Songs Inspired by Miami

There's just something about Miami that makes it a muse for musicians from all genres. As part of The Root Cities: Miami series, we compiled a list of the top 10 songs inspired by the steamy Florida city.

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  • Will Smith, "Miami"

    ¡Bienvenido a Miami! This feel-good song celebrated Miami Big Willie Style in 1998. The catchy tune clearly resonated with Miami lovers near and far — it’s Smith’s biggest worldwide hit to date. Bonus: Check out a pre-fame (and pre-Hitch) Eva Mendes in the video.

    Captions by Lauren Williams

  • U2, "Miami"

    The sunny city doesn’t always inspire greatness. U2’s 1997 ode to Miami has been called “the worst U2 song ever written.”

  • LMFAO, "I'm in Miami, Trick"

    Doesn’t the title of this 2008 song capture what all South Beach vacationers want to yell when they step off the plane? No? Even if you like to announce your whereabouts in a more civilized manner, you’ll probably be forced to hear this hip-hop track at least once if you venture into a Miami nightclub.

  • Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine, "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You"

    This song isn’t necessarily about Miami, but the band that made it is Miami through and through! Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine’s Latin-flavored ’80s pop set the city’s cultural landscape to music.

  • Jan Hammer, "Miami Vice Theme"

    TV’s Miami Vice (1984-1989), which starred Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, is memorable for a number of reasons, not the least of which are the main characters’ iconic wardrobe (including a prodigious use of pastels) and the show’s music, which managed to perfectly capture the rough-around-the-edges South Beach of the 1980s.

  • Flo Rida, "We Already Won"

    Rapper Flo Rida (can you take a stab at which state he reps?) released this track as a theme song for the NBA’s 2010-2011 Miami Heat, which, with the notable additions of LeBron James and Chris Bosh, has exhilarated the city.

  • Pitbull, "Welcome to Miami"

    A child of Miami, Cuban-American rapper Pitbull penned this song for newcomers to his hometown. “If you’re visitin’ our city … watch where you park your whip,” he raps, ” ’cause they will leave it sittin’ on bricks awfully quick.” That doesn’t sound very welcoming!

  • Yo Gotti Featuring Rick Ross, "Miami"

    Whether it’s the nightlife, the women or the notorious drug-trafficking history, Miami has long been a city of interest to rappers from coast to coast. In “Miami,” Yo Gotti and Miami native Rick Ross rap about the city’s various, ahem, moneymaking (and spending) possibilities.

  • Jim Jones Featuring Trey Songs, "Summer Wit' Miami"

    New York rapper Jim Jones, accompanied by crooner Trey Songz, glorified Miami in this 2005 song about spending the summer there with his girlfriend.

  • Counting Crows, "Miami"

    True to the city’s anything-goes reputation, Counting Crows’ 2002 “Miami” is one of the popular rock band’s few songs that contain profanity.

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