved in gang use outside prison to signify a lifetime commitment (as to a gang, for example). However, I haven't found any corroboration for that possibility.

If my speculation happens to be accurate, the speaker on the elevated train may be signifying his permanent allegiance to the Six Tray gang.

Reading 3: "63 grams of crack cocaine. Available for sale."

A Google search for "six-trey all day" yields some interesting matches leading to yet another possible interpretation of the quoted language—including this one from Urban Dictionary, posted on May 1, 2010:

six trey [drugs] 63 grams of cocaine [Example of use:] for you playboy 1500 for a six trey!

This reading receives strong (albeit partial) corroboration in an affidavit submitted by Jeffrey Shoenburger, a special agent with the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in United States of America v. Isaiah Hicks et al. (May 2008):

During the Course of this investigation and the court-authorized interceptions described above, monitoring agents and I, as well as other investigators, became aware of certain slang terms and code words being used by the participants in the conversations. The terms were analyzed to their meaning through the content and context of intercepted communications as well as the knowledge and experience of the law enforcement agents involved in the investigation. The following is a list of these terms and their meanings as I have interpreted them in the recorded conversations in this case. Some of the words listed below have additional meanings that are not listed and may be used to mean other things when used by other individuals. The following list is not meant to be all-inclusive of all of the slang terms or code words used by the persons intercepted: ...

j. Halsted: 63 gram quantity of narcotics


r. Trey: 63-gram quantity of narcotics


t. One of you: 63 gram quantity of narcotics

At the very least, this listing of drug terms indicates that 63 grams is a popular portion size for narcotics (specifically, crack cocaine). It is also noteworthy that the case of U.S. v. Hicks arose in Chicago, meaning that "tray" or "six tray" or "sixty tray" in its narcotics-related sense was in use there no later than 2008. The affidavit goes on to cite multiple conversations during which drug buyers or sellers used the term of "trey" or "sixty-trey" for crack cocaine. Here is the instance involving "sixty-trey":

On February 27, 2008, at approximately 11:50 a.m., the U/C placed a telephone call to COREY WILLIAMS and told him that he wanted to purchase 63 grams of crack cocaine. ... At approximately 12:11 p.m. that same day, HICKS, who was using Target Phone 1, placed a call to WILLIAMS (call # 15248), during which WILLIAMS informed HICKS that he (WILLIAMS) needed a "sixty-trey" [63-gram quantity of crack cocaine] the next day.

The reading in this case is that the speaker on the el train is simply saying that he is holding (and perhaps offering for sale) 63 grams of cocaine or some other narcotic. The expression "all day" might just mean "available if you want it."

Reading 4: "I have a 1963 Chevrolet Impala Lowrider. All day."

In lowrider circles, "six trey [or tray]" is often used to refer to a customized 1963 Chevrolet Impala, as cited in this entry at Slang Define:

Six Trey 1. means a 1963 chevy impala. One of the most common cars used for lowriders. [Example of use:] "I'm lowridin homey, six trey Impala / Gold D's spinnin, chrome hydraulics" ("Westside Story," The Game)

The Game is a rapper from Los Angeles. According to the relevant Wikipedia article, "Westside Story" was released in September 2004.

This sense of "six trey" shows up in various rap songs, including Eminem's "Crack a Bottle":

They see that low rider go by they're, like "Oh my" / You ain't got to tell me why you're sick 'cause I know why / I dip through in that six trey like sick 'em Dre / I'm an itch that they can't scratch, they sick of me / But hey, what else can I say? I love L.A.

"Dre" is Dr. Dre, a member of the rap group N.W.A., which featured the 1963 Impala of fellow rapper Eazy-E in multiple videos and became strongly associated with what a reviewer at Resonance Journal writing in 2004 calls "the 'G-ride' narrative of so many NWA-era recordings."

Having noted the lowrider connotation of "six [or sixty] trey," I think we can safely discard this possible sense of the term from the context of the comic set in Chicago. First, the lowrider meaning is most strongly linked to Los Angeles, not Chicago. Second, why would a guy riding on public transportation take the opportunity to brag about his tricked-out 1963 Chevrolet Impala? It just doesn't make sense in context.


I don't know which (if any) of the four readings I've outlined in this answer is the correct one, but I would order them by plausibility, from most likely to least likely as follows: Reading 2 (gang proclamation), Reading 3 (crack cocaine offer), Reading 1 (train stop tip), Reading 4 (lowrider car brag).

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Sixty Tray was a character from a Weird War Tales by Vertigo (I think #11) which featured the same character. It was a bit of an Easter egg, in WWT “Sixty Tray, all day” was the character’s catch phrase.

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