Years ago, Maurice Young took a trip to his old Liberty City neighborhood to speak to a friend headed down a troubled and all too familiar path.
Young, who in his heyday brandished his thug lifestyle as the Miami-bred stage rapper Trick Daddy, decided to push his friend toward college and away from the streets. But in the end, it was Young who left with a lesson.
“You don’t know how to be Maurice Young and Trick Daddy,” Young said, recounting the words of his friend. Young, 41, has struggled with his identity over the last decade.
Eleven years ago, Young was diagnosed with lupus, which affected the rapper's skin.
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Fast forward to today, Young spends most of his time in his West Miramar home reading, writing and cooking, and at night, partying with friends. Dawn Drennon, Young’s publicist and friend of 20 years, says the once spokesman for Miami hip-hop has become a recluse.
“The lupus really takes a toll on him,” Drennon said. “He’s in the process of trying to regain his energy for the music.”
Drennon says, however, the once famed rapper is not out for the count.
On Friday, Young will headline Fadenfest, a one-day festival celebrating Miami’s local music, according to Eric Faden, the festival’s organizer and creator.
Faden, who has hosted the festival two years now, says Miami’s music scene, although diverse, is segregated.
“I hate it,” Faden said. “For one night, I wanted it to be cohesive–– everybody in Miami is invited to this.”
Faden said he wanted to highlight artists who, like Young, have remained loyal to Miami.
During the late ’90s into the the mid-2000s, Miami was at the forefront for hip-hop music in America. Young attained national success between 1998 and 2004, and has always affirmed that Miami is an oasis filled with talented artists.
“People like me, Trina, [Luther ‘Uncle Luke’ Campbell] and JT Money––we opened a lot of doors for a lot of artists,” Young said. “But there are a lot of people [in Miami] who didn’t get the recognition they deserve because everyone says ‘all we know how to do is sell drugs, look good and kill each other.’ ”
Despite the culture’s rowdy appeal, the city’s scene flourished. During those years, according to Young, hip-hop in Miami was especially infectious.
“We had the east and west coast rapping to our beats and talking like us,” Young said.
Otto Von Schirach, Fadenfest’s second headlining performer, has been fusing different elements with electronic dance music (EDM) since 2001. Since then, he’s earned an intimate following both overseas and locally, and, like Young, he says the city is lush with new up-and-comers.
“There’s a whole [group] of people, who don’t exist to the rest of the world, but are super popular in Miami,” Von Schirach said.
Von Schirach has incorporated Miami bass into a lot of his music. Miami bass, a hip hop sub-genre, became popular in the 1980s and 1990s.
“For years, the scene has grown [in Miami]. We have our own vibe,” Von Schirach said. “Bass music–– it’s almost only [produced] in Miami. I play shows around the world and everyone loves it, but no one else is making it.”
Faden says music in Miami will always blend from one genre to another. And for Young, he feels compelled, now more than ever, to help bring attention to younger, local acts working to make a name for themselves.
“We need to come together,” Young said. “Everyone who stays local is a local artist, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not a bad thing.”
The festival at LMNT Studios in Wynwood will also feature The Gun Hoes, SANDRATZ, Red Nectar, Nunhex, Die Trying!, Orange Flight, Guilty Conscience, Jacuzzi Fuzz and Young Shamu.
If You Go:
What: Fadenfest with Trick Daddy, Otto von Schirach, Nunhex, SANDRATZ and The Gun Hoes
When: 8 p.m. Friday, April 10
Where: LMNT, 59 NW 36 St., Miami
For more information call 305-572-9007 or visit lmntartsmiami.com. Ages 18 and up.