Vice City Stories: A trip to Art Basel Miami

I traveled to Miami, Florida to attend Art Basel from December 1st – December 4th 2016.

Art Basel is an international art fair with four shows staged annually in Basel, Switzerland; Miami Beach, Florida; the Wynwood Art District in Miami, Florida; and Hong Kong, China.

Each show is organized into sectors which showcase contemporary artworks by established and newly emerging artists.

Rashaad Newsome and I.


The first night I arrived, Kendrick Lamar and the artist Shantell Martin did a unique concert on a beach in a revolving dome with an afterparty in a penthouse overlooking the beach.

In addition to that, I took the time out to see how the locals live.

They all go to hotel and beach parties. In the daytime the go to work or the beach.

It took me 7 minutes to walk to the beach from where I was staying.It’s a wonder that anything ever gets done.

At times in reminded me of playing or actually being in a video game.

Grand Theft Auto: VICE CITY, which is modeled after the city in the game and also takes reference from the movie Scarface and the television show Miami Vice.

I discovered a local cigar shop with fairly decent prices.

Uber service in Miami is super cheap.

I averaged about $3- 5 dollars per ride. The most expensive ride was back to the airport from my hotel = $15.

There is a 24 hour STRIP CLUB with a rooftop bar. (details on this experience in a future post)

I got to attend some amazing parties, one of the best was one of my hiphop heroes, Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest.


It was an exclusive pool party with American Express and pioneering graffiti artist CRASH. No one got in the pool and it was one of the best parties I ever attended.




Mostly everyone there was from New York. The DJs played the most incredible music. The weather was amazing , the bar was open and we danced all night and people who lived in Miami just watched and took pictures of us.

2 days later I was at a party and the artist Shepard Fairey was DJing a party for the artist Swoon.

He goes by the name DJ Diabetic, and he is very serious about his music!

There were some skeptical attendees about his ability (I had the knowledge how good he is for a Hennessy event he did years ago in NYC.)

Toward the end of the night the music died down and the open bar closed and ended up gathering with a bunch of New Yorkers discussing beats, rhymes life and art and this photo happened!

Photo by Todd Mazer

The next day I got to relax of the beach! it was 85 degrees while it was 30 in New York City.

While walking the beach, saw this basketball hoop in the water, people parasailing in the background and thought about how I ended up at some random bar in Wynwood and paid $19 for a glass of Jack Daniels. Pretty much sums of my view of Miami, “the beautiful ugly”

Lauryn Hill performed the next night at a Fish Fry held by artist Kehinde Wiley.

Amazing performance, she even did some Fela Kuti, Nina Simone and Sade songs.

I met some cool and interesting people in Miami, but after 5 days definitely time to get back to reality.

Got offered a free ride back on an  friend of a friend’s PJ- (that’s Private Jet) took it and won’t disclose details, hence the use of the word private. 

To quote Pink Floyd:

I’m in the high-fidelity first class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet.


From the song “Money” from one the greatest albums of all time, Dark Side of the Moon

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