Saturday Night Proved Miami Is Still the Capital of the United States of Bass

Uncle Luke, the godfather.EXPAND
Uncle Luke, the godfather.
Photo by Ian Witlen

If your local convenience store tells you they're out of Plan B, don’t be surprised. The United States of Bass was so hype, somebody’s got to be pregnant.

It was the party of the year, the kind of magical homecoming Miami’s legends deserved. The superstars of my youth proved they can still command a crowd and scratch a beat, and for those of us too young to shake our asses at the storied Pac Jams, it was a chance to live our city’s history and simultaneously write our own chapter.

Moreso than just Miami, the event, presented by Red Bull Music Academy, was a celebration of all the numerous shades of bass. All of Gramps bar in Wynwood was transformed into a dance floor time machine, and together, we embarked on a musical journey that began in the ‘80s and ended in the future.

On the Shirley’s back room stage, California’s Egyptian Lover got things started. It was immediately fitting, as Lover’s electro beats helped spark the bass-centric movement, directly inspiring characters like Uncle Luke and the 2LiveCrew to do their nasty thing. He stood behind the decks in the glow of a giant Red Bull logo, freaking beats and posing like the living equivalent of a “deal with it” meme. The sunglasses came down hard. Much air piano was slayed. When “Egypt Egypt” dropped, so too did 100 asses.

Outside, Miami’s Snappy Jit got shit heated in the backyard. Soon, it was full of well-dressed Miamians fleshing out the styles of their favorite ‘90s pool party-themed music videos. I made sure to be there when Detroit’s DJ Assualt appeared, taking my back-bending antics to the next level with “Ass-n-Titties.” It was in this outside arena that most of the sweat pooled. Everyone was letting their freak flag fly. I had a legit conversation with my friend while she pretended to hump my face, because that is the kind of party this was.

Uncle Luke was there, so of course there was a booty-shaking contest.EXPAND
Uncle Luke was there, so of course there was a booty-shaking contest.
Photo by Ian Witlen

DJ Assault’s Ghettotech grit was followed by Baltimore badass TT the Artist. She worked the mic like it was a weapon, and we treated our bodies in much the same way. Inside, I made sure to catch the Jersey love fest coming from DJ Sliink. That man is a monster. He’s got bed-knockin’ beats for days and some jams that will straight up fuck your mind. If I could have trainspotted any one set that night, it would have been his, for sure.

But there was only so much of DJ Sliink that could be seen, because not long after, DJ Laz was set to rock the main stage. Any Miamian worth their weight in cafecito’s knows this was the moment not to miss. From here on out, shit was going to be 100 percent 305. What followed was the single greatest hour of the evening. DJ Laz brought the Megamix to life and brought moves out of my body that are usually reserved for those moments I’m dancing in my home, alone.

We all had a shared moment of glory when Laz grabbed the mic and addressed his people, new generations and old. “Let’s see if you can make the 305,” he yelled to an immediate sea of fingers. He announced the playing of the Miami anthem before giving us “Esa Morena,” to which he so humbly shouted “I can’t believe y’all really know this.” Duh, DJ Laz. Duh. 

DJ Laz for president.EXPAND
DJ Laz for president.
Photo by Ian Witlen

Upon realizing he was fuckin’ with the real, he gave us “Mami El Negro” and more hot fire specially designed for his Cubanos. I also made sure to hop back over to the back room to catch some action from Chicago’s DJ Earl and DJ Spinn. I wish I could have moved my feet faster, but alas, I am from Miami, and I am much better with my hips than my limbs below. So after soaking up the Midwest style, I returned to the beloved backyard where Uncle Luke was teaching us kids how to really set it off.

He’s the Miami bass master, the true king of the scene, and as he worked the mic, he showed us that nastiness only gets better with age. Sure, he’s totally married now and he ran for Mayor, but he can still get a bitch to take off her clothes in a booty contest. Like, truly, that happened. Tell me again why you didn’t make it?

The evening closed with a special history lesson from Miami legend DJ Craze (who, by the way, it was announced has a new album with Laz coming soon. Be still my beating booty). Dude was literally getting on the mic and explaining the progression of Miami Bass and how it influenced sounds all across the country, those same sounds that were graciously displayed by the night’s visiting DJs and performers. Of course, it being Craze, he also showed off his incredible turntable skills. There was some under-the-leg action going on, both behind and in front of the decks.

DJ Craze is obviously incredibly stoked to do what he loves most with the city he put on his back.EXPAND
DJ Craze is obviously incredibly stoked to do what he loves most with the city he put on his back.
Ian Witlen

When the time had come to file back into the humid Miami night, Craze left us with the words of another legend who couldn’t make it, DJ Khaled. The United States of Bass and everyone who was there put the whole city on #SpecialClothAlert. It made me proud of my city, proud of our music, and proud to be one of the sweatiest people in the crowd.

It was the kind of party I always wanted to attend, the kind of thing you read about in history books. But like all good things, it came to an end, and that’s okay, because while I’m certain I’m not actually pregnant, you can bet your ass the evening had a happy ending.

Stay assy, Miami.

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miles
Gramps

176 NW 24th St.
Miami, FL 33127

305-699-2669

www.gramps.com


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