After breaking down two of Miami’s most important football stars and hip-hop icons from important eras in their fields in part one, we move on to a more recent chapter in Miami football/hip-hop history.
The Resurgence: Ray Lewis and Rick Ross
The Hurricanes struggled with mediocrity in the mid-late 90’s and Miami hip-hop lacked a figurehead after Trick Daddy’s national spotlight died down. Enter Ray Lewis for The U, helping the Canes transition into the next great era of Miami football. Although Lewis wasn’t apart of those great 2000-2002 teams, his greatness, both in college and in the NFL, helped pave the way for the return. Rick Ross did the same, taking the mantle from Trick Daddy and shining on his breakout album, Port of Miami in 2006. Ross was one of the hardest working MC’s in hip-hop, putting out album after album between ‘06 and 2017. In those 11 years he released 10 albums, including two in 2014. Ross has stepped back from the spotlight a bit since 2017 but he continues to be an important figure in Miami hip-hop. Oh, and not to mention that Chad Thomas produced Ross’ “Apple of My Eye” on his Rather You Than Me album.
The Underdog: Duke Johnson and Trina
Duke Johnson joined Miami with a lot of hype. And although he was regarded as a highly-rated blue chip recruit, he was oft-overlooked in his career because he was perhaps Miami’s best player during his 3 seasons. Johnson toiled along on a team that simply wasn’t very good during the bleak Al Golden era. The Duke of Coral Gables even came back after a serious ankle injury to have a massive 2014 campaign. Johnson ran for more than 1,600 yards and 10 TDs and caught 38 passes. Meanwhile, Trina was an elite and consistent female rapper during a time where female rappers maybe weren’t celebrated as much as today. Coming up alongside Trick Daddy, Trina has had a lengthy, successful career that includes seven albums, a certified gold album and nine nominations for best female hip-hop artist from BET.
The Future: Brevin Jordan and Denzel Curry
The New Miami is exciting and the future, both on the gridiron and in the booth, is promising. Although Brevin Jordan was recruited from outside The State of the U, he has quickly emerged as the most promising and exciting young player on the Miami Hurricanes. Jordan was the no. 1 TE recruit in the nation and quickly settled in at Coral Gables as a second team All-ACC player after one season. Jordan was Miami’s second-leading receiver last year, 32 receptions for 287 yards and 4 TDs, and he should have an even larger role going forward. Denzel Curry has been on the radar for a while but has really come into his own over the past year or so. After making noise with his 2013 debut album, Curry was billed as a promising but perhaps unfilled young up-and-comer. Fast forward to 2018, with his release of Ta13oo and getting recognized as one of hip-hop’s best artists. Curry followed up that effort with Zuu this year, proving his consistency and status as one of hip-hop’s best MC’s.