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The 10 most essential Miami bass tracks

Miami's booty-popping '80s and '90s soundtrack

  • Cameron Holbrook
  • 29 March 2019

Lewd, nasty, abrasive and raw in all the best ways possible, Miami bass was the go-to party sound of Southern Florida from the mid '80s up through the mid '90s.

Born out of the electro-funk era, Miami bass (or booty bass as many still call it) was the city's answer to New York and Los Angeles' distinct styles of hip hop. Craving an identity of their own, Miami rappers gravitated towards booming 808s, hissing cymbals, excessive scratching and raised dance tempos. This, paired with sexually explicit lyrical content that was considered "obscene" at the time, set the city's sound apart from everywhere else in the US.

The lyrical shock factor and fat low ends of Miami bass had a raucous poolside party appeal to it that, much to the chagrin of concerned parents slapping parental advisories on every hip hop album they could find, brought the genre national attention. Groups like 2 Live Crew, 69 Boyz and Splack Pack with their contagious call and response lyricism made the southern city look like the most debaucherous party capital in the world at that time.

Miami bass' place in the sun, however, burned out bright and quick. Overshadowed by the national hype and attention surrounding east and west coast gangster rap, Miami bass never fully made its way into the mainstream.

Despite this, the genre remains an unstoppable and pummeling dance riot to which much of the modern electronic music scene is indebted to.

Check out our 10 favorite slamming and obscene Miami bass hits below.

​2 Live Crew
'Get Loose'

Miami bass music simply does not exist without 2 Live Crew. Brother Marquis, Mr. Mixx, Fresh Kid Ice and Luther "Luke" Campbell - the four members of 2 Live Crew - went from being a mediocre rap group in California to Miami's most famous hip hop export in 1986 with the release of their album 'The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are'.

They went on to create major explicit hits such as 'Me So Horny' and 'We Want Some Pussy' - tracks that brought national attention to the group for its "offensive" subject manner. Their 1989 certified gold album 'As Nasty As They Wanna Be' was so brash and sexual that a US district court judge ruled the album obscene and illegal to sell.

The controversy surrounding the LP landed a multitude of radio DJs in court for playing it out and one Florida store clerk in jail. He was charged with felony "corruption of a minor" for selling the album to a 14-year-old girl. In 1992, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit overturned the obscenity ruling.

The Miami New Times once described 2 Live Crew as "the group whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech".

While their major hits like 'If You Believe in Having Sex' and 'Throw the D' are as lewd and essential as they come, the incessant scratching, funky breaks and saxophone on 'Get Loose' are well worth a listen.

69 Boyz
'Tootsee Roll'

Released as the first single from their debut album '199Quad' in 1993, 69 Boyz's 'Tootsee Roll' sold one million copies, earned platinum certification from the RIAA and reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early January 1995.

Before viral dance moves like the running man or the floss, there was the tootsie roll which was, essentially, just an early and slower version of twerking.

Splack Pack
'Scrub Da Ground'

As Miami Bass traveled north and into Georgia, Splack Pack members Kue Dawg, Yung Joc and Kidd Money took Atlanta by storm with hyped up hits like 'Scrub the Ground and 'Shake that Ass Bitch'. Often nearing 140 bpm, the group's use of high-velocity Kraftwerk bloops and early 2 Live Crew samples were frantic club jams that lived at the center of Hotlanta's booty-centric music scene.

L'Trimm
'Cars That Go Boom'

Lady Tigra and Bunny D of the Miami bass hip hop duo L'Trimm created this adorable and fun ode to subwoofers in 1988. It reached number 54 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is a great tune for anyone who likes the boom.

LUKE
'I Wanna Rock (Doo Doo Brown)'

Luther "Luke" Campbell of 2 Live Crew released his solo album 'I Got Shit on My Mind' in 1992 - an album that spawned the hit single 'I Wanna Rock' (better known more prominently as 'Doo-Doo Brown'), which became Luke's signature song. It peaked at #52 on the Billboard 200 chart and #20 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

Nothing says "lets fucking party" like high-octane breaks paired with call and response lyrics.

Freak Nasty
'Da Dip'

Reinterpreted time and time again by electronic music producers well into the 2000s, Freak Nasty's single 'Da Dip' is a '90s dancefloor classic. Produced in Atlanta in 1996, the track is not a true blue Miami bass tune per se, but it drew heavily from the flow and style that was born out of Florida years earlier. The single reached platinum in 1997 after selling over 1 million copies.

MC Luscious
'BOOM! I Got Your Boyfriend'

MC Luscious released her hit track "BOOM! I Got Your Boyfriend" back in 1991. The one hit wonder came back in 1997 to give her own rendition of Freak Nasty's 'Da Dip' for Atlantic Records who wanted to re-release the song with an added "female perspective."

​​10 K.A.N.S.
'U Need Dick In Your Life'

In 1995, the Miami bass staples 69 Boyz and 95 South teamed up to create the 10 K.A.N.S track 'U Need Dick In Your Life'. It was the only single the two groups made together but it was a smash hit for car stereos and clubs all over Miami.

95 South ‎
'Whoot! (There It Is)'

Perhaps Miami bass' biggest and most mainstream hit, Tag Team's one-hit-wonder 'Whoomp! (There It Is)' - which reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1993 and has become a staple of sporting events everywhere - has a dirty little secret.

The much raunchier 'Whoot! There It Is' by rap group 95 South was released about a month before Tag Team came out with their "Whoomp!" version.

Tag Team's track downplayed the sexual element in their version, making it radio ready and bringing mainstream attention to the Miami bass sound. Members of 95 South claim that "Whoomp!" was a blatant rip off and that Cecil Glenn of Tag Team - who was a strip club DJ in Atlanta at the time - first heard their song when 95 South handed the track over to him so he could play it.

12 Gauge 'Dunkie Butt'

Starting off as a DJ in his home state of Georgia, 12 Gauge eventually moved to Florida to persue his music career. Another one-hit wonder born out the Miami bass scene, his 1993 track 'Dunkie Butt (Stand In A Line and Donkey-Donkey)' spent 21 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. The track earned a gold certification in 1994.

Cameron is Mixmag's Jr. Editor. Follow him on Twitter

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