“Hip Hop saved me.”

Miami has never been one of my favorite destinations. It’s gorgeous, but I don’t like the sun, I don’t like the ocean, and I don’t like beaches, so it’s not quite my scene. However, there are certain areas that I find really interesting, like Wynwood. And so, when I was there with one of my best friends, A, we took a trip to check out the famous graffiti all throughout the neighborhoods.

Our driver was Julio. He was blasting hip hop as we walked up to his car. However, the moment we got in, he turned it down and grinned at us. “Sorry. I like hip hop. It’s my life.”

“Do you perform?”

He perked up at our interest. “Yes. I do, actually.”

“How did you get into it?” I asked him.

“When I moved here from Nicaragua, I was doing real bad. My mother died, my dad was a drunk. I was running with a real rough crowd.”

“And they listened to hip hop?”

“Some. But they just did it cuz it was tough and that’s what they liked, being tough and breaking shit. But I really liked the music. The beat. The art.”

“What happened?”

He shrugged. “I just liked the music more than the rough stuff. I would turn it up real high, and then I would study in my room, you know? And then I began doing ok in tests, and now, I’m studying to be a lawyer. I wouldn’t have done it without hip hop, man. Hip hop saved me”

“Turn the volume back up,” I told him.

About the artist

Iris Hopp loves traveling and exploring the world. Her illustrations here will help you travel to the world of “Riding Up Front!”