Bass music is one of the building blocks of southern Hip-Hop and one of Hip-Hop's most distinct sounds and styles. It populated dancefloors across the South as far back as the mid-1980s, with roots in both the clashing electro of Mantronix and the futuristic bombast of the Soulsonic Force. With pioneers like Luther "Luke" Campbell and DJ Magic Mike at the forefront, it became a huge commercial force in the 1990s, before being supplanted by coming styles like crunk.
It's always guaranteed to get everybody sweatin' and the fastest way to turn the party up. So we picked 25 of the greatest bass songs. Let the booty-poppin' commence...
"Sally (That Girl)" - Gucci Crew II
This group out of Miami had already recorded an album when this horny story rap started blowing up on regional radio. Produced by group member Disco Rick, the goofy-but-infectious single became a hit around the South and their album So Fresh, So Def, So Stupid one of the more successful follow-ups to 2 Live Crew's breakthrough.
"Boom! I Got Your Boyfriend" - MC Luscious
Bass music had no shortage of songs about big butts and boobs, so it was a welcome change when MC Luscious decided to brag about bagging sexy guys. The Miami native's single caught fire on radio and she became a mainstay of the bass scene throughout the 1990s.
"The Most Beautiful Girl" - Raheem The Dream
Bass music and R&B made for some truly great musical cross-pollination, and very few could claim to be better at it than Raheem The Dream. The Atlanta native was a pioneer of A-T-L Hip-Hop and helped launch the career of Terius "The-Dream" Nash with this seductive club track.
"Whatz Up, Whatz Up" - Playa Poncho
As southern Hip-Hop saw suddenly surging commercial appeal in the mid-1990s, Atlanta's most visible label released a compilation dedicated to the sound the Dirty South was forged in. And one of the standout tracks was this Bankhead Bounce-inducing banger from Playa Poncho -- co-produced by L.A. Sno of Duice (more on them in a sec.)
"Dunkie Butt" - 12 Gauge
It sounded like the theme song for a dance craze that never quite happened, but that's how popular this single was in spring 1993. "Ridin' that dunkie" might have never become a thing (or did it, are we sure it didn't?), but this song from ATL native 12 Gauge captures an era when bass songs were all over the radio.
"Da' Dip" - Freak Nasty
Speaking of bass songs that crossed over majorly, this club anthem was seemingly everywhere in 1997. It became a fixture at sporting events, at house parties, at bar mitzvahs, and everywhere in-between; but the single from Atlanta star Freak Nasty failed to chart when it was initially released the year prior. Proof that steady wins the race, it eventually peaked on Billboard's Top 20.
"2 Much Booty" - Soundmaster T
It works as a booty-shaking an anthem and as an ode to body-positivity -- if you wanna hear it that way. Soundmaster T gave the world a great dedication to junk in ya trunk, one that stood out even in a genre known for a fixation with asses. And it's great workout music.
"Baby Baby" - Kilo Ali
Kilo's 2nd act happened as bass music was going from neighborhood parties to the pop charts. When Ali teamed up with Atlanta production legends Organized Noize, the results were his best album and one of the most inspired releases from the latter days of bass. This is a scorcher that straddles the line between R&B and bass, with Kilo's raps gliding over the slinky beat.
"Scrub Da Ground" - Splack Pack
Coming straight out of Palm Beach, Fla. by way of Atlanta, this trio scored a hit with this ode to booty-dropping. It became one of the biggest dancefloor jams of 1994 and was an important link between early Miami bass and an emerging commercial wave that Splack Pack helped fuel.
"Whoot! There It Is" - 95 South
Was there another, technically more popular version of this song with a slightly different spelling? Why yes -- yes, there was. But (we mean no disrespect to Tag Team) if you know, you know that 95 South gave us the definitive version of this catchphrase-driven hit. But hey, if you prefer the other one, there's nothing wrong with it.
"Dickey Ride" - Southern Playas
Its obnoxious and undeniably fun, one of the most energetic tracks from the golden age of bass. It may not be the smartest song to have on your wedding reception DJ request list, but there aren't many guaranteed to work up a sweat on the floor like this one.
"Dazzey Duks" - Duice
This trio from Augusta, GA, struck gold with their very first single. This smash was obviously inspired by the leggy brunette of Dukes Of Hazzard fame (obvious to anyone born before 1985, that is), and the skimpy shorts she was known for rocking on the show. It inspired a fashion trend and odd spellings -- in one fell swoop.
"Hoes-N-Da-House" - DJ Uncle Al
The late legendary DJ Uncle Al was all about throwing hype parties to keep the community jamming and safe. This is his most indelible tune, one that became a mainstay at parties and in clubs across the South in the 1990s. It's forever a classic.
"Pop That Coochie" - 2 Live Crew
They were probably the reason your parents hated rap music. The most notorious act to emerge from the Miami bass scene, 2 Live Crew had no shortage of raunchy anthems; and of course, "Me So Horny" is the most well-known. But this is the best example of everything that made them infamous: it's filthy, it's catchy, and it makes you wanna hit the floor.
"Shake It" - MC Shy-D
The man who put Atlanta rap on the national map, MC Shy-D also gave the A one of it's great 80s skater rink anthems. The Bronx transplant with the high voice set the stage for an Atlanta music surge, and this is still a quick way to get a party started in GA.
"Cocaine" - Kilo Ali
Kilo was rapping about the trap before there was a name for it. The Atlanta rap legend was always a supreme storyteller with a witty perspective; and both are showcased on this inspired look at the crack epidemic. Proof that bass songs could be as topical as they were body-moving.
"Can't Stop No Player" - Da Organization
With this collective's lone album arriving near the end of the heyday of bass music, it's easy to ignore how forward-pointing this Isleys-sampling classic single truly was. With one foot in classic bass sounds and another seeming to hearken to what was coming next, it's still one of the best songs from a genre's latter years.
"It's My Cadillac (Got That Bass)" - MC Nas-D and DJ Freaky Fred
There's just something about this regional hit from MC Nas-D and DJ Freaky Fred that perfectly captures an era. This is a quintessential bass song, and it stayed on DJ rotations for years throughout the South and beyond.
"Tootsee Roll" - 69 Boyz
In a genre known for getting the the floor hyped, the 69 Boyz still somehow felt like the kings of the party. The Boyz hailed from Florida, but they'd come out of Jacksonville and Orlando, nonetheless, they carved a major niche with spring break-friendly bass anthems. And this was the biggest. Who cares if "Sweet as gold" doesn't really make sense? Besides, any song that inspires a dance named after a piece of candy is a damn good song.
"Scarred" - Luke feat. Verb and Trick Daddy
Who has more classics than Uncle Luke? In 1996, the legend made it clear that he wasn't going anywhere with this automatic dancefloor filler. It features a high-powered verse from Verb and, of course, introduced the world to none other than Trick Daddy Dollar$.
"Drop That Bass (Pt. 2)" - DJ Magic Mike
One of the founding fathers of Miami bass and a seminal figure in Florida Hip-Hop, Michael Hampton helped kickstart a movement. Always a versatile DJ and producer, Mike scored a regional smash with this trunk-rattling anthem that musically transported the Soulsonic Force to the Sunshine State.
"That's Right" - DJ Taz w/Raheem The Dream
An inspired flip of Ready For the World's 80s quiet storm fixture "Tonight" is the foundation for this bass classic. Taz's breakout hit happened just as bass music's commercial height was beginning to wane, but it crossed over to pop and R&B audiences thanks to a popular video --and thanks to the fact that it's catchy as hell.
"My Boo" - Ghost Town DJs
As we mentioned, bass beats and R&B vocals could be musical magic; and there was never a better example than this hit from summer 1996. Ghost Town DJ's smash single was one of the most inescapable songs of that year -- and it still evokes the spirit of cruising the Dirty South during the hot months.
"Shake What Ya Mama Gave Ya" - Poison Clan
Yes, there are other versions. But they all pale in comparison to the raunchy original. The inimitable J.T. Money really came into his own after the departure of Debonaire following Poison Clan's debut, and the result was a harder, meaner record. It also yielded this -- one of the most foul-mouthed bass classics of all time.
"I Wanna Rock (Doo Doo Brown)" - Luke
It's been sampled. It's been remixed. It's been quoted. If someone -- anyone -- ever asks you: "What the hell is bass music?," this is the song you should play for them. It's a bootyshake classic, a strip club anthem, the kind of song that will make your Methodist grandmother git down looooow. Nobody ever did it better than Luke and this is the legendary Mr. Campbell at his nastiest and most fun. The bass song that's impossible to hate. Somebody somewhere is poppin' that thang to this track right now.
* HEADER CREDIT: DJ Mr. Mixx (David Hobbs), Fresh Kid Ice (Chris Wong Won), Brother Marquis (Mark Ross), Luke Skyywalker (Luther Campbell) of the rap group 2 Live Crew pose for a portrait session on January 30, 1989. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)