Parties Miami Style

MTV has finally caught on to what A-list celebrities and University of Miami students have known for quite some time: it simply doesn’t get any hotter than South Florida. For the first time in its 21 year history, the MTV Video Music Awards ventured south, setting up shop in American Airlines Arena. Still, the real partying took place before the VMAs. Northeast 11th street, affectionately referred to as Club Row, was the site of the VMA Block Parties where the melding of MTV party culture and raucous South Floridians resulted in hedonistic bliss.

Friday’s fiesta featured performances by Ciara, Pitbull, Kid Capri, 8Ball, Lil’ Scrappy, Trillville, and YEAAHHH-even Lil’ Jon. Appearances were also made by Chingy and Xzibit, who wisely spent much of his time sitting in a climate-controlled SUV, a ride that had not yet been pimped. Kevin Lyttle, whose recent hit “Turn Me On” has been dominating radio waves around the nation, played an outstanding set. He displayed vocal talent and an exciting stage presence that signaled great future success.

Lil’ Jon closed the show, capping off the five hours of non-stop partying. It got a “Lil” rough during Lil’ Jon’s set, but he quickly put the riff raff in their place. Another highlight from Friday was meeting MTV News personality Sway Calloway. Sway was only supposed to do one news brief with MTV in 2000, but overwhelming fan response won him a steady job. Starting in radio, Sway was drawn to “the power of broadcasting and the opportunity to face down stereotypes” in the process.

Making for another riotous interview, Trillville recapped the details of jet skiing and hang-gliding around South Beach. They urge us all to check out their 24-hour Krunk Line. Call (404) 271-6149 and see what happens.

Saturday’s block party event included sets by Anthony Hamilton, New Edition, De La Soul, Cash Money Millionaires, Carl Thomas, Mase, and others. When New Edition graced the stage they displayed the talent and professionalism that broke them big nearly two decades ago. Offstage, they were polite and set the record straight as to what people are calling their “comeback.” “The band never officially split up,” Ricky Bell asserted. “We just recently signed with Diddy and Bad Boy Records, so the next album will be vintage style with a lot of new energy,” Ronnie Devoe added. Watch for their album in September.

De La Soul played a strong set. When asked to rate Miami on a 1 to 10 scale, answers ranged from 20 to 32; apparently MIA has a found a place in the group’s heart. As for what to expect from De La Soul in the future, Dave and Posdnuos stated in harmony fit for the stage, “Quality music!” Check out for more.

In closing, Sway and I both anticipate the VMA’s coming back to Miami, and soon.

John W. Heslin can be contacted at