Top 5: The five best rappers from Miami
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Top 5: The five best rappers from Miami

Since its birth in 1973, hip-hop has taken hold in cities across the US and worldwide. It first took over New York, then Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and eventually the South Florida city of Miami. The most populous city in the Sunshine State, Miami is a culturally rich melting pot of people, with Hispanic and Caribbean communities living alongside African-Americans. As such, the unique music that has emerged from the city is second to none.

Miami Bass was an exciting sub-genre that emerged from the city during the early-1990s, a bass-heavy electronic style of hip-hop that featured high-pitched, erratically arranged vocals designed to make people dance. Florida, like much of the South’s music, went hand-in-hand with strip club culture and, akin to crunk, was electronic concerning production.

Miami, unlike cities such as Houston and Atlanta, took far longer to produce a successful mainstream rap artist. With the region being so geographically removed from other prominent musical hubs and so unique culturally, the success of Miami came in the late-1990s. Although acts such as the 2 Live Crew had moderate success in the ’80s. It was Dr Luke’s breakout 1996 album, Uncle Luke, that saw Miami ascend.

Formed in the early-’90s, Slip-N Slide Records also began producing stars at the turn of the millennium, such as Trick Daddy, Trina and Khia. Lesser-known acts, such as Gunplay, Khaotic and Jacki-O.

The five best rappers from Miami:

5. Denzel Curry

First arising in the mid-2010s, Denzel Curry was an intriguing figure. Born and raised in Miami Gardens, the act was assisted by the Floridian icon SpaceGhostPurrp following the release of his debut mixtape, King Remembered Underground Tape 1991–1995. Spotting his talent, Purrp invited him to join his collective Raider Klan. Gaining recognition as a local artist, Curry then decided to form his own collective.

Named C9, members included SDot Braddy, Yoshi Thompkins, and POSHtranaut. While part of this collective, Curry released three EPs and, in 2013, released his debut album, Nostalgic 64. In 2015, he released another EP to critical acclaim entitled Planet Shrooms, which landed him on the 2016 XXL cover as a freshman.

4. XXXTentacion

XXXTentacion was a breath of fresh air when he first emerged on the hip-hop scene. A loud, audacious rapper, XXX gave his listeners crazy distorted beats and unparalleled dynamism. Known as an emo-rapper and rockstar-emcee hybrid, with his overblown 808s and twisted tracks, the emcee (real name Jaseh Onfroy) was experimental and, as such, stood out when compared to his peers.

Born and raised in Plantation, an inner-city suburb of Miami, the rapper had a seismic breakthrough with his 2015 track. ‘Look at Me!’ Originally uploaded to SoundCloud, the track took on a life of its own in 2016 and became the song that propelled Onfroy into stardom. However, his fame did not last long, as in 2018 the young star was shot outside a motorbike dealership in Fort Lauderdale.

3. DJ Khaled

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, DJ Khaled (real name Mohammed Khaled) moved with his parents to Miami as a teen and before he began rapping and producing gained fame in the ’90s as a DJ on the city’s primary urban radio station 99 Jamz. Akin to DJ Drama, Khaled rose to fame as a DJ curating popular mixtapes and eventually began accompanying artists on tours. In the early 2000s, after becoming a household name in hip-hop, Fat Joe drafted the Floridian into the Terror Squad.

After entering the world of production in 2006, Khaled released his debut album Listennn… the Album. The project debuted at number 12 on the Billboard 200, and the Miami artist continued to release material alongside other artists. In 2016, Khaled signed with Jay Z’s company, Roc Nation and in 2018 released one of his most renowned hits ‘Wild Thoughts’ featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller.

2. Trick Daddy

Trick Daddy, often referred to as Trick Daddy Dollars, is considered by many to be the rapper that spearheaded Miami’s entry into the mainstream. Following the 2 Live Crew, the city became musically dormant. However, the emcee (real name Maurice Young) put this to an end, as in 1997, Slip-N-Slide Records released his groundbreaking debut album, Based on a True Story. He swiftly followed this project up with in 1998.

In 1997, Young met a young female emcee at Slip-N-Slide Records who would end up becoming the iconic female rapper Trina, and in 1998, for, the pair turned heads towards their hometown with the release of the hit single ‘Naan N*gga’. The song peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and broke the glass ceiling of Miami rap. To this day, Trick Daddy is respected as a legend in his city.

1. Rick Ross

Rick Ross is undoubtedly the most successful hip-hop artist from Miami. Beginning his career in the late 1990s under the pseudonym Teflon Da Don, Rick Ross signed to Suave House Records and, after a short stint on the record label, signed to the Miami-based Def Jam subsidiary Slip-n-Slide Records. While on the label, Ross toured alongside Miami rap legend, Trick Daddy.

With hits such as ‘Hustlin’ and ‘Aston Martin Music’, Ross is an unbelievably prolific artist. The Miami native has released 11 studio albums one collaborative album and has even undertaken ventures outside of music, and owns several different Wingstop franchises. With such an illustrious career and such a hefty catalogue, Ross is undoubtedly the best act the South Florida artist has produced.