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Miami Bass: An Abbreviated History, According to Joe Stone

Luke Skyywalker, AKA Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell.
Luke Skyywalker, AKA Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell.

Bass parties were invented when people started stretching animal skins, beating them with sticks, and dancing around the fire back in the Flintstones days.

In Miami during the 1980s, that beat became electronic and it was called bass music. The style has spawned global phenomenons, like Gucci Crew's Cabbage Patch dance and Uncle Luke's "Go, it's your birthday!" chant

And here is a brief history, according to Joe Stone, an engineer/producer/artist/label guy who helped make it happen.

See also: Miami Bass' Ten Best Producers and Musicians

"Let's break it on down," Joe says.

"My history is this: I was working out of Henry Stone's studio with Amos Larkins and Luke Skkywalker, and Sam Latimore, and I was distributing records made by Billy Hines and MC A.D.E., and then we had Gucci Crew II join the label, and so there was this whole scene of new music being recorded with 808 drums.

"I remember being in the studio, fiddling wth the DBX-160 and DBX-165 compressors, and getting the 808 bass to hum. The kids in the studio, when they heard the bass drum humming, they went crazy. They were all jumping around, so we started making records with it.

"Luke would spin these records at the Pac Jam in Liberty City, and Cookie on the Disco would play them on WEDR. And the kids from Liberty City were going crazy over these records like the Krush 2's 'Ghetto Jump' and the 'Cabbage Patch' from Gucci Crew II, and then it started to evolve."

"I remember going to a music seminar in New York with these bass records from Miami and these elitist rappers from New York were looking down on us with our 'bullshit bass records.'

"And I would say, 'Bullshit? This bullshit sells like crazy on brand new artists.'

"The next year, all the New Yorkers were putting bass in their records. At the same time, in parts of California and Texas they were getting into the same thing."

See also: Miami Booty Bass: Ten Best Acts of All Time

 

"Back in Miami, this guy Eric Griffin did 'Give the DJ a Break,' and Clay D was in there with me and Amos, and he had an amazing energy, and then it started to evolve and the whole bass scene exploded.

"Me and Luke and Billy Hines and Eric Griffin would go out to Gabor Records and get our records pressed by this guy Acosta, pull the record off the press and take it to Funky Frank at Rhythm98, which was a little backroom radio station in this building there off Dixie Highway.

"You'd say, 'Ey Frank, I got this brand-new record.' He'd play it for two seconds to check it out, and then say, 'Let's put it on the air and see what happens.'

"That's how we broke B.O.S.E. (Bass Overdrive System Experts) and Gucci Crew II and a handful of other little groups right there from Rhythm98. Then we'd go to this club called Manhattans and get the DJ to play it, and from there to Power96, and Hot105 with Duff Lindsay, saying, 'Hey, I got this new record.'

"And it started to evolve from the Pac Jam and the parties in Carol City and Perrine into what it became."

"It was never a big national sensation, but it had really strong regions like South Florida, San Jose, and San Francisco, California, and Dallas, Texas. The records would sell really well there. Those bullshit Miami bass records created a trend and an opportunity for a lot of young artists.

"Back then an artist had to be hungry enough to walk up to the studio and say, 'Hey, I got this idea,' and we'd go sit down and come up with the records, 'cause not everybody could just do it. You had to have a studio, and you had to know about manufacturing to get it pressed, how to do the sleeve, what distribution was, how to get your product on the shelf, and you had to have an outlet with the clubs and the radio.

"Without that, nobody would have ever heard it at all. But the Miami bass sound has been very influential on the world of music."

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