South Florida’s distinctive, burgeoning rap scene is one of the best out there right now. With a rap climate that mimics the temperature of the state — scorchingly hot and always on the rise — South Florida has come to exist as one of the defining sounds of contemporary rap.
Over the past few months, several of the area's top hip-hop artists have put forth notable projects, with some releasing their debut albums. Here are the five recently dropped rap projects you should be streaming that demonstrate South Florida rappers’ versatility.
City Girls, City on Lock
When JT, one half of the Miami duo City Girls, was released from prison last year, the demand for fresh music from starved fans was almost instant. The duo's debut album, Girl Code, was a solid introduction to the hard-spitting but fun-loving pair, but their sophomore effort, City on Lock, came with an announcement to make: the girls are back and they’re going hard for their city.
The album, which dropped on June 20, not only delivers JT and Yung Miami’s trademark twerk-friendly, boss-bitch anthems listeners have come to love but also grants them room to explore more introspective themes. On “Enough/Better," the Girls recount their worst days while expressing gratitude for their well-earned come-up: “Didn’t think bitches like us could do better/From Dade County, straight to Coachella.”
The 15-track album also brings rappers Lil Baby, Lil Durk, and Yo Gotti on board to lay their rhymes alongside the Miami natives. A highlight is the Doja Cat-assisted track "Pussy Talk.” For three-and-a-half minutes, the trio trades lively, braggadocious bars about their genital talents — all on an infectious beat by Yung Miami’s baby daddy, Southside.
City on Lock, which peaked at number 29 on the Billboard 200, unveils the pair's growth as both artists and women and supplies them further space to claim their territory — with no fear of retribution.
Jackboy, Living in History
Pompano Beach rapper and Kodak Black associate Jackboy may be rapping about living in history, but he’s also making it. The rapper has steadily been on the rise, creating a legacy for himself within the Sniper Gang label. He dropped his debut album, Jackboy, back in April and was quick to follow it up with Living in History last month.
The 14-track record has features from Tee Grizzley and Rylo Rodriguez. (Kodak, who has appeared on almost every one of Jackboy’s projects, is notably absent.) On most cuts, Jackboy remains fired up and aggressive, rapping ruthlessly about betrayal, love, and being “from the ugly” in between his guttural growls. Still, he manages to switch it up on a few tracks, toying with various cadences to develop something unique — a sound many will come to recognize as his own.
He flaunts this innovation best on “Married to My Enemies.” Leading the chorus, he begins a bar with a woeful, melodic croon (“Might catch another felony...”), only to then end in a hostile, biting bark (“...send a hundred shots through your car!”). It’s brutal, it’s blunt, and it’s unapologetically Jackboy.
Robb Bank$, No Rooftops 2
Coral Springs rapper Robb Bank$ has long been one of the more notorious figures in South Florida's underground rap scene. He began releasing music at 16 and was early affiliated with the influential Miami rap collective Raider Klan. Although his father is reggae legend Shaggy, you won’t find any relaxing tropical beats on his latest mixtape, No Rooftops 2, released back in April.
A sequel to his 2016 tape, No Rooftops, it's an enjoyable project thanks to Bank$’s ability to entertain the listener with humor and witty lyrics, as well as his playful experimentation with beats from some of the most iconic songs of the ‘90s and 2000s. On “EI,” Bank$ samples the 2001 Nelly hit of the same name as he raps about women and flexing. The closer “Hollaback” sees him using his comical nature to translate the iconic Gwen Stefani song into his own style. “This clip, a banana, B-A-N-A-N-A/Sleep n*ggas, knock them out they pajamas,” he sings impishly.
No Rooftops 2 is an easily digestible, amusing project with a throwback vibe, giving Bank$’ fans something to hold on to while they wait for his upcoming album, Falconia Arc 1: Conviction.
Smokepurpp, Florida Jit
Carol City native Smokepurpp has long been synonymous with the SoundCloud rap movement that broadly escalated in South Florida. Along with his 2018 XXL Freshman classmates — Lil Pump, Wifisfuneral, and Ski Mask the Slump God — a specific grimy underground sound distinctive to South Florida was cultivated. Although Purrp has dabbled in using other styles over the years, on his second studio album, Florida Jit, he returns to the original sound responsible for his initial virality.
The album includes 17 tracks with features from best friend and frequent collaborator Lil Pump, Florida natives Denzel Curry and Rick Ross, as well as Young Nudy and Jack Harlow. The majority of the songs are produced by Purrp’s longtime collaborator Ronny J and are mostly high-energy — perfect for bumping in the car as you rap along with Purrp about fast cars, making money, and not taking shit from anybody.
On “It’s Whatever,” Purrp shines as he raps about his indifference to anything but stacking his money: “If it ain't ‘bout the money, it's whatever /Forty bands on a ‘fit, it’s whatever /These invisible set, diamonds wetter.”
It’s nice when rappers let their walls come down, allowing themselves to be sensitive without the cappin’. West Palm Beach rapper Wifisfuneral does just that on his first studio album, PAIN? The artist has built a loyal following over the years through his music that details his issues with substance abuse and depression. On PAIN?, his anguishes are more romantic in nature, with the first songs describing unfortunate experiences with love, from toxic relationships to unrealistic expectations.
On the first track, “Lost in Time,” New Jersey rapper Coi Leray joins Wifisfuneral as they both sing about going “round and round and round” again in a toxic cycle. Wifi utilizes his lyrical capabilities and catchy chorus writing best on more upbeat songs like “What It Is?” and “Motion,” where the listener gets a break from the heartbroken storytelling to see him regain his confidence and steeze.
There is some filler among the 14 tracks, like the forgettable “Back Ache” and “Take Me Away,” but the work remains a strong debut for the emo rapper, who has connected with his fans through his genuine openness and pain.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.