Believe it or not, there was once an era in which Miami artists were not respected outside of Florida. Back in 2010, Uncle Luke recalled a time when New York acts like Eric B. & Rakim would denounce his pioneer rap group 2 Live Crew and boycott their shows.
"We were dealing with the perception [that] we were not really in the hip-hop game," Luke told The Miami New Times eight years ago. "To this day, many in this community still don't want to give me props. They don't want to recognize Miami as the birthplace of Southern rap music. But it was born and raised in the county of Dade."
In 2018, it’s highly doubtful that the rap game is still sleeping on rappers from the 305, especially with the influx of talent that has risen to prominence in the past few years—artists like XXXTentacion, City Girls, Ski Mask The Slump God and Kodak Black. Miami is home to a plethora of diverse, skilled lyricists with influence from all around the world. Four out of nine 2018 XXL Freshmen hail from South Florida. Even the epic hip-hop festival Rolling Loud was made in Dade County.
With all of the amazing acts that have made it out of SoFlo, there are still a batch of rising artists whose music is making noise in the e-streets with less than 20,000 followers on social media. XXL rounds up a dozen flourishing acts that you should know from Miami.
Hometown: Opa-Locka, Fla.
Notable Songs: “Scared,” “Camera On”
Sounds Like: A bluesy lyricist with vocals like J. Cole.
Why You Need To Know Him: Students on college campuses everywhere crave relatable artists who stray away from the mainstream sound. Bushy B definitely meets those prerequisites. Not only is he a student at Florida Memorial University in Miami, but the Live House Music rapper also makes hard-hitting music that doesn’t thrive on mainstream radio spins.
After dropping his debut mixtape Cursed By The Gift in 2016, Bushy stayed true to his grind by crafting more refreshing bars and soulful vocals for projects like W241, which features popular songs like “Scared” and “Put It On Me” with MajorNine, and his latest solo effort HBCU, which stands for Heart Breaks Causes Understanding.
Earlier this month, Bushy delivered another project with veteran Miami rapper and label mate Ice Billion Berg called Real Lifers. The 13-track project allows Bushy B to flex his knack for cooking up catchy hooks and coherent verses alongside other MC’s like 64 Chris, Chief Pound and DJ Screach.
Hometown: North Miami Beach, Fla.
Notable Songs: “Goin Thru It,” “How You Like Me Now”
Sounds like: The Haitian Wale.
Why You Need To Know Him: FloKid has been on the grind for the past six years and counting, but now he’s finally getting the shine he deserves. The North Miami Beach native doesn’t serve up the typical druggy party records. Instead, FloKid brings his past transgressions and struggles to life over somber beats on songs like “Crooks.” He also delivers records that have the power to heal the mind and soul like “Typical” and “Long Live Joz,” which is an ode to his late brother.
Recently, FloKid dropped his Lil Jo-Z: A VP Story mixtape, which is a featureless, nine-track project that flexes all of his musical abilities. The project is available exclusively on YouTube.
Notable Songs: “Broken Silence,” “50 Shades”
Sounds Like: The musical love child of Rick Ross and Foxy Brown.
Why You Need To Know Her: Miami is the home of several notable women in hip-hop, artists like Trina, City Girls, Brianna Perry, and We The Best’s Steph Lecor. Yet Hood Brat is doing the most to stand out from her 305 counterparts.
After dropping two projects with her former group The Stepsisters, Hood Brat embarked on a solo career last year with a self-titled mixtape. "50 Shades" is an impressive display of her gritty bars, yet the Dade County rhymer can bust a smooth tune that'll make anyone get up and dance like in “Stuck On You.”
Sounds Like: Florida’s version of Travis Scott.
Why You Need To Know Him: No South Florida festival or club stage is safe from Johnny Oz. As soon as crowd favorites like “So Stupid” or “Amigo” start blaring from speakers, the Broward County native instantly takes full control of the crowd and incites a riot.
Oz hit the ground running when he dropped his hyperactive debut project Do Right Under Gods Sun (D.R.U.G.S) in 2015. In the past three years, Oz has worked with beat makers like super producer Zaytoven and Jimmy Duval (who's also produced for XXXTentacion and Trippie Redd). He’s graced every major festival in the South, including Rolling Loud and Okeechobee Festival.
Last year, Oz dropped his Dead Man Walking EP, which features the standout single “Shameless,” featuring R Don, and the bass-heavy bedroom banger, “Gold Medusa.” Earlier this month, he released “On Sight (Kill Vicky),” which is a diss track towards Vic Mensa after the Chicago artist's jab at XXXTentacion during the 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards cypher.
Hometown: North Miami, Fla.
Sounds Like: The musical offspring of Wyclef and Drake.
Why You Need To Know Him: Any avid rap fan in South Florida will tell you that Marvin Beauville a.k.a. Kiddo Marv is making a mark in Miami hip-hop and the Haitian community with every record he drops. Kiddo—an acronym for Kings In Denial Don't Overcome—is known for throwing down impactful bars and unique vocals over a wide range of instrumentals from upbeat, island-inspired melodies to hardcore, street bangers.
Back in 2015, Kiddo dropped his debut mixtape Dying 2 Live with standout singles like “Just Vibe” and “Mind My Business.” Since then, the North Miami lyricist has catered to women with infectious joints like “Watch Me” featuring MMG’s Sam Sneak and Zoey Dollaz, and his most recent viral single “Real Drip,” which features Major Nine and City Girls.
Hometown: Liberty City, Fla.
Notable Songs: “Love Me While I’m Here,” “Party Party,” “10 Toes Down”
Sounds Like: He could be the sixth member of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
Why You Need To Know Him: The name Lil Dred will sound familiar if you’re a fan of Ball Greezy. The Liberty City rapper has been dropping music since 2014, but gained more notoriety when he hopped on Ball Greezy’s viral single, “Nice & Slow.” Since then, Dred (Dreams Really Evolve Daily), has been relentlessly dropping projects like Are You Still Down?, LL Cool Dred and his popular mixtape series City Life. Along with Ball Greezy, Dred has also worked with OG’s like JT Money, Desloc Piccalo and Ice Billion Berg as well as newer artists like Yung Simmie, YD and Mike Smiff.
In October, Dred dropped his newest project City Life 2, which describes his life growing up around all sorts of chaos in Dade County. Dred is making sure that he and Team Dred eats for the rest of their lives.
Hometown: West Palm Beach, Fla.
Notable Songs: “Black In America,” “El Captain”
Sounds Like: A lyrical student of Mobb Deep and Little Brother.
Why You Need To Know Him: Malc Stewy doesn’t like to label his craft, but he definitely isn’t down with making the jookin’ or mumble rap music for which Florida has become famous. Hailing from Boynton Beach, Stewy is one of the only rising artists in the Sunshine State that merges boom-bap with sounds from the trap. Although he’s been on the grind for the past two years, he’s already opened up for Cam’ron, Smoke DZA, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, dead prez, Flatbush Zombies, Gunplay and Kevin Gates.
After dropping his first EP Turn On The Lights in 2016, Stewy recently followed up with his first album, The Stew, which features Smoke DZA, Zoey Dollaz, Eric Biddines and more.
Hometown: Richmond Heights, Fla.
Notable Songs: “Chase Dis Money,” “Now," “Still”
Sounds Like: The gatekeeper of Miami’s OG street anthems.
Why You Need To Know Him: In an era where viral rappers from Florida have elevated to the top of the charts via mumble raps, Mike Smiff sticks to the Dade County sound that originally put Miami on the map.
Smiff has been heralded as Trick Daddy’s protégé. Last year, the latest signee to Miami’s Slip-N-Slide Records dropped his breakthrough mixtape Chase Dis Money, which features Ice Billion Berg and MMG’s Sam Sneak.
A couple months later, he landed on Trick Daddy and Trina’s comeback single “Paradise,” and even appeared on Love & Hip Hop: Miami with Trick. Keep an eye on Mike Smiff online and on TV.
Notable Songs: “Jumping Out The Jet,” “Bank Roll”
Sounds Like: A Dominican trap star.
Why You Need To Know Him: Ocho Sneak is the newest MC to make a name for himself in the 305. Shortly after dropping his mixtape Hunger Story, the Traktion Music/Roc Nation rapper impacted the scene with his Tay Keith-produced smash, “Jumpin’ Out The Jet.” The song instantly went viral and even inspired the #JumpingOutTheJet challenge. Yet, less than a month later, 6ix9ine dropped his Bobby Shmurda collaboration “Stoopid,” which uses the same Tay Keith beat. After both teams for Sneak and 6ix9ine agreed to let the “Gummo” rapper use the beat, Sneak has moved on to push his latest singles “Bank Roll” and “Love The Way I Drip,” both of which are equally dope.
Hometown: North Miami, Fla.
Notable Songs: “Play That Funk” “Keef Sweat” “Finessin”
Sounds Like: Miami’s version of Wiz Khalifa.
Why You Need To Know Him: Among the sea of cloud rappers in the city, Prez P does well to separate himself from the average stoner MC that raps about weed. The North Miami native broke out on to the scene with his 2012 project DreamSucceeDie, and has been dropping melodic, cannabis-friendly bangers ever since. He’s worked with an array of Miami’s young rap stars like Lunch Money Lewis, Denzel Curry, Twelve’Len, N3ll, MMG’s DJ Sam Sneak, Sylvan LaCue and plenty more. Recently, Prez released his fifth mixtape, Prezidential, which features his well-known single “Play That Funk” featuring Travie Bowe. Produced by Showoff Beats, the song went on to be featured on the soundtrack of the Oscar-award winning film, Moonlight.
Hometown: Opa-Locka, Fla.
Notable Songs: “Dance With Me,” “3 Ways,” “Who Run It”
Sounds Like: Cardi B and Fetty Wap.
Why You Need To Know Her: V Stuck can seamlessly ride any beat you put into her ears. For the last four years, the Opa-Locka native has been dishing out a series of fresh freestyles and unique singles that can’t be replicated. She’s won over a select few Miami legends over the years, like Arsonal Da Rebel and Ice Billion Berg, both of whom have collaborated with her with in the past year.
Her latest EP VDay allows people to see her softer side with smooth verses alongside a handful of various features like singer Ronnie VOP, Dade County veteran Brisco, Lovely Jade, and Kidd Wil. Her latest single, “Dance With Me,” stays true to her Miami roots, and so does the official video.
Hometown: Opa-Locka, Fla.
Notable Songs: “Finna Hit My Walk” “Nonchalant” “Feel Like”
Sounds Like: The spawn of Uncle Luke.
Why You Need To Know Him: Miami’s jookin scene has been under the spotlight throughout the past decade thanks to Miami icons Ice Billion Berg, MMG’s Sam Sneak, and DJ Khaled (who grabbed Drake for his Grateful smash, “To The Max.”) Yet the future of Dade County’s jookin’ sound lies in the hands of Yung Gordon. Two years ago, Gordon hit the dance floor with his mixtape Bossin’ Up, which includes his standout single, “Finna Hit My Walk.” The song has been lighting up nightclubs, radio mixes and house parties ever since.
Within the last year, Gordon’s single “Pon It” was featured in the Netflix original film The After Party, and his “Bobble Walk” was featured in Starz’s Warriors of Liberty City. There’s no telling what to expect from Yung Gordon, but just know that whatever he’s got coming up will likely be great enough to make a national impact.