Amara La Negra
Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images
Amara La Negra To Pitbull: 9 Songs That Celebrate Miami Music
The Recording Academy recently launched the inaugural episode of its first original music and travel series, "On Location: Miami," where our host, Charlie Travers, takes us on a one-of-a-kind tour through the Miami music scene, catching up with native artists such as Trina, Amara La Negra and Walshy Fire.
But we want to hear more. So to take us a little deeper into the unique Miami sound, we've compiled a playlist of nine tracks from Miami artists you'll want to hear, from XXXTentacion, Lil Pump and Pouya to Deaf Poets, Pretty Ricky, Pitbull, and more.
Amara La Negra, "What A Bam Bam"
Amara La Negra is a breakout star on the TV show "Love & Hip Hop: Miami," a series that follows her and other artists as they try to make it in the music industry. While La Negra's faced discrimination in the Latin music industry in particular because of her darker skin, that isn't stopping this powerhouse singer/songwriter. In March, La Negra released a catchy new track titled "What A Bam Bam." The dancehall-inspired song features a sample from the reggae classic "Bam Bam" by Sister Nancy, and the video captures the glory of a Miami beach party.
Pouya, "Suicidal Thoughts In The Back Of The Cadillac Part 2"
Pouya isn't one to shy away from difficult topics, including mental health. Straight off his 2018 album, Five Five, "Suicidal Thoughts In The Back Of The Cadillac Part 2" is one such track. On it, the Miami-based rapper lays it down without holding anything back: "Everything I did is crumblin' beneath my feet/I'm feelin' lonely, feelin' like I'm only stuck with memories/Take me back to what I was, take away what I've become/Take away the grayer days, take the bullet out my brain." Pouya's candid style is one we can certainly get behind.
Deaf Poets, "Celestine"
We'll let Deaf Poets — comprising vocalist/guitarist Sean Wouters and vocalist/percussionist Nico Espinosa — explain their brand of music: "Our music is the embodiment of hard-hitting drums with distortion-soaked guitars." As a result, the Miami-based rockers have been cranking out tracks like 2017's "Celestine," off their album Lost In Magic City, for years to the delight of the Miami rock scene. The city awarded them Best Band of Miami in 2014.
Walshy Fire And The Expanders, "Top Shelf"
Jamaican artist/producer Walshy Fire may be best known as a member of the power production trio Major Lazer along with Jillionaire and Diplo, but he's also a staunch mainstay in the Miami music community in his own right. Working with artists such as Bunji Garlin, Garmiani, Queen Omega, and the Expanders, he's blended his Jamaican musical roots with the unmistakable sounds of Miami neighborhoods such as Little Haiti and Hialeah. In fact, he told Travers in "On Location" that he considers himself one of the original Miami artists who "won't bend."
Lil Pump, "Gucci Gang"
While Miami may have an outside reputation as a hub for electronic music, in fact many genres of music are alive and well in the city, including underground hip-hop, thanks to artists such as Lil Pump. After the Miami rapper made a name for himself on SoundCloud, he released his self-titled debut album in 2017. Lil Pump included the track "Gucci Gang," which skyrocketed the hometown hip-hop hero into the national arena when it peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
A born and raised Miami native, XXXTentacion typically cut deep with what Hot New Hip Hop dubbed "emo hip-hop." The single "Sad!" off the rapper's sophomore album, ?, is no exception with poignant lyrics such as, "I gave her everything/She took my heart and left me lonely/I've been broken, heart's contentious/I won't fix, I'd rather weep." While the song had previously peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, following the rapper's tragic death on Jun 18, it rose to the No. 1 position.
Pretty Ricky, "Grind With Me"
Let's take a quick trip down memory lane to the 2005 release of "Grind With Me" from the Miami-based R&B/hip-hop group Pretty Ricky. The sultry track from the group's debut album, Bluestars, struck a chord with listeners — the track reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Though most of the song's lyrics are NSFW, at the very least we can follow Pretty Ricky's advice to "relax your mind, take your time on me."
Trick Daddy Featuring Trina, "Nann"
Trina did Miami proud when she became the first female hip-hop artist to go national, launching a career that's included recent releases such as her sixth studio album, 2018's The One. But it all started for Trina back in 1998 when fellow Miami rapper/producer Trick Daddy featured her on "Nann" off his second album, www.thug.com. The track was a big hip-hop smash, and by 2000 Trina was Da Baddest Bitch in Miami, the start of many good things to come.
Enrique Iglesias Featuring Pitbull, "Move To Miami"
We wouldn't have a playlist from Miami without mentioning Mr. Worldwide himself, Pitbull. On the 2018 track "Move To Miami," the native hip-hop/reggaetón artist pairs up with Latin sensation Enrique Iglesias (who also grew up in Miami) for a catchy track that warns, "She gon' make you move to Miami." However, given the rich culture and vibrant music scene that Miami has to offer, who wouldn't want to move to Miami?