Miami's Top Albums, EPs, and Singles of 2012

Miami's Top Albums, EPs, and Singles of 2012
Y'all can't hold the Bawse back.

Heavy bass, ear-shredding distortion, booty beats, syrupy synths, and prime rhymes.

Even though the 305 is a sunny city, it definitely has a weird, dark, and dirty side. So while this year's best local releases were often sexed-up and fun-obsessed, they were also experimental, X-rated, drugged-out, deeply gritty, and unrepentantly strange — no doubt an appropriately unpredictable soundtrack for these tropical shores, lousy with clubs, coke, crime, punks, metalheads, party kids, art junkies, and a million other contradictions.

Here are Miami's top albums, EPs, and singles of 2012.

Rick Ross: God Forgives, I Don't (Def Jam/Maybach Music Group). The Bawse's latest album isn't just an aural peak into his extraordinary world of riches. It's an abrasively personal record, peppered with too much information that we were all dying to know but simply too scared to ask. For example, we'd always wondered what triggered Rozay's in-flight seizure. And thanks to "Maybach Music IV," we now know that oral sex played a critical role in the Bawse's brain spasm: "Yea, such a breath of fresh air/Get a blow job, have a seizure on a Lear." Does Ross ride the white horse? No, we learned on "Amsterdam," when he raps, "These boys snort lines, I'm fine just sipping wine/Amsterdam in the air, tomorrow on my mind." Is the house paid for? Are there any tax liens? "Fornicate in my fortress, 40K still my mortgage/24K, my toilet, all my taxes reported." Clearly, nothing can hold Rozay back. Not even the IRS. Unnngggh. Victor Gonzalez

Holly Hunt: Year One (Other Electricities/Roofless Records). Miami's Holly Hunt lets you savor the deliciousness of metal at its barest. There's no force-feeding. It's about the appreciation of simple, brutal sounds. With the duo's newly released Year One, drummer Beatriz Monteavaro and guitarist Gavin Perry present a gentle yet heavy ten-track slab of slow, head-rocking throb and drawn-out, distorted sludge. Both bandmates and partners, Monteavaro plays with a smile and Perry with intensity. No one goes to a Holly Hunt show and leaves saying, "Meh." And this album is no different from a live performance. You might have heard the songs before, but they still taste fresh and vital. Liz Tracy

Metro Zu: Zuology (self-released). Have you ever sped through "Coketown, USA" with your "CyberSpacePimpGang" toward a "Posh Party on the Beach" while screaming "Gimme Kush Gimme Face" at extraterrestrial hoes you don't even know? Obviously not. 'Cause you aren't Metro Zu, the self-described "intergalactic communications team" responsible for these 21 superfilthy, acid-soaked, sex-obsessed, psychedelic party rap tracks. As chief Zuologist Lofty 305 recently told New Times, it's all "about pimpin' and drugs and having fun... exploring other realms and shit. It's cranked up." S. Pajot

Steven A. Clark: Fornication Under Consent of the King (L&E Media Co./BloodyGround USA). While most quote-unquote urban acts in Miami are concerned with dropping tracks for the club, R&B auteur Steven A. Clark has perfected the art of making music for the postparty comedown. The deeply personal, playfully named Fornication Under Consent of the King (or F.U.C.K.), Clark's second epic statement in as many years (the first being last year's Stripes), is best heard while driving barely sober over the bridge at sunset. It is every bit as fresh, complex, and mature as this year's far more hyped alt-R&B releases from Frank Ocean and Miguel. Jesse Serwer

Otto von Schirach: Supermeng (Monkeytown Records). In 1883's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, radical German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote dreamily about a transcendentally superior human specimen named the übermensch. But if Freddy had been scribbling Spanglish notes from a Hialeah efficiency apartment in the summer of 2012, he might've chosen to call his creature the Supermeng. Or maybe even Otto von Schirach. Because this latest transmission of otherworldly bass weirdness (released via Monkeytown Records, the label run by Berlin-based experimental electronic duo Modeselektor) proves again that Otto is undoubtedly the most perfect musical being ever to emerge from the "Miami triangle." S. Pajot

GTA: Booty Bounce/Shake Dem EP (Mad Decent). So you're up in the club with a bitch who don't know how to act. Well, GTA will tell her. Bitches love GTA. Especially after the Kendall EDM duo dropped the massive Booty Bounce/Shake Dem EP on Diplo's Mad Decent label. It's only two tracks, but any extra bang might have crippled the dance floor. "Booty Bounce," featuring a nasty DJ Funk sample, is the kind of ass-twerker that routinely causes near-naked chaos. And "Shake Dem" is a tropical sex anthem with a driving bass line and an unforgettable hook. Both of these big-room killers will slaughter the club and get all the girls dancing like sluts. Guaranteed. Kat Bein

J. Nics: SNAS: The Product (self-released). J. Nics has been one of the most likable and respected MCs on the local rap scene for some time. But 2012 was definitely a breakout campaign for the "Polar Bear Mack." Though the Miami Gardens native stayed active all year (even releasing another full-length record, Darkside, with Atlanta producer Burn One this month), Nics's growing profile in Florida and beyond is mostly due to May's SNAS: The Product. A free online release that deserves to be recognized as an album, The Product was as cohesive as mixtapes get, offering a ruminative, relatable look inside Nics's creative mind. With its combination of thoughtful wordplay and bottom-heavy trap beats, it confirmed Nics is an MC capable of defying hip-hop's regional divisions. Jesse Serwer

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