Multi-platinum recording artist Kid Rock was known to pal around with a notorious Detroit mobster and once dealt drugs for the city’s most dangerous urban narcotics syndicate according to sources. Kid Rock, a proud native Detroiter born Robert Ritchie, has sold $25,000,000 albums and will be opening the city’s sparkling new Little Caesars Arena next week with a string of six concerts. The decision to have him kickoff the event-slate at the much-anticipated debut of the state-of-the-art downtown arena has recently come under fire by local liberal advocacy groups and media pundits for the rap-rocker/country singer’s outspoken conservative political views and one-time use of the Confederate Flag at his shows.

As a teenager and aspiring white rapper in the 1980s, Kid Rock slang crack cocaine for the murderous Best Friends Gang out of Mount Clemens, one of the many cities outside of Detroit the gang expanded into in its coke boom heyday. In interviews throughout his music career, he’s admitted to dabbling in narcotics trafficking in his youth.

Once he was on the ascent as a popular performer in the 1990s and early 2000s, Kid Rock is alleged to have befriended imposing Detroit mob figure Michael (Greektown Mike) Katranis, a powerful associate of the area’s Zerilli-Tocco crime family. Katranis died of natural causes in the summer of 2015 at 76 years old. His last run-in with the law was a weapons charge.

“Bob (Kid Rock) would always be at Mike’s birthday bashes, he would even get on stage and do some songs,” one exclusive Gangster Report source recalled. “Mike helped him out when he was on the come-up again in the local club scene, clearing the way for a few bookings here or there after he got booted from his first label. Bob never forgot that.”

Mike Katranis

Kid Rock was signed straight out of high school by Jive Records in 1989 and went on tour with rap legends Ice Cube and Too Short. Jive Records dropped him as an act in 1991, paving the way for him to reinvent himself, first by helping pioneer the rap-rock movement later in the decade and then transitioning into the country music genre. The 46-year old currently lives between Alabama, Nashville and Detroit.

The Best Friends Gang was founded in the mid-1980s by the four Brown brothers (Terrance aka “Boogaloo,” Reggie aka “Rocking Reg,” Gregory aka “Ghost,” and Ezra aka “Wizard) and got its start as a murder-for-hire operation for Eastside Detroit drug lords prior to becoming drug lords themselves. The FBI places the gang’s body count at well over 100 in less than a 10-year span.

At first, the Brown brothers and their brutish band of bloodthirsty lieutenants called themselves “The Ghoolies.” Some time in 1985, they rebranded the gang the Best Friends, printing up hats, shirts, jackets and car decals featuring their catchy, newly-coined moniker.

By the late 1980s, the Best Friends had branched off into Metro Detroit suburbs like Mount Clemens, Pontiac and Troy, up into smoggy factory town Flint and out to Westside Michigan locales such as Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. While he peddled the Best Friends drugs in Mount Clemens, a gritty, working-class town that rests less than 30 miles north of Detroit city limits and serves as the Macomb County Seat, Kid Rock was a member of an area hip-hop group known as the Beast Crew.

Boogaloo, Ghost and Wizard Brown were all slain gangland style. Ghost and Wizard Brown were both killed in the same week in 1986. More than a dozen Best Friends were indicted in a massive drug, murder and racketeering case in 1991 with Rocking Reggie Brown being convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

“Boogaloo” Brown (far left) & “Rocking Reggie” Brown (far right)

Spawning from Greek heritage, Mike Katranis was a feared enforcer and collector for Detroit’s Italian mafia. His father, Petros (Pete the Greek) Katranis, was the boss of the crime family’s former wing of Greek wiseguys, stationed in Greektown, which has traditionally been downtown Detroit’s primary entertainment district dating back to the 1940s. Gregory (Little Pete) Katranis, his brother, was brutally killed — beaten to death and stuffed in the trunk of his Fleetwood Cadillac — in December 1972 for skimming extortion cash, freelancing in loan sharking and drug rackets and getting into a fist fight in a Greektown tavern with a popular Italian mobster.

The Katranis family answered to the Detroit mafia’s Vitale and Giacalone crews. The Vitale brothers (Paul aka “The Pope” & Peter aka “Bozzy”) headquartered their activities at their Grecian Gardens restaurant in the heart of Greektown. Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone was the Zerilli-Tocco clan’s street boss for over 40 years. Giacalone died of kidney failure in 2001, while the Vitales passed away peacefully in 1988 and 1998 respectively.