Deeno, John Lewis the Fifth Rep West Kendall: "Just Like the Inner City, Drugs and Violence"

Categories: Local Music, Q&A

deenoandjohnlewisthefifth001.jpg
"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.

See also: Miami's Top Ten Rappers on the Come-Up

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.

See also: Ten Best Miami Rap Anthems Ever



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22 comments
Mauricio Alexander Nichol
Mauricio Alexander Nichol

Lmao!!! As funny as this was, it was good to see Kendall gettin repped... Lol...Still tryin to figure out why there weren't any girls though...

Sandra Andrade
Sandra Andrade

QUE PENA brother! I don't even know what to say...Mauricio Alexander Nichol check this out!

Alex Brummitt
Alex Brummitt

Roger Brummitt Sandra Andrade Gina Andrade Mario Miranda

Rolando Lucas Jr.
Rolando Lucas Jr.

Why aren't y'all on this list? Or is this source just not in the streets as I've read a few say Kairo Lavoe Ayentee Valdes the whole Just This Crew could probably rap circles around this group... Lol

Kevin Brautigam
Kevin Brautigam

I like the songs, i love Kendall ,say whatcha want bout it not being hard but the songs aren't bad ...if it was wack i would say it

Michael Martin
Michael Martin

I don't think these guys are trying to be "hood." They're talking about really weird part of the city where latino people come up or came up and get foreclosed. It's probably the most unusual sprawl in the country, plus there's a lot of weed. Seems like a fertile place for the kind of hip-hop I'm hearing here.

Dave Basora
Dave Basora

Riiiight! Because life is so damn hard in Kendall. I keep forgetting how easy they got it in L City. Smdh...

Daniel Paul
Daniel Paul

Wow Kendall is so not hood. The only way you'd have to "survive" on Kendall drive is dodging all the bad drivers.

Deeno
Deeno

im of the rappers from the video (Deeno) We're not trying to come off as "Thugs" whatsoever, just some down to earth guys that are trying to represent miami with good hiphop 

Deeno
Deeno

im (Deeno) one of the rappers, their were a couple of misquoted thing in the article, but we're not trying to come up as "hood"nor "thugs"as far as having it easy, i grew up with a single mother and 3 older brothers. At 16 i got a job to help my mom out with the rent because she couldnt manage by herself. We're just some down to earth guys trying to come out with real hiphop from miami

Deeno
Deeno

Lmao we never said that quote at all, that was the editor that posted it, im guessing for publicity 

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