DJ Khaled and Rick Ross attending the album release party for Rick Ross' Teflon Don at King of Diamonds in Miami (Photo by Vallery Jean/WireImage for Maybach Music Group)
Miami is on fire. From the international reach of home-grown superstar Pitbull (20 million singles sold worldwide, according to RCA Records) to the single-slinging hit machine Flo Rida (seven top 10s on the Billboard Hot 100, including two No. 1s) to the street-rap dominance of local heavy hitters DJ Khaled and Rick Ross, the city's quickly become a hotbed of urban talent. Young Jeezy recorded the bulk of his latest album, TM:103, there, and Cash Money Records has been using the city, along with local recording studio Hit Factory, as its home base since Hurricane Katrina forced the company to relocate from New Orleans in 2005. According to Cash Money's Bryan "Birdman" Williams, the move has been a positive one. "The cars, the life, the clubs-this is like an entertainment city to me. It's great for music," he says.
And according to WEDR (99 Jamz) Miami PD Derrick Baker, the popularity of the city-particularly of local clubs like Mansion, Amnesia and LIV, which hosts one of the hottest hip-hop parties in the country every Sunday night-has in turn affected the music. "We've seen our core artists going in that dance, rhythmic direction. If you look at what Rihanna and Nicki Minaj have done, these aren't your typical mainstream cuts," he says. "A lot of that is the influence that they're getting from hanging out from soaking up some of that culture and vibe and international flavor of South Florida."