Deeno, John Lewis the Fifth Rep West Kendall: "Just Like the Inner City, Drugs and Violence"
"West of the City."
You've got to strive to survive on Kendall Drive just to stay alive.
More people live in the massive area known as Kendall than anywhere else in Miami-Dade County. And since the founding of Crazy Hood Productions over 20 years ago, it has been a home for real hip-hop.
Now two young artists, Deeno and John Lewis the Fifth, are keeping that rich tradition alive with their own sound and a new music video for the song "West of the City." Here's what the guys had to say about repping West Kendall, being Dominicans, the talent in their sector, and legalizing marijuana.
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Crossfade: Wasup, how'd you guys start making music together?
John Lewis the Fifth: Actually, he's a friend of my sister. But we met a couple of years back through the love of graffiti. We're into the arts. We didn't even do music at the time. We just liked arts, graffiti, and hip-hop.
Deeno: His sister told me about her little brother, about what he was into. I went to the house and we kicked it and that's what started the bond. We been making music together as a team, but we're each independent artists. We have several tracks together, but haven't set a group in stone, but we're just always working together.
What inspired the song "West of the City"?
Deeno: We heard the beat and we really liked it. We was just kickin' it, burning. And after that, we were like, "Let's rep West Kendall," there's nobody really doing it and we felt the need to keep it real.
John Lewis: We trying to bring real hip-hop out of South Florida. Usually all you hear about from here is trap or house, but we got the idea like, "We grew up here in West Kendall," so we're bringing a new culture to West Kendall, something unheard of, so people feel they are a part of something.
How'd you get your names?
John Lewis: My name is Juan Luis Vasquez. I took the Roman numeral 5, which is Juan Luis V, and made it into John Lewis the Fifth.
Deeno: My real name is Angeridno, which no one can say or remember, so people call me Deeno, and I just ran with that. It's been working so far.
There's a lot of Dominican references in the video.
John Lewis: We're both Dominican. And we've been heavily influenced by Dominican music, growing up with our parents. We rep our culture through our music. That's how we incorporate it. Anytime any culture see they flag, they get excited. But it's not just Dominicans. It's Colombians, Venezuelans. We're all intertwined.
Deeno: That's hip hop culture. Apart from the U.S., there's a lot of poverty-driven stories from different countries about starting from the bottom, and we try to represent for that, heavily.
You've worked with the video director before too right?
Deeno: Yeah. Roberto Mario. He's already shot four of my videos, and John Lewis too.
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