The 10 Most Obscure Rap Songs From Miami

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The so-called “Gateway to the Americas” fomented a rap scene like no other–Miami bass. The electro-influenced, 808’s-n-trunk shake resonated throughout the region–Atlanta in particular–and ultimately found its way to the Supreme Court via the 2 Live Crew, who were sued for parodying Roy Orbison. At present, Miami’s national profile is nearly tiered—Pitbull and Flo Rida are basically dance music, Rick Ross makes roughly the same album every other year, and Denzel Curry somehow gets less press coverage than Atlantans who signed up for Soundcloud two weeks ago. At least they don’t live in Tampa!

DJ Disco Dave, “Electric Kingdom”

Houston has chopped ‘n’ screwed, Miami had drag mixes. The styles are largely divergent; whereas DJ Screw was a mostly spectral presence on his own recordings, DJ Disco Dave and Jam Pony Express’ drag mixes involved “regulating” the music and rhyming over pre-existing beats to create a new song. It sounds a bit unusual now, but if you owned a satin Miami Hurricanes jacket, or saw Michael Irvin out on the town, drag mixes were probably your thing.

Rick Ross, “Push It”

Rick Ross’ delusions are richer than the food served at DJ Khaled’s restaurant. Ross’ “Push It” samples Paul Engemann’s “Push It To The Limit,” which appeared during the most over-the-top montage in Scarface. The implication is, in true Ross form, as unsubtle as a fart in a spacesuit: the rondure Miami rapper is a modern drug baron akin to Al Pacino’s Tony Montana. “Push It” was the second single from Ross’ debut Port of Miami behind mega-hit “Hustlin’;” the latter appears to have been canonized, the former less so.

Poison Clan, “Low Life Muthas”

Poison Clan, signed to Uncle Luke’s Luke Records, were billed as the “The Baby 2 Live Crew.” Though the group transitioned into making bass music similar to that of their patron’s, the Clan began their careers making straightforward rap. “Low Life Muthas” has all the trappings of late ’80s rap: smooth lyrics about pimping, a DJ scratching (probably Mr. Mixx of 2 Live Crew, who produced the song), and a KC & The Sunshine Band sample.

SpaceGhostPurrp, “Lyk Ah Dymond”

In 15 years, there will be a subclass of Internet dwellers who reappropriate Raider Klan imagery, a generation rappers who will claim to have grown up on Denzel Curry and Xavier Wulf, and a cottage industry of rap journalism dedicated to oral histories of the group will appear. SpaceGhostPurrp, the Klan’s leader, was an eccentric who, for reasons ultimately known to select few parties, dissolved the group and subsequently alienated nearly everyone he came in contact with. SGP made remarkably lo-fi outsider music for those who came of age with the Internet, with childhood memories of brick Nokias and cassette tapes.

Splack Pack, “Scrub Da Ground”

Splack Pack’s first album, Uhh!! Ohh!!, is a font of offensive raps. So much so that at least half of the track names are unprintable on Green Label. The video for “Scrub Da Ground” is fairly color-by-numbers Miami bass: catchy call-and-response, feats of posterior athleticism performed in Splack Pack promo shirts, and ample gold jewelry.

miami boat

Yung Simmie, “Still Smoking”

With the exception of Denzel Curry, Raider Klan were id-driven (although what else would you expect from a bunch of teenagers? Performative wokeness?); Yung Simmie’s career hasn’t ascended to the same artistic heights as Curry–a mystifyingly underappreciated talent–but his mixtapes are consistently enjoyable. His dedicated following would surely agree.

Anquette, “Janet Reno”

Anquette, a group fronted by Uncle Luke’s supposed cousin Anquette Allen, were fans of then-attorney general for Florida, Janet Reno (she’d become U.S. attorney general during Clinton’s first administration). Reno was hyper-aggressive in prosecuting crimes against children; “Janet Reno” is a paean to Reno’s dogged pursuit of men who fail to pay child support, one of her career calling cards.

Denzel Curry & Lil Ugly Mane, “Twistin'”

“Twistin” appeared on three different projects–SpaceGhostPurrp’s God of Black, Lil Ugly Mane’s Mista Thug Isolation, and Curry’s King of the Mischievous South Vol. 1–so it’s difficult to apportion credit for the song. Despite Curry’s longstanding love for obliquitous underground legend Ugly Mane, which is apparently reciprocated, the duo only have two songs together: “Twistin,” and “Mystical Virus Pt. 3” from Curry’s first album, Nostalgic 64. Curry’s slowly establishing himself as a Southern mainstay. Lyle Ugleman? Retired, supposedly.

rolandDJ Laz ft. Danny D, “Mami El Negro/Esa Morena”

Miami’s Spanish-speaking population seems to have taken to Freestyle with more gusto than they did Bass music, but DJ Laz’ “Mami El Negro” and “Esa Morena” became regional staples by combining samples of Dominican singer Wilfredo Vargas with bass music drums and rapping. Laz’ alchemy resonated with a community of Miamians who otherwise felt isolated from the predominantly black bass music scene.

Gucci Crew II, “Sally” (That Girl)

“Sally (That Girl)” is frequently attributed to 2 Live Crew. Alas, it was the Gucci Crew II, an equally profane Miami group, who recorded the tribute to the sexually liberated Sally. The 808’s and thumping bass of MC V, 240 Shorty, and DJ Disco Rick made the group local stars–at least until Rick left the group (supposedly because of an argument over a Doug E. Fresh parody) to produce for child group The Dogs, whose biggest hit is, again, unprintable on Green Label.

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