By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
As 305 maestro Pitbull boasts in "Welcome to Miami" (Dat Lil Chico's edition of Jermaine Dupri's infectious ATL anthem): "Y'all got Uncle Sam, we got Uncle Luke."
Mr. Worldwide is damn right. Ever since the early days of Luke's booty bass, the Magic City has been an X-rated paradise full of fast beats, fast women, and even faster cars.
And you haven't made it in the rap world until you can unapologetically gloat, like Lil Wayne, "South Beach, Miami, ho, I'm probably with Tammy Toe." Or as Weezy once said elsewhere, "Nigga! LIV on Sundays! King of Diamonds Monday!"
170 NE 38th St.
Miami, FL 33137
Category: Bars and Clubs
Region: Midtown/Wynwood/Design District
17800 NE 5th Ave.
Miami, FL 33162
Region: Aventura/North Miami Beach
In honor of Dade County's irrepressible desire to shake its giant culo at the club to any and every bass-heavy banger, we at New Times have compiled a list of Miami's ten best rap clubs.
Mansion (1235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). We know, it's just another pricey South Beach nightlife emporium. But here is an undeniable fact: If you grew up in Miami and you like to shake that ass, you've either been to Mansion or waited hours in line to get a taste. It's a Memorial Day weekend must (tag teams such as DJ Khaled and Rick Ross, Meek Mill and Ace Hood, and Lil Wayne and Birdman have all thrown parties at the spot this year), and that signature "Naughty Girls Enter Here" sign in the club foyer is just begging the ladies for a lil' twerk.
LIV (4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). "How much for a table?" an inquisitive, gaudily dressed European asks a bouncer at LIV while waiting in line to enter the Fontainebleau's fanciest club. "'Bout $800 to $1,000, dude," the hard-bodied guard in black replies. That's when Euro guy gives up. He's not getting in tonight to see J. Cole for two reasons: One, he doesn't have a vagina, and two, he's stone broke. This is a familiar scene at the Bleau party palace. If you're not a rich boy with scantily clad floozies on your arm, see ya later. And though a lot of grandiose SoBe clubs with similar gimmicks have blown up LIV's spot, it's still an upscale nightlife king. Shit, it's where Coolio recently celebrated his 50th birthday, Lil Jon frequently drops that crunk, and Lil Wayne regularly runs Sunday nights. What more could y'all ask for?
Story Nightclub (136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). The South Beach newbie won this year's Best Dance Club nod from New Times, but Story's 27,000 square feet of big lights and big sounds really speaks to rap's "everything real big" mantra. So despite all the perfectly coiffed, fauxhawked EDM DJs who've manned the club's decks, Story has also become a top-flight MIA hip-hop venue, welcoming Fat Joe, Meek Mill, Trey Songz, Young Jeezy, and French Montana, to name just a few. But Story's most baller moment went down in June, when Miami Heat players racked up a $100,000 bar tab at the nightclub after their NBA Finals win. And Story owner David Grutman picked up the entire tab. Guess they "ain't worried 'bout nothin.'"
G5ive Gentlemen's Club (337 NW 170th St., Miami). Rap wouldn't live up to its grimy, sexed-up rep without titty-bar imagery pervading 99.9 percent of its music videos. And naturally, the gentlemen of the genre prefer to celebrate real life amid twerking booty too. See Miami Gardens' G5ive Gentlemen's Club, where Dade County's own Ice "Billion" Berg and Uncle Luke threw their birthday bashes and former Dipset member Juelz Santana and ATL dope boy Lil Scrappy wiled out for Memorial Day weekend. The spot scored New Times' Best Strip Club for good reason. Where else can you hear your favorite party rap performed live while admiring more than 100 extra-large pulsating asses? Oh, and there's also a swag soul food menu, loaded with dishes like fried chicken and Belgian waffles with a side of vanilla ice cream! OK, G5, you win.
Bamboo (550 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). From the street, Bamboo might look like another nondescript Miami Beach club. Inside, though, it's all about Prestige Sundays. This weekend closer is a who's who of hip-hop royalty. In just the past few months, T.I. has hosted it, and Migos has "Versace"-fied it, while Gucci Mane, Ludacris, Plies, J. Cole, and Flo Rida have all spit rhymes on the hydraulic stage, lit by Bamboo's opulent chandelier and custom LED riser. And there's no bullshit allowed. Here, rappers don't doze off and avoid the mike after showing up at 3 a.m., because they're loyal to the fans and treat them like they matter. And if you don't care 'bout Bamboo, that's fine. The party will go on without you.
Cameo (1445 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). When a club hosts a night called Lapdance Tuesdays, they better not be effing 'round. And though it's not an actual strip club, there's always plenty of grindin', strokin', and slidin' going down at Cameo. Last year, King of Diamonds divas Blac Chyna and Tip Drill hosted Pole-a-Palooza at the South Beach spot. (But let's leave the rest to your imagination.) And even on nights when there aren't celebrity strippers in the building, whether it's DJ Khaled and French Montana's 2012 Memorial Day Party or Lil Wayne, Birdman, and YMCMB's subsequent holiday gig, there's never a dull moment (or empty pole) at Cameo.
Club Play (1045 5th St., South Beach). How baller is Play's promo video for weekly party ForePLAY Fridays? We witness the "Hottest Hip-Hop Friday in the World," set to the jingly pulse of Migos and Drake's swaggering summer hit "Versace." A montage of custom rims, vintage Bentleys, and obligatory ass-shaking ensues, while dudes donning enough gold to resurrect the Forty-Niners guzzle countless champagne bottles under purple lights. In some ways, Club Play is like all the rest — Drake, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, and Chris Brown have all come through — except it's not. Unlike lots of South Beach clubs that turn their noses up in remorseless snobbery, this place shows you the goods and invites you to come Play.
Eve (1306 N. Miami Ave., Miami). Formerly known as White Room, this North Miami Avenue bunker is a longtime favorite of 20-something downtown hipsters. The older club's cabana-lined patio is still intact, and so is the steamy main room. But where White Room championed relatively unknown acts such as electroclashers Gravy Train, Eve often reps the burgeoning local underground rap scene and its riotous bum-rush-the-stage-with-my-clique kind of fans. So far, this place has toked with the likes of Cali's Pac Div, moved to Latin threesome Bound by Blood, and cranked up with Carol City's SpaceGhostPurpp and his Raider Klan as well as Miami crews Metro Zu and O'Grime. No doubt, Eve is an essential spot for Miami's homegrown scene, and like Purpp says, "Once everybody in our city come together, this shit gonna be outta control."
The Stage (170 NE 38th St., Miami). For all the name-dropping party rap dominating South Beach megaclubs, there's still bona fide MCing brewing beneath the I-95 overpass. Sometimes, hip-hoppers just wanna lean back on a couch and nod their heads to the dudes who started it all. And that's a living room atmosphere that the Stage is keen on creating. Since last year's Art Basel Miami Beach, this Design District refuge has hosted old-school lyrical legends Rakim, Murs, Wu-Tang's Raekwon, Styles P, Uncle Luke, and KRS-One. And New York heavyweight duo Mobb Deep will unleash its "Quiet Storm" at the venue next weekend. That's a lot of high-minded hip-hop for one spot, and we like it.
King of Diamonds (17800 NE Fifth Ave., Miami). Step into America's favorite strip club, a massive gentlemen's den where the famous (and infamous) party hard in MIA and make it rain on hundreds of lustrous, buxom babes. You know, Drake didn't say, "Call up King of Diamonds and tell Chyna it'd be worth the flight," for nothing. Hip-hop bigwigs Lil Wayne, Ace Hood, Rick Ross, and 2 Chainz drop fat stacks as dancers do ceiling-to-floor pole drops, and then those same rap bosses return to cheer on thick chicks as they coldcock each other during Monday Night Fight Night. Welcome to KOD. This is the spot. Period.