‘Repping where we’re from.’ This hip-hop crew got the very first key to West Kendall

Camp Matecumbe in West Kendall holds a special place in DJ EFN’s heart.

More than 60 years ago, the park was home to many of the boys flown from Cuba to Miami as part of Operation Pedro Pan. His father, Fernando Narciandi, happened to be one of those boys. But on Friday morning, the significance of Camp Matecumbe increased as EFN and his 10 friends who make up Crazy Hood Productions received a proclamation from Miami-Dade County that designated Oct. 20, 2023 as Crazy Hood Productions Day.

“Who would have ever thought that some crazy kids from Sunset High would be here?” EFN said from the podium, a slew of iPhones and cameras pointed at him. “This is really full circle.”

Since 1993, Crazy Hood Productions has been a driving force on Miami’s underground hip-hop scene. A record label, multimedia company and group of friends, Crazy Hood Productions initially became known for its mixtape series that was Miami’s equivalent to those done by DJ Clue or DJ Tony Touch. Eventually, CHP brand would branch out to documentaries, a since-shuttered Crazy Goods clothing shop and, most notably, the acclaimed hip-hop podcast Drink Champs that EFN records with Queens-born rapper NORE.

Crazy Hood Productions, the brainchild of DJ EFN, one-half of the acclaimed Drink Champs Podcast, gets a sign unveiled in their honor as pioneers of Miami’s music scene, in Kendall on Friday October 20th., 2023.

“When we started Crazy Hood, it was all about repping where we’re from,” EFN, the founder and CEO of CHP who was born Eric Narciandi, said to the crowd. “Just some West Kendall kids – some Kendall, Miami-Dade kids – who wanted to contribute to our local scene.”

For Miami-Dade Commissioner Roberto J. Gonzalez, the proclamation served as a testament to CHP’s hard work but also their contributions to the West Kendall community.

“Folks need to understand that there’s so much talent and so much community that’s happening right here out west,” Gonzalez, who issued CHP’s proclamation, told the Miami Herald. “A lot of times, you hear about the successes that happen up in the North, you hear about the successes that happen in the East. We have so much culture down here and I want to make sure that people understand that we have our identity, we have our culture and we have great people that are coming out of this community.”

Friday’s event was a dream scenario for any kid from South Dade. Pastelitos lined a table. Family members formed a little crowd around the podium where Gonzalez presented CHP with not only a proclamation but the first ever key to West Kendall. The crew, donning all types of Crazy Hood apparel and smiling from ear to ear, flanked Gonzalez as the commissioner listed their accomplishments. Even Miami-Dade police officers began chanting “Crazy Hood” at one point, a move that still came as a surprise to some.

Commissioner Roberto J. Gonzalez (l)and Eric Narciandi (r), President of Crazy Hood Productions, in front of the West Kendall sign unveiled in Kendall on Friday October 20th., 2023.

“To the Hammocks Police department, sorry for the ‘90s,” Michael Garcia, CHP’s resident film and music video director, quipped to the audience. “Thank you for going from chasing us to embracing us.”

Kendall has always been an important part of CHP’s journey. That’s where they met. That’s where they grew up. And that’s where the crew still has an office.

At the office later, the crew’s personality really shines. Songs from early CHP mixtapes blast over a boombox, a collage of pictures from Drink Champs hanging overhead. The crew jokes with one another about who’s oldest. A few of the members even start freestyling over Nas’ “One Mic.” As the music reverberates off the walls, someone blurts out, “Why do I feel 15 again listening to this?” It was a great day to be from Kendall.

This is “a big part of the story of hip-hop,” EFN said, describing what the celebration meant to him and his crew. “Hip-hop coming from nothing and becoming something. It’s in that same vein on a local level because we were just – and I keep saying this – raggedy hip-hop kids in high school who were just fans and decided to do something more serious and take it as a career as well. Nobody thought that could happen because we had no connections to the outside industry. To be here 30 years later and the actual governance is acknowledging us, it’s insane and wild. We just wanted to get mentioned in Source Magazine. ”

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