Miami is slowly building a name for itself as one of the great music cities in the U.S., but the 305 has been an under-the-radar favorite for decades.
Pop, rap, R&B, and rock superstars come to Miami to escape the spotlight and the grind. They can get their party on and they can also hit up one of our hidden top-of-the-line recording studios to make magic happen. There's tons of inspiration, from the sun and sand to the beautiful people, delicious food, and melding cultures.
You may know Fleetwood Mac visited Miami to record Rumours, and maybe you even know about the Eagles coming here to make Hotel California, but we're pretty sure you had no idea that our city helped make these ten contemporary classics.
See also: Miami's Ten Best Recording Studios
Missy Elliott's The Cookbook
Everyone misses Missy. She's been gone for too long. But did you know her classic 2005 The Cookbook was mostly recorded in Miami? In an interview with Billboard, Elliott says the album is her greatest work. She was in "a really great space" at the time -- and that space, of course, was the Magic City. The Cookbook was nominated for Best Rap Album at the Grammys, but it lost to Kanye West's Late Registration. She did, however, win the Best Short Form Music Video category at the Grammys for "Lose Yourself."
Creed's My Own Prison
If you've been keeping up with recent pop gossip, you're probably aware that Creed frontman Scott Stapp is allegedly losing his damn mind, running around without a shirt in Boca Raton. What you may not be aware of, however, is that Creed's My Own Prison was recorded right here in the 305. It was the angry Christian band's debut and included such inescapable megahits as "One" and "What's This Life For." According to an interview with manager Jeff Hanson, it was recorded for $6,000 and moved 6,000 units in the first two months in Florida alone. Eventually, the album sold over six million copies.
Limp Bizkit's Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water
Another Florida band, Limp Bizkit, was at the top of its game in 2000 when this record was unleashed. It should win an award for worst name ever, but it's actually listed in the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die. The song "Hot Dog" features the word "fuck" exactly 46 times and parodies a bunch of classic Nine Inch Nails joints. It also includes covers of the Who and Guns N' Roses, as well as huge original hits like "Take a Look Around" (from the Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack) and "My Way." Oh, and c'mon, don't act like you've forgotten that whole goofy "Rollin'" dance.
Gwen Stefani's Sweet Escape
There's no doubt that Love. Angel. Music. Baby. is Gwen Stefani's best solo album. But the follow-up, Sweet Escape, was recorded in Miami, so we guess it's OK too. This record was mostly made of leftovers from the writing sessions for L.A.M.B., and even though it got mixed reviews, Stefani's sophomore effort still yielded hits. You know what else is interesting? The cover for this album was inspired by Elvira Hancock. You know, Michelle Pfeiffer's cocaine-addicted character from Scarface. Very Miami, indeed.
Beyoncé's Dangerously in Love
It's tough to remember when Beyoncé wasn't referred to as American royalty. But once upon a time, she was just the most famous member of Destiny's Child. In 2003, though, she broke free from girl groupdom and headed for Miami to record her solo debut, and the world of pop music literally changed forever. Dangerously in Love had five hit singles. That's insane. This is undoubtedly one of the best music recording moments in Miami history. All hail Queen Bey.
Pharrell's In My Mind / G.I.R.L.
Maybe this isn't so surprising, considering Pharrell has lived in Miami for years now. Originally, he made a name for himself as one-half of the Neptunes production duo, and he only got bigger when he became the frontman of N.E.R.D., but something tells us that he's a bit fame hungry, since he kept shuffling into the spotlight until he was just Pharrell. That's pretty funny, because a few months before In My Mind's release, he was all like, "I'm a producer, not an artist." Sure, he's kind of a misogynist (see 2013's "Blurred Lines"), but we would be full of crap if we didn't admit "Can I Have It Like That" is one of our favorite songs. And "Number One" featuring Kanye West takes us back too.
Britney Spears' Blackout
Real Britney fans (fierce gay dudes) will tell you this is the best album Britney Spears ever made. Most other people hardly remember it. Instead, they remember when Spears shaved her head, divorced Federline, walked around public gas station bathrooms without shoes on, drove with her baby between her and the steering wheel, and did other insane pop gossip shit. It should come as no surprise that this was the Spears album recorded partially in Miami. We love you, Brit.
Jay Z' Kingdom Come
The haters say Jay was never the same after he came out of retirement. And even Jay ranks Kingdom Come as his worst album. But we still think it's great. Lead single "Show Me What You Got" is infectious. "Lost One" is one of our favorite Jay Z songs ever. And "30 Something" inspires hustlers to grow older and wiser. Kingdom Come almost won Best Rap Album at the Grammys, but Jay lost to protégé Kanye West and Graduation Day. The Throne was ascended.
See also: Five Richest Rappers of 2014
R. Kelly's R. Kelly
R&B is super pop now, but it used to be for the grown and sexy. R. Kelly may have a problem with the grown part, but he has no issue getting things steamy in the studio. He hit our shores when working on his self-titled sophomore album, which is pretty dank. It's like the shit your parents would have touched each other to in the late '90s, and it helped Kelly win a BMI award for Songwriter of the Year. School dances were probably full of this shit, too.
The Weeknd's Kiss Land
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This is probably the coolest album ever based on a science fiction movie. In case you don't get the "Tears in the Rain" reference, it's based on Blade Runner, which is itself very loosely based on the Philip K. Dick book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Though Kiss Land is technically the Weeknd's debut full-length, his Trilogy EP collection should probably count. In our opinion, the Weeknd is the sexiest melancholic man to ever roam the Earth, and everything about this album is fantastic. We like it even more now that we know it has a Miami connection. Viva los sad boys!
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