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Miami's Top Ten Underground Rap and Hip-Hop Acts

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New Yorkers still think they run hip hop. Canadians say, "It ain't dead. It lives in the North." L.A. radio plays more Pitbull than we do. Houston is still leaning off a never-ending cup of codeine. NOLA's doing it in the dark. Philly, Detroit, and Chi-Town are mad because it's winter.

In Miami, though, we're in shorts and a hoodie, kicking it with 70-degree weather and palm trees. The world has been looking to the 305 for street heat since before the first block party in the Bronx.

Here are ten groups and artists goin' hard in the MIA right now.

10. NoEmotion Goldmask

This one-man Wu Tang Clan raps like Mitch Hedberg choke-slamming Don Francisco through the afterlife. Recent live shows include an opening set for Blowfly. His slow-pitched vocals, and infinite punchline scheme kill on record, and he's one video away from blowing up the Internets. Download Jungle Fever 5000

9. J. Nics

His signature polar bear flow and storytelling rap style puts his life to music without sounding fake or made up. His Southern Niggas Ain't Slow: The Tribute tape puts his voice over classic tracks by Master P, Outkast, and Three-Six Mafia. Look out for his next release, all original music, The Product.

8. Llamabeats

This crew makes Dade County house party music with a heavy Sublime influence. In the past year, you may have seen these Miami rockaz at La Covacha in Doral, Midtown's Bardot, Kill Your Idol on South Beach, or downtown's Eve doing campaign fundraising with Uncle Luke. Their recordings feature live instrumentation, samples, and songs about drinking. Download "Don't Show This To Anyone."

7. Serum and Manifesto

Straight-up New York City-sounding, 1995-style hip-hop with heavy lyrics and apocalyptic raps over dope instrumentals. This is graffiti head, backpack, skateboard, big headphones on the Metrobus kinda shit. Download The S&M Project

6. MC Jumanji

Catch this party MC rapping his head off at The Vagabond for monthly dubstep throwdown Get Low. Even with a rolling bass apocalypse rumbling through your skull, you'll still hear Jumanji's free-form, improvised lyrics rapped loud and clear enough to understand every word.

5. Wrekonize

This !Mayday! band member isn't just a battle rap champion, his solo tracks ring out on one of the most trafficked radio stations in the country. Catch "Mayday and Chardonnay" on DJ Entice's rush-hour mixshow. Wrek's triple-time wordplay blasts faster than a tech-9 gone fully automatic.

4. Garcia

Straight outta Kendall, reppin' Crazy Hood, and putting out new music since 1996, Garcia is still rappin' hungry. The past year has seen his aggression unleashed over Rage Against the Machine instrumentals and his upcoming Off The Beaten Path EP features a roster of Miami heads including Noreaga and Omniscient. Download Rage Against the Scene.

3. Gunplay

Just because he's backed by Rick Ross doesn't make Gunplay mainstream. This Carol City chico's rapid-fire, hard-liquor, molly, choppers, and blunts flow pays bloody tribute to the street life and its consequences. Download Inglorious Basterds.

2. Jimmy Dade

Pirate radio loves him. So do the strip clubs. This business shark also licenses music to corporations like MTV. He hails from North Miami, shouting out Brown Sub, Little Haiti, and "zoes" everywhere with his music. His hooks and structures are sharper than a razor and stronger than reef rock.

1. Ice Billion Berg

This self-made South Dade lyrical monster has a dedicated fanbase built on mixtapes, heavy regional hustling, and viral videos. He follows the R&B touring traditions of the south by rocking clubs in every corner of the FLA. Trick Daddy put him on when he was still in high school. Now the youngster's rapping like he's got an old soul. Download: Mr. Live 2.5.

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Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


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