Dancing music in the C20: miami bass (1984-86)


If techno represented the logical conclusion of Cybotron’s electro, then Miami bass was surely the next evolution of Planet Rock. Retaining the Kraftwerk and P-funk influences, but keeping the vibes distinctly party-based, funky and served up with whooping and hollering from bass-riding male and female MCs.

Anquette – Throw The P (Radio Version)

Miami bass was musically heavy but often veered towards the thematically ridiculous. Not one but two of the early miami bass classics were based around the children’s song Old McDonald Had A Farm, for instance.


Vocoders were everywhere. A lot of modern academic writing on dance music posits the use of vocoders in electro as a sort of intentional technological neutralisation of racial identity. People forget. Being a robot was VERY COOL in the 1980s. Kids of the 80s loved dressing up in bacofoil-cardboad Transformers costumes and TALK-ING LI-KE A RO-BOT.

Palmerforce Two – Street Wars

Their older siblings making Miami bass bangers weren’t doing anything different, just with much more expensive toys.

Spotify playlist: early Miami bass (1984-86)