Throughout time, groups of people have gotten together to do things that are frowned upon. Mob is loosely defined as a group of disorderly people. When talking about crime, the mob is more general way of describing organized crime. At one point in time, there were mobs for different countries including the Irish mob, Jewish mob, Russian mob and so on. Many people think the Mafia and mob are the same thing. They seem to be interchangeable but technically, the Mafia was a specific group of Sicilian gangsters. The Gambino family, Luchese family and Columbo family were the definition of Mafia, these other groups can be described as mob. Mobs were also different in that they had different ethnicities within.
Now that you get the difference, we can talk about the mob tattoo. In this case, we are going to talk about it as the different tattoos different mob groups had tattooed on their bodies. There are some tattoos that just say “mob” and there are many definitions relating to hip hop culture that apply to that term but in this case, we’ll stick to organized crime groups.
We are going to talk about the meaning of the mob tattoo as well as different groups of people that had mob tattoos. We will talk about these specific groups and determine if there were any specific tattoos that these groups used in their crime families. By the end of this post, we hope you have a better understanding of the mob tattoo and what it means to those people that chose that way of life.
What is the Mob
We touched on it above, but the mob is often associated with the Mafia when technically, that’s probably not the case. Mobs tend to be groups of people that work together for a cause that is usually involved in crime. However, the Mafia was a specific race with no outsider groups involved. Mobs usually take people from many ethnicities. The first group to use this term in the description of their crime group was the Irish Mob.
Mob Tattoo Meaning
The mob tattoo meaning is really going to depend on the tattoo and what group of people are using it. There are many acronyms of MOB that are used in tattoos which can mean a variety of things from “Money Organization and Business” as the late rapper Tupac Shakur said in an interview some people getting the tattoo to say “Money Over Bitches”.
However, in the way we are talking about, these tattoos are usually a sign of rank, loyalty and codes for things these men have done to earn their stripes in the group.
Mob Tattoo Variations
There are too many variations of the mob tattoo to count. Depending on your specific group is going to tell you a lot about the tattoo that has been inked.
Russian Mob Tattoos
The Russian mob or Russian Mafia is sometimes also referred to as Bratva. They are a group of different crime elements who originated in the former Soviet Union.
During the period of the Tsars, organized crime in Russia began to gain footing. However, it was around the Soviet era when vory v zakone (thieves in law) started becoming leaders in the Soviet prison camps and started refining their honor code. Post Joseph Stalin and the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian gangs and mobs were controlling almost two thirds of the economy.
This shows you the power of this group and many of it’s members spent time in prison as well. This is where many of the tattoos come into play. When a member tattoos eyes on their chest or above the waist, it could be a sign of being an enforcer.
Epaulets tattoos on the shoulder are also a common mob and prison tattoo for Russians. This would represent position, rank and experience. Adding stars to this tattoo is a sign of respect.
Irish Mob Tattoos
In the United States, there isn’t an older organized crime group than the Irish Mob. They were depicted in the 1928 book, The Gangs of New York. Along with being present in most of the major cities in the U.S., they also had a strong presence in Ireland. However, they have only been around in Ireland since the 60’s.
For Irish mob members, there are many Irish tattoos that hold a lot of meaning. Many of these tattoos are Irish symbols and not necessarily designated for only Irish Mob members. The four leaf clover is often incorporated into many of their tattoos. In addition, you will see a lot of Celtic crosses on Irish Mob members.
Japanese Mob Tattoos
The Japanese mob is better known as the Yakuza. The organized crime syndicate that originated in Japan is well known for having a strict honor code and fiefdom nature. Members of the Yakuza are known to have their entire bodies tattooed in Irezumi tattooing. However, every piece of skin that is exposed is not touched by a tattoo.
Italian Mob Tattoos
The Italian mob, or better known as the Sicilian Mafia is also just known as the Mafia. Members of this group label themselves “men of honour”. Members of the Mafia are known to be involved in arbitration of disputes between criminals, protection racketeering and oversight and organizing of illegal transactions and agreements.
As far as tattooing for the Mafia, most of their tattoos revolve around Italian pride. You may see a tattoo of the country of Italy on their body or even saying something like “Sicilian Pride” on their body. You might even see some reference to one of the best movies of all time The Godfather.
Many of the tattoos that you will see on members of these mobs will have a connection to the organization’s origins. You are going to see Irish mob members with tattoos that represent Ireland, Yakuza with Japanese tattoos, Russian mob members with tattoos that are relevant to their homeland and so on.
We suggest not messing around with getting any tattoo with any affiliation like this unless you are part of one of these groups. If you are part of one these groups, forget I said anything at all.