"Miami bass is the ghetto-style hip-hop that came out of Miami in the '80s," says DJ Jerry Pulles.
From 1989 to 1994, he drove a van loaded with speakers and records from Miami Lakes to Hialeah to Carol City, playing house parties for his friends from American High.
Later, he took a full-time job on Spanish-language radio, and eventually moved to Redondo Beach, California, where he does voice-over work. But he never forgot his roots. A year ago he started MiamiBass.fm, the first and only all Miami bass radio station in the world.
"I tried programming a channel for it on Pandora, but it never played the right music," he says. "Neither does Spotify. Almost all Miami bass was released independently. Some of it is really hard to find and completely not available commercially. I had to build the station out of my own CD collection and by digitizing vinyl that other DJs helped me find. I just want to preserve the legacy and history of what Miami bass is, and I wanted to give new bass artists today a platform for their music."
Here are Jerry Pulles' top nine Miami booty bass acts of all time. We here at Crossfade contributed Maggotron ourselves.
10. Splack Pack
"They had 'Shake That Ass,' 'Scrub Da Ground,' 'Let Me See You Work It,'" Jerry recalls. "They were from West Palm Beach, but they really represented that Miami bass sound hard for South Florida. Back in the day, no matter what party you went to, they had to play 'Scrub Da Ground.'"
The legend known as Maggotron, AKA James McCauley, is the prototypical electronic home producer, the Bassnectar of his day. Starting with 1983's Computer Funk, he has released a massive array of independent bass music under a series of assumed identities that sampled from a wide variety of sources. His signature sound is a mix of electro beats, rock guitars, and vocals.
8. DJ Jealous J and DJ Jock-D
"They really brought the turntablism and scratching to Miami bass," Pulles explains. "They also did a series called DJ Wars that were just a lot of bass and an uptempo beat with them like battle scratching against each other. It was really cool. Jim Jonsin became a super-megaproducer who has worked with you name it, from Pitbull to Beyonce. And Joc D actually just did a movie called The Bass That Ate Miami that's premiering in Fort Lauderdale. It's a documentary about Miami bass, what it is and how it came about."
7. Clay D
"He was a producer and actually the guy who discovered Magic Mike, who is something like one of the most successful independent hip-hop artists of all time. He produced everyone from Raheim, to Magic Mike, to the Get Fresh Girls. And he's a Miami guy. He also made his own music. He had 'Boot the Booty.' You know 'Boot-b-boot-b-b-b-boot that booty.' That's Clay Dixon."
6. Magic Mike
"He was from Orlando," Pulles points out, "one of the guys that Clay D brought into the scene. He and Clay D had a falling out and Magic Mike started up in Orlando working with MC Madness. And Magic Mike was incredibly successful. He was selling platinum, like 2 and 3 million records on his own small independent label. All independent. Millions and millions. He did a series called Feel the Bass that was really popular amongst the car club and sound-system heads and car-audio heads. He was down in Miami a lot."
5. Prince Raheim
"He was part of the Clay D posse too. He had a song called 'Loose My Money,' and he rapped on 'Shake Them Titties' and a bunch of other songs. He's still recording now up in NYC. His big hit was 'Loose My Money.' That solidified him as a legend in Miami bass, but he also had 'Rock Wit It' and he signed to Atlantic I think in early '90s."
4. DJ Laz
"Being from Miami," Jerry says, "he was a pioneer on the radio and did a lot to get local and bass music on Power 96. He eventually became an artist himself alongside Danny D, 'The Voice From the Bottom.' And Laz is still to this day very active. He really put that Latin flavor into Miami bass. As a Cuban kid growing up in Miami, he was a hero to me for playing this music that I loved. He was taking risks, playing these songs when other stations wouldn't. He really got behind it, producing, and it wouldn't have been on the radio without him, I don't think it would have gotten as far as it has. He was a fan. He got behind it, exposed it, and helped break a lot of these artists."
3. Gucci Crew II
"It was 240 Shorty and MC V, and Disco Rick who was also an artist and is over at King of Diamonds now. He was a producer and Gucci Crew was his group on Hot Productions. I live on the West Coast and I still hear 'Sally That Girl.' They came out of Miami and it spread like crazy. They were always real hard Miami representers who rapped about being rappers in Miami."
2. Poison Clan
"When they came out they were known as 'the baby 2 Live Crew,'" Pulles tells us, "like the younger version. JT Money and Debonair were high school friends and they formed that group and really put that street into the music. It wasn't gangster music, but it was real street music from Liberty City. They represented hard. First, they had 'Dance All Night,' and later on 'Shake What Yo Mamma Gave Ya,' which is still a strip club anthem to this day."
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1. 2 Live Crew
"To me," Jerry insists, "the 2 Live Crew with all four members is the ultimate in Miami booty bass. They're really important because, I kind of call 'em the architects of the sound. That uptempo 808 bass-heavy music and the dirty rhymes and chants from Luke is kinda like the blueprint. Even though only one of them is from Miami, they all had the UM jackets and they were repping Miami Heat and all that. They represented Miami really hard. The sound, the uptempo beats, the bass, the chants, and the Miami pride is what makes 2 Live Crew the greatest. 'Get It Girl,' and 'Throw That D' are both timeless."