On January 20, DJs paid homage to their compadres around the world with energetic, amplified mixes in honor of National DJ Appreciation Day. The role of a disc jockey has become more intricate and coveted than ever before, especially in the digital arena, where music connoisseurs can learn Serato and dub themselves world-renowned DJs in less than a day. In hip-hop, a real DJ has the power to control the room with mind-altering selections, break rising artists with a game-changing record, and/or convince the audience their selections are the hottest songs ever.
In Miami, DJs have blessed the airwaves for years. There's no comparing the careers of revered celebrities like Mr. Mixx of 2 Live Crew, skilled boom-bap curator DJ Heron, and De La Soul's DJ Maseo, who has lived and performed in South Florida for over a decade. Before he evolved from a radio jock into a global phenomenon, DJ Khaled began by breaking records on Mixx 96; he moved on to become the voice of 99 JAMZ alongside a slew of local mixers like DJ Nasty (305), DJ Epps, DJ Irie, DJ Entice, and DJ EFN, whose Drink Champs podcast features legendary hip-hop artists from around the country.
As we get settled into 2017, there's a handful of seasoned DJs who are finally starting to reap the benefits of their struggles. At the same time, there's a new generation, and it's time you know who they are.
Don't wait for the Global Spin Awards to tell you who's hot and who's not. Here are ten Miami hip-hop DJs who are planning valuable moves.
1. DJ Lucky C
DJ Lucky C has been making his name known since the Jam Squad arrived on South Florida’s hip-hop scene. As one of G5’s valuable DJs, Lucky C spreads music from Miami’s rising stars like Sam Sneak and Zoey Dollaz. He’s also hosted several projects from Dade County rappers such as Miami Tip. Since joining 99 JAMZ before the end of 2016, the
2. DJ Smokey
Over the years, DJ Smokey has loyally served Miami's Poe Boy Music Group as the go-to mixer. Within the last year or so, Smokey has evolved from a trusted jock for his label mate Billy Blue into a curator of the new wave of Miami hip-hop. He has collaborated with some of Dade’s prominent lyricists — from Zoey Dollaz to Ice Billion Berg. In the new year, Smokey will continue to break records on Strong Arm Radio, and pop up around Wynwood, downtown Miami, and South Beach.
3. DJ Hercules
Hercules knows how to get any party started. Since her days on Owl Radio at FAU, the Broward native has been keeping the airwaves hot with her soulful Caribbean mixes and epic throwback playlists. After graduation, Hercules moved on to become the first female mixer at 99 JAMZ; she has been turning up the heat with her weekly Ultimate Midday Mixes ever since. You can usually find her at venues like Brick in Wynwood and
4. Stevie J
If you’ve ever partied at LIV in Miami Beach, then you already know Stevie J. He’s the man posted up at the DJ booth with close friends like Lil Wayne, Fabolous, and a crew of other rappers. Every weekend for the last decade, Stevie J has played both locally and around the country. After starting on 103.5 the Beat, the Miami resident has dropped two major singles in the last year, “Heard Ah That” with Migos and “It Only Happens in Miami” featuring Young Dolph, Zoey Dollaz, and Trick Daddy. While he may be wrapping up his forthcoming album, the word on the street is he’s also set to make an appearance in a reality show soon. By the end of 2017, people around the country won’t be asking, "Who Is Stevie J?"
5. DJ E Feezy
As a nationally renowned heavy hitter, DJ E Feezy has made a career out of breaking records and keeping the crowd
6. DJ Mauricio
Miami has been lit with the sounds of Mr. Mauricio for the last 15 years, but this year is different. Since 103.5 the Beat was revived in 2013, Mauricio has been holding South Florida down with mixes every afternoon alongside Papa Keith. Last year, Mauricio hit us with his first major single, “Paper Plates,” featuring Rick Ross, Yo Gotti, and Troy Ave, and dropped the official video shortly afterward. The record spread like wildfire throughout the state and, eventually, around the country..
7. DJ Meat
There’s no way you can speak about Miami DJs without bringing DJ Meat into the conversation. Born and raised in the county of Dade, Meat, who was born Mario Forrester, maintained residencies at Miami’s top adult nightclubs, from King of Diamonds to G5. In 2007, Slip-N-Slide Records recruited him to become the official DJ, and he’s been ascending ever since. His trademark mixtape series, Stamped N Da Streetz, has not only spotlighted plenty of underground rappers from South Florida, but it has also served as the name of his internet radio station. Last year, Meat celebrated the release of the 20th volume of his series with a playlist of the hottest records of 2016. In 2017, Meat will hopefully release the next installment of his mixtape series and an EP filled with brand-new, original music.
8. DJ Chino
DJ Chino has performed at Miami clubs for more than a decade, but now he’s Pitbull’s go-to DJ and a chart-topping producer. Since age 18, Chino has been creating unique hip-hop and Latin mixes at popular spots in Brickell and at South Beach's LIV. These days, as Mr. 305 Inc’s trusted DJ and producer, Chino has produced some of the most top-charting Latin records on the airwaves. One of them, "Ay Mi Dios" with Pitbull, Yandel, and Chacal, went number one on Billboard’s Latin Airplay chart in 2016. Not only has he been putting in crazy man-hours with label mates Bobby Biscayne and rapper Fuego, but he’s also crafting records for artists like Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez, and Becky G.
While there are plenty of women ruling the mainstream airwaves, only a few ladies run the underground scene — and DJ
10. KC Chopz
South Florida is more than familiar with KC Chopz. The former personality from Power 96 has gone above and beyond his job description as an on-air talent by hosting his own podcast, dabbling in production for his own songs featuring local artists like Bizzy Crook and Pleasure P, and breaking records from artists like We the Best's Kent Jones. Although the #NoFilter podcast has been on hiatus since last February, you can find
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.