Hip-hop/Spirituality/Freethinking. Speaking for all underdogs!
Carol City is My Neighbor... 'Hood?
By Khalil Amani
As hip-hop goes, unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve heard of Carol City, made popular by Ricky Rozay and his crew, Triple Cs (Carol City Cartel). To hear Rawss rap about it, Carol City is “so ‘hood.” Carol City is gangster! Carol City is thug life! Carol City is bitches, birds, and beefs!
I grew up in Carol City. I graduated from the same Alma Mater as Rick Ross and Flo-Rida (albeit, years earlier), Miami-Carol City Senior High School, Class of ’78, home of the mighty Chiefs—Chief Pride!
(The best high school evaaaaaar! Home of Ricky Rozay, Flo Rida, Pretty Ricky, Santana Moss & Brother, Lester Williams, Nick Esasky, Danny Tartarbull and Khalil Amani [me!])
Growing up in the ‘70s, Carol City was the last city in northern Miami-Dade County where black folk moved to escape places like Liberty City, Brownsville, Overtown, and even Opa-Locka, which, by the way, are real “'hoods”/ghettoes! Granted, Carol City looks pretty phucked-up today, but still, far from the “'hood,” which Ross portrays. The “Bahas,” the last neighborhood before you cross into Broward County is the toughest part of Carol City, yet, it too, is not a “'hood.”
I used to shop at the Carol City Flea Market (as seen in Ross’s video “Hustlin’”) and party at Miami Nights and Big Daddy’s Lounge and eye-fuck sckrippers at The Mint Lounge (yeah, back in the cut!) Those were the good ol’ days!
But now, what’s this image of Carol City that Rick Ross portrays? Is Carol City really “'hood”—as hip-hop heads understand ‘hood?
True enough—“'hood” is slang for neighborhood, as in “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.” (*Think Eddie Murphy’s/Buckwheat’s Saturday Night Live skit singing, “It’s a beautiful day in my neighba-hood! Wouldja be my neighba?”)
But “'hood” carries a far more sinister connotation than “neighborhood.” The perception (which Ross has put forth) is that Carol City is thee “’hood”—meaning, some hardcore area, full of projects, liquor stores, gangs, a habitat of unsavory characters lookin’ for a come up; an unsafe place to walk through at night. Reality? Carol City has one little section of low-income housing—the Matchbox Projects!
But I say, Carol City is not the “’hood!”
Growing up in Carol City, we were more afraid of Palmetto Bugs (huge flying cockroaches that loved Raid!), fat-ass mama bullfrogs that came out in droves during and after rainstorms and the occasional beady-eyed alligator mean-muggin’ us, as we walked to school, than any gang or “cartel.” My, how things have changed (as Rawss tells it!)
Carol City was and is still considered a middle-class neighborhood. This “Carol City Cartel” drug imagine that Rozay raps about—never seen it or heard of it! These gangsters running the streets of Carol City—where? I knew Big Ike (on the cover of an issue of Don Diva Magazine), the notorious drug dealer, Dexter Washington, the ass-kicking freestyle wrestling street-fighter and Bo-Diddly, a one-punch knockout artist and a few other goons back-in-the-day. They were legendary!
Carol City is my neighbor… “'hood?” I don’t think so! Carol City is my neighborhood! You can still walk down 183 Street at night! Hell, Sun Life Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins was built in Carol City! (ca. 1995) Do you think that those crackas would’ve put and multi-million dollar stadium in some dilapidated ghetto/’hood?
Yes! Miami is the cocaine capital, as documented in the movie Cocaine Cowboys. 305 MI-Yayo (Spanish for cocaine), where niggas be movin’ them birds, but the biggest drug dealers have always been the Columbians and Cubans.
The happy-go-lucky, sing-song rap style of Flo-Rida (another Carol City resident) is a more truthful depiction of the environment we grew up in. Ross’s grimy tales of drug dealing in Carol City just seems a little dishonest and contrived; although I will admit that Carol City has its share of dope peddling.
Kenneth “Boobie” Williams and his band of merry-men were drug dealers from Carol City, during the ‘90s. No doubt! The court record is clear on their drug empire and the many murders they committed. Anyone can Google Kenneth “Boobie” Williams and get the case files and put together a persona based on someone from your neighborhood who was involved in criminality, just as easy as a dude stealing the name of a legendary dope boy (like Freeway Ricky Ross) and designing a rap persona around it! Will some goon/s please step forward and COSIGN Rick Ross’s street cred?
Rick Ross raps about his affiliation to the murderous Boobie Boys gang proudly. He raps of Boobie’s incarceration, “… when they snatched Black [Boobie], I cried a 100 nights, he got a 100 bodies, serving a 100 lifes.”
The problem with Rick Ross is that, A.) his name is a theft from the real “Freeway” Ricky Ross, B.) He lied about being a Correctional Officer (only to finally acknowledge he was a pseudo-pig after beating up DJ Vlad for asking him), C.) William Roberts (Rawss) has no criminal history with the system to verify his drug connection, D.) No street dudes have come forward and acknowledged that he’s put that “street work,” in—that he was about that life after 18 months of pig duty and lastly, F.) I know for a fact that Carol City IS NOT what he portrays!
Is Carol City a “'hood?” Fuck no! Is Carol City a neighborhood? Fo’ sho! I’m one of Carol City’s finest!
Khalil Amani (born Lloyd Clark) writes for DJ Kayslay's Straight Stuntin Magazine & Originators. Amani also writes for Maybach Magazine, Sext Magazine and Hoodgrown Magazine. Follow on Facebook & Twitter @khalilamani