Once known as the Harlem of the South, Overtown, the historic Miami neighborhood, is reviving a renaissance, with sites like the Trap Music Museum's Lil Trap House attracting tourists and locals alike in a modern resurgence of creativity.
Formerly an entertainment hub to the likes of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, the Jim Crow Laws enforced performers to go "over town", making it the designated black spot. The land values and businesses plummeted, however, after the creation of Interstate 95 and 395 divided the community in the 60's, halting it's progress. Now, the neighborhood's close proximity to Brickell, the Design District, and Wynwood make it a prized real estate location to develop.
An avid lover of the bass-heavy 808 beats and the catchy grittiness of the sub-genre of rap coined trap music, I had to head to Overtown to bask in the bando, aka the Lil Trap House Museum. Founded by veteran rapper and King of the South, Rubber band man T.I., below, the Lil Trap Museum in Miami is a unique miniature subset of the one in Atlanta. Famous for its pink exterior and edgy homage to Atlanta legends like Gucci Mane and Jeezy, the museum celebrates the transcendence of artists who made millions off of their dedicated grind.
"Its a history lesson about the origin of trap music, how rappers overcame obstacles to turn their negative circumstances to positive through rap.", says Sean of the Trap Museum franchise. As far as why the museum chose Overtown as the next hot spot, Sean said, "Even though their is a high rise next to us, two blocks down is the hood, we wanted to keep the balance. Overtown is growing, expanding,definitely on the rise."
The girl power in rap was not forgotten in the trap, with tribute to Queen of Rap Nicki Minaj, in the first picture, rightfully placed next to her throne. In contrast, the rest of the Trap House mirrored the real thing, filled with run down furniture, dice, and of course, a gun piece or two.
The museum was a walk down memory lane, taking me back to my days at Temple, when "Trap Queen" by Fetty Wap turned up many a party and Future's "Karate Chop" could be heard blasting through the block. Remnants from Dirty South rap albums, like the above purple and blue recreation of Future's 2015 Dirty Sprite 2 album, and dozens of portraits of rap vets like Rick Ross, below,Trina, and former Fashionista in Finance spotlight Lajan Slim brings together the best in rap in an enchanting display.
In partnering with Red Rooster, the historic, black-owned restaurant right across the street, the Trap Music Museum franchise elevates the communities in which they serve. Once upon a time, Overtown hosted black superstars like Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, and Billie Holliday who performed at the Overtown Lyric Theater, known as the Broadway of the South. Today, the Urban,located across from the Trap Museum, is resurrecting the vibrancy of black talent in the neighborhood, with headliners like Chris Brown, Rick Ross, Future, and Young Jeezy.
If you can appreciate hard work, hustle, and getting it off the muscle, you can understand the value of the trap music movement. We all "trap" in our own way, getting to our goals, our grind, and to the money, persevering past our struggles to achieve a dream. The legacy of the historic Overtown, while tumultuous, is a rich and resilient one, fortified by additions like the Lil Trap Music Museum to amplify the culture and revitalize the community.