Miami’s music scene is as diverse as the city itself, from Cuban and Latino music to the contemporary genres of Southern Rap, Miami Bass, Soundcloud Rap, and Electronic Dance Music. Let’s explore the soundtrack of Miami, from its humble origins to where it is now (and where to catch the hottest live acts in the city).

Musical History

Situated in Southern Florida, Miami was the ultimate destination for thousands of Cuban and Latino settlers. After the Cuban Revolution, nearly 500,000 Cuban immigrants settled in Miami, forever changing the culture and music of the city. Cubans brought conga and rumba, Dominicans brought bachata and merengue, Colombians brought vallenato and cumbia, Brazilians brought samba, and people of the West Indies and Carribbean brought reggae, soca, calypso, and steel pan music to Miami’s shores. Popular Miami-based acts like Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine helped catapult the Cuban sound to the masses and the city became the hub of Latin American Music in the United States. So much so, that MTV Latin America has been operating out of Miami for nearly three decades and Little Havana’s Calle Ocho Music Festival continues to be the largest Hispanic fest in the nation.

That’s not to say that the musical genre diversity stops there. In fact, local recording studios like Criteria Studios and TK Records put out top selling albums in the 60s and 70s from James Brown, classic rock groups like Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, and Bee Gees and disco greats such as KC and the Sunshine Band, Foxy, and George McCrae.

Miami continues to be a breeding ground for talented musicians. The city’s music scene has evolved and mutated to include new eclectic genres, further making Miami a driving force in the world of music.

Modern Music

Miami’s renowned nightlife is fueled by Electronic Dance Music (EDM). Starting in the 70s with disco, Miami’s EDM eventually adopted the sounds and beats of different cultures coming from Cuba, Haiti, and other Afro-Caribbean cultures. The city’s dance scene began to get noticed immediately, followed by a boom in the 90s where DJs and producers helped local nightclubs explode in popularity. EDM festivals like the week-long Winter Music Conference (held in Miami since 1985) and Ulta are among the most well known festivals devoted to the genre.

Hip-hop and its sub genres have thrived in Miami. Miami Bass rose to prominence in the 80s and 90s, featuring a bass-heavy style of hip-hop and raised tempos from artists like 2 Live Crew, 95 South, Tag Team, 69 Boyz, Quad City DJ’s, and Freak Nasty. The city also became a center and driving force in Southern Rap in the 90s. Arising from influences in hip-hop culture in NYC and California, Southern Rap artists like Pitbull, Trick Daddy, Flo Rida, and Rick Ross all hail from Southern Florida. Miami Soundcloud Rap artists like Lil Pump, Smokepurrp, and the late XXXTentacion, and the annual Rolling Loud Festival have only ensured that Miami’s groundbreaking music scene is here to stay.

Want to catch Miami’s hottest live acts? From where to get your latin music fix to the most anticipated concerts coming to town this season, stay up to date with our Blog for all of our music recommendations. Keep up with us by following the WPH Instagram. Stay and save! Check out our special offers and book your next getaway to SoBe at Washington Park Hotel.