It’s easy to shove Miami music into a corner. Perhaps you think it’s all Latin rhythms or DJs in big, loud clubs. But the music in Miami, like the city itself, is stunningly diverse.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best songs Miami musicians have released this year. The list covers a spectrum that boomerangs from experimental electronic to hip-hop to Latin and everything in between. Looking back at the year, we couldn’t be prouder of our city.
15. Basside, "QLCL (Birthday Sex and Cheap Champagne)."
It's easy to dismiss Carolina Villalba and Linda Attias' on-again, off-again project Basside as a cheap Miami bass knock off. (In fact, readers let that be known in what was one of our most vitriolic comment section of the year when we called the music video for "QLCL" the most Miami thing we've ever seen.) Still, the duo isn't pretending to be something they aren't apart from two Miami girls who grab inspiration from acts like L'Trimm and Avenue D (which, funny enough, feature Attias' sister, Debbie). So take "QLCL" for what it is: a celebration of all of Miami's greatest low-brow attributes. — By Jose D. Duran
14. Deaf Poets, “Degenerate Mind."
The name Deaf Poets carries heavy weight in the 305’s music scene. But this year, the Miami Beach rockers reached a whole ‘nother level of fame thanks to their 2015 single “Degenerate Mind” getting featured on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5. “I grew up playing that video game, so I never thought this would happen,” drummer Nico Espinosa told New Times back when the news broke this fall. “I even read an article that said Tony Hawk picked the songs himself.” From the looks of it, Hawk not only has mad skater skills, but a pretty good ear for music too. And who can blame him? “Degenerate Mind” is the kind of track that’ll make you want to stand up and flip a table just because. — By Laurie Charles
13. Virgo, “ISS.”
Elizabeth Ann Clark’s brand of future pop is one of the most exciting things coming out of the Magic City these days. “ISS” is a pulsating cut with droning vocals that just slightly soar above the beat; it’s the perfect introduction to her angelic, if a bit robotic, take on dance music. The track churns nonstop through peaks and valleys that keep things interesting as Clark insists, “I don’t want to know.” Rest assured that in 2016, everyone will want to know about Virgo. — By Jose D. Duran
12. IndigochildRick, "Retribution."
"When I come back, I'll have a present for you, bye," said IndigochildRick as he left his social media accounts vacant. The 19-year-old rapper shut down his social media presence for reasons unknown, but promised bangers when he came back. He didn't lie. Rick gifted us with "Retribution" in February, ending his year-long hiatus. The heavy metal influence combined with lyrics you wouldn't dare say around your mother make this track an instant South Florida favorite. — By Cristina Jerome
11. Plastic Pinks ft. AJ Dávila, "Fiel A Mi."
Rock en español sometimes gets a bad wrap for sounding a tad outdated. Plastic Pinks, though, teeter on that Spanish rock influence with an awareness of what's currently happening. That's why their garage rock ballad "Fiel A Mi" works so well. Featuring Puerto Rican rocker AJ Dávila, the track bursts with a sort of West Coast brightness that is rarely found in these swampy parts. If the Plastic Pinks keep churning out tracks like these, Miami could finally find a spot in the stable of American garage acts and rock en español could finally shake off that stale flavor. — By Jose D. Duran
10. Poorgrrrl, “Super Rude (co-prod. by ILLA, feat. Jenee).”
Tara Long’s performance-art project, Poorgrrrl, is bringing future beat to Miami. The third song off her first EP, Pitiparti, feels like a trippy, bass-fueled romp into Miami’s underworld — or just an average rush-hour drive on U.S. 1. Basically, this song can get you through some shit. Poorgrrrl squeaks “aliens” and “Billy Murray,” while Jenee throws down lyrical truth à la Junglepussy. She might be in a pretty bad mood, but rest assured, Poorgrrrl will keep the pussy popping. — By Alexandra Martinez
9. Afrobeta, “Dream About You.”
Afrobeta is our little secret, a band you probably aren’t familiar with unless you live in Miami. The group, made up of Tony Smurphio and Cuci Amador, has been doing its thing in the 305 since 2006. This year, Afrobeta released its most adorable song to date, “Dream About You.” The melody flows like a creek in a forest full of dancing fairies, while Amador croons about a long-lost love. The group even got its 91-year-old neighbor to star in the video as an older Amador. Please hold while our hearts melt. — By Ryan Pfeffer
8. DJ Khaled, “How Many Times.”
Well into his career, Khaled is still putting together collaborations that simply no one else could. His latest album, I Changed a Lot, features some of the world’s top hip-hop artists, including Jay Z, Rick Ross, Fetty Wap, Future, and Jeremih. For one of the album’s most popular tracks, “How Many Times,” Khaled recruited Big Sean, Chris Brown, and Lil Wayne to help him ask, “How many times I gotta tell that ass to come over?” The song is everything we love about Khaled — big, flashy, at times ridiculous, but always catchy. Khaled is peaking right now, and the world is slowly realizing what Miami has known for some time: DJ Khaled is a national treasure. — By Ryan Pfeffer
7. Venus Amor, "dreamTIME"
Venus Amor turns dreams into reality with her single "dreamTIME." The R&B princess made her debut earlier this year and has been on a role ever since. Her sweet, but sultry voice captures the soul of your Man Crush Monday while giving you plenty of fuel for your Woman Crush Wednesday. Equipped with her producer iamFRDK and the Miami blog scene, dreamTIME continues to find itself on playlist after playlist. The 19-year-old singer may not be consistent with her look, but she is with her music. — By Cristina Jerome
6. LunchMoney Lewis, “Bills.”
The son of reggae legend Ian Lewis of Inner Circle, LunchMoney Lewis broke out in 2015 with his infectious ode to adult responsibility. Who knew a song about paying bills could make you smile? For a genre that’s lately been dominated by pelvis, Lewis injected some much-needed wholesome fun into pop with this one. “Bills” is one of those bouncy tunes that’ll make you smile whether you realize it or not, which would explain why everyone at Starbucks is staring at you while you grin at your biscotti. We all got bills, but hey, at least we’re in it together. — By Ryan Pfeffer
5. LTENGHT feat. B.Wav, “Get Into Something.”
Peachfuzz was your girl’s favorite party, and by extension, party master DZA is your girl’s favorite DJ. So we’ve got good news for your girl: DZA and his best buddies just started a label — Rearview Records — and it’ll pump out nothing but Miami-made jams of the highest caliber. Leading the roster comes this incredibly catchy anthem, perfect for kicking off your night and peak hour alike. The first time I heard this track, I sat and listened to it probably four times in one hour. It’s sexy, it’s bouncy, and it’s full of 305 attitude. It has a throwback feel in the vein of Technotronic’s “Pump Up the Jam,” with a decidedly modern futurehouse edge. It’s, like, the perfect song. Bravo, DZA — three cheers to LTENGHT and B.Wav, and a big huzzah for the Miami music scene. — By Kat Bein
4. Denzel Curry, “Ultimate.”
Ask Germans to name Miami rappers, and they’ll reel off Rick Ross, Flo Rida, and — god forbid — Pitbull. Despite the last’s claim to cosmopolitanism, Miami’s hip-hop scene has barely rippled across the Atlantic. So imagine my surprise when, a few months ago, I heard Denzel Curry’s “Ultimate” blasting from some speakers in a small park in Berlin. The city, having a heat wave, sweated heavy air. With no A/C, most residents took beers and a blanket to the park, ducked under trees, and waited out the daylight. One group of 20-somethings brought a boombox with them. After a stream of German rap tracks, the distinctive, demonic opening chords to “Ultimate” cut across the grass and, for a moment, I wondered where I was — until I heard the Germans bellow, “I am ze one, don’t vey a ton/Don’t need a gun to get respect on ze street!” — By Dyllan Furness
3. Hound da God feat. Fudakochi, “Dangerous Mindz.” (Track 7 above.)
Overtown has never been properly recognized for its artistic and cultural contribution to Miami. The attention has always gone elsewhere, toward brighter lights and shinier things. Maybe that’ll change. Maybe it won’t. But Hound da God won’t just sit idly by while others take credit for this city’s sound. The 33-year-old Overtown rapper released his latest album, NiGGodz, this December. The LP sees Hound, born Gary Black, stick to his message of education and empowerment through his unmistakable flow — think Trick Daddy meets Tupac. On the album’s seventh track, “Dangerous Mindz,” fellow Overtown musician Fudakochi jumps in to end the song on the funkiest of notes. Quality like this won’t see Hound da God overlooked much longer. — By Ryan Pfeffer
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2. Rick Ross, “Foreclosures.”
Twenty-fifteen was a year of controversy for Rick Ross. He was arrested twice, once on a minor marijuana charge and again two weeks later on much more serious charges of aggravated assault and kidnapping. And though his legal drama will carry into 2016, Ross ended the year on a powerful note with his latest album, Black Market, an LP that sees his best work in years. But before he dropped Black Market on us, Ross gave us a taste of what was to come with his single “Foreclosures.” Released September 10, a few months after his arrest, “Foreclosures” showed us a less flashy, slightly sullen Ross. He was battered but resilient. Ross raps over a beat that pounds and recedes like a painful wave of rosé and tears, and for the first time in his career, he sees his empire in jeopardy. The song marked a lyrical pivot for Ross, one we hope doesn’t stop anytime soon. — By Ryan Pfeffer
1. Camila Luna, “Flamboyán.”
It’s been a landmark year for Camila Luna. She not only graduated with a degree in poetry from the University of Miami but also nabbed a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Pop/Rock Album for her debut Spanish-language EP, Flamboyán. Written by la cantante herself and produced by Jose Luis Pardo of Los Amigos Invisibles, the EP was officially released in 2014. However, it wasn’t until this year that Luna’s música was discovered by the industry at large, thanks to her Latin Grammy nod. Best described as a mix of smooth, tropical vibes with a touch of reggae, Luna’s acoustic guitar and soft voice are the main instruments on the title track, “Flamboyán.” But in simplicity — the music video for her single “Flamboyán” was filmed using her iPhone in her grandmother’s backyard in Puerto Rico — is where the singer shines. And although Luna didn’t take home el premio for Best Pop/Rock Album this year, judging by her 2015 success, the future looks strikingly bright for this Miami girl. — By Laurie Charles