Inner-city struggle has more to do with Miami hip-hop than South Beach glitz, rappers say

Documentary is a window to a side of Miami where racial divide, poverty, music, cathartic poetry, marijuana and high-powered rifles mix

Headline Goes Here World Star Hip Hop's The Field, Miami

MIAMI - Maurice Young was born and raised in Miami's Liberty City -- a poverty-stricken and segregated neighborhood -- known for its violent streets.

Young, 40, is better known as rapper Trick Daddy. He has worked with recording artists Pitbull, Young Jeezy and Cee Lo Green. He moved to Broward's Miramar, but he can't part ways with a way of life that involves cocaine and guns. He is best known for his hit "I'm a Thug."

His rap sheet: In 1991, he was convicted of cocaine possession, carrying a concealed weapon and violating his probation. About 12 years later, he plead guilty to cocaine and weapons charges. Earlier this year, he faced possession of cocaine, possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. He was driving with a suspended license.

"You haven't been to Miami. You've been to South Beach," Young said. "They don't like Miami n--gas on South Beach. Miami is Coconut Grove, Liberty City, Opa-locka, Carol City (Miami Gardens), Wynwood, Hialeah, North Miami Beach, Richmond Heights, South Miami, Goulds, Perrine, Cutler Ridge, Naranja, Homestead, Florida City -- that's Miami."

That was Young's opening statement for The Field: Miami. The documentary is a profile of the hip hop scene through the eyes of local artists, World Star Hip Hop's website said. They reported Monday that 12.7 million users had viewed it since it was released Aug. 18 on the site and on MTV Aug. 19.

Along with the music and amid a barrage of expletives, there were also images of high-power rifles, marijuana, scantily clad women dancing and tales about friends, who were gunned down. The documentary used a painful chapter of Miami history -- The Arthur McDuffie riots in 1980 -- to explain the city's racial divide.

The director summarized it in a paragraph: "In 1979, four Miami police officers beat a black businessman, Arthur McDuffie, to death following a high speed chase. The officers involved were acquitted by an all-white jury. Three days of rioting ensued in Overtown. Eighteen people were killed."

Young was a boy. He said he remembers "a man had a lady's head on a stick." Luther Campbell, 53,  better known as Uncle Luke, was a teen when it happened. He said he remembers how the violence affected the school system. 

"I remember everything burning and everything on fire," Young said.

The stories were told from a male perspective. Female rappers are a minority in Miami. The Miami rappers featured were YD and Skeezy, Busta Free and Young Quay, Denzel Curry and N3ll. They took the filmmaker to Liberty City, Overtown, Opa-locka, North Miami, Little Haiti and Carol City, also known as Miami Gardens.

The Zoe Pound  Haitian pride made an appearance in front of the Honor Roll Music recording studio. And Campbell talked about Little Haiti's Yung Gordon's Bobble Walk. He said that in Miami, strip clubs -- and not Miami Beach night clubs -- are the only ones playing it.

South Beach "ain't us," Campbell said.


ON THE WEB: Click here to watch the documentary

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