Biscayne Bay, boats, and bottles are the three b's musicians use when filming videos in Miami. And though we've seen that formula time and time again, we can't deny the beauty the Magic City provides as a backdrop, regardless of how worn the Miami might may be. This list of the city's best music videos inevitably features those kinds of works, but we also aim to shine a light on those that highlight other corners of the 305, such as the Everglades and Little Haiti.
1. Drake, "God's Plan." If you weren't a Drake fan before, chances are the video for "God's Plan" turned you into one. And no matter how many times you watch the Miami-made video, you're bound to ugly-cry in the best way possible. The emotional video directed by Karena Evans, dubbed Best Music Video by New Times (though snubbed at the VMAs), captures Drake generously spreading the wealth around town. Instead of using the $966,631.90 his label budgeted on fancy whips and CGI for a flashy video, he used the money to make a lot of Miamians happy. From giving a student a $50,000 scholarship to the University of Miami, to buying everyone in Sabor Tropical Supermarket groceries, to sneaking up behind unsuspecting citizens and surprising them with stacks of cash, Drake displayed a kindness that makes you damn proud to be a resident of the Magic City.
2. Dua Lipa, "New Rules." Before you even think about picking up the phone when an ex calls, stop, drop, and hit play on this video for Dua Lipa's pop hit, "New Rules." In this empowering video shot at the Confidante in Miami Beach, Lipa's fierce-ass
3. Arcade Fire, "Signs of Life." Arcade Fire enlisted Miami's eclectic film collective Borscht Corp to direct the video for the single "Signs of Life," from the 2017 album Everything Now. The video features local actor Shariff Earp, artist Carly Mark, and Coral Morphologic's Colin Foord and Jared McKay, attempting to solve a mystery. "Really honored Arcade Fire reached out to us about making a video for ‘Signs of Life,’” Leyva told New Times last year. “Really happy they let us make an absurdist Miami New Wave X-Files shot in 16mm inspired by their funky song." You'll recognize local institutions Pérez Art Museum Miami and the Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as the Everglades. Leyva also shared with New Times that the UFO in front of PAMM
4. City Girls, "Period (We Live)." “City Girls from the 305/Ghetto booty, pretty face, thick thighs/Period!" the newest queens of the South proudly rap from the beach in the "Period (We Live)" music video, directed by Video God. If there's one thing Miami has right now, it's bragging rights. City Girls are making some of the best music emerging from the 305, and we're proud as hell. The duo's Yung Miami and the currently incarcerated JT pay homage to their hometown by riding Jet Skis, rapping in bikinis on the beach, and dancing in the streets with a marching band decked out in carnival costumes. Does it get more Miami than that? #FreeJT.
5. Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin, "I Like It." The 2018 MTV Video Music Award winner for Song of the Summer rightfully went to Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin's colorful video for "I Like It." Can a song even be dubbed a summer anthem if it wasn't shot in Miami? The bilingual Billboard chart-topping track, which samples Pete Rodriguez's 1967 song "I Like It Like That," features club scenes in the Little Havana mainstay Ball & Chain. The Calle Ocho club's co-owner Zack Bush told Miami.com: “We take great pride when some of today’s biggest stars show up at our historic venue in Little Havana. For years we would hear about celebrities on South Beach. Now the stars are venturing off the beaten Miami path to film and to hang and dance at this historic [place].”
6. DJ Khaled featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller, "Wild Thoughts." Miami ambassador DJ Khaled took over Little Haiti’s Caribbean Marketplace last year for "Wild Thoughts," directed by Collin Tilley. Dubbed by New Times as one of the best Miami songs of 2017, it samples Carlos Santana's 1999 hit "Maria Maria" and features Rihanna and Bryson Tiller. Nearly 20 years later, the sample still stands the test of time. Aside from Rihanna's impeccable wardrobe styling and overall presence, video highlights include Khaled's "salsa" dance moves and a cameo from
7. Trick Daddy and Trina featuring Ali Coyote, "Smooth Sailing." Trina and Trick Daddy are, in every respect, Miami royalty. For all of eternity, the city's best music videos will undoubtedly feature something from these two veterans, and any list without them is incomplete. On the track "Smooth Sailing," Ali Coyote croons, "Smooth sailing, smooth sailing/On the 95 sailing." Someone better tell him not to hop onto I-95 during rush hour. In an ode to Dade County, the video directed by Damian Fyffe features everything from dominoes to backyard parties and the picturesque Miami skyline. Then there's Trick Daddy and Trina drinking champagne on a yacht. It's Slip-N-Slide Records forever.
8. Taylor Swift featuring Ed Sheeran and Future, "End Game." Taylor sees your boat and raises you a megayacht with a pool on top. There's also partying on Biscayne Bay in downtown Miami and cruising on the neon-lit Ocean Drive. Miami, Tokyo, and London are all backdrops for "End Game," directed by Joseph Kahn. There's even a quick cameo by Miami's famous, weird dancing woman on the side of the InterContinental. "Big reputation, big reputation/Oh, you and me, we got big reputations/Ah, and you heard about me/Oh, I got some big enemies." Good luck getting that chorus out of your head.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
9. Jason Derulo and Maluma, "Colors." Miramar's Jason Derulo and Maluma took a trip to Florida International University’s Riccardo Silva Stadium for the remake of Coca-Cola’s official 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia anthem, "Colors." The uplifting bilingual song, shot on the Miami soccer field, celebrates unity and diversity. If there's one common language across the globe, it's sports.
10. Kaixen featuring Dvwez and Gaby G, “Wasting Time.” There's no shortage of big-budget, Miami-shot music videos showing someone popping bottles on a yacht. And although those videos represent the glitz and glamour of Miami to the rest of the world, they don't really rep the 305. Dubbed by New Times as one of the best Miami songs of 2017, the dreamy R&B track "Wasting Time" is about "the anxiety that comes with almost-relationships." By Miami producer Kaixen, the single features Gaby G (formerly known as Native Youth) and