The tropical house trend started in the mid-2000s with Bob Sinclair and Yves Larock releasing dance music that had elements of Ibiza house and dancehall. In 2012, Unicorn Kid’s new style of tropical rave helped establish tropical house’s modern sound. By 2013, Klangkarussell, Kygo, and Robin Schulz had emerged with even more tropical sound palettes highlighted by steel drums and emphasized by a slower tempo.
Ibiza house and dancehall are early influences of tropical house, particularly noticeable in releases by artists like Bob Sinclair and Yves Larock, whose music predates the current style of tropical house, and by Unicorn Kid, whose chip-tune tropical rave music became the foundation of the popular tropical house style we know today. When the slower, happy/nostalgic style of tropical house emerged in 2013, Jamaican instrumentation and rhythm replaced the more upbeat synths and pads in a shift that would distance the genre from its earlier influences.
Sax solos supported by tropical instruments like marimbas, nylon guitars, pan flutes, and steel drums over simple chords and a slower rhythm give tropical house its happy, laid back sound that evokes tropical escapism. Tropical house is a highly melodic genre that uses fairly standard house rhythm patterns, with occasional exceptions made for reggaeton. White noise and beach sounds make frequent guest appearances to complete this vacation-in-your-headphones genre.
Klangkarussell & Will Heard – “Sonnentanz”
Salzburg & London, 2013
Austrian duo Klangkarussell takes Youtube by storm with their tropical house anthem, “Sun Don’t Shine”, highlighted by Will Heard vocals.
Klingande – “Jubel”
Sax filled summery track, Jubel by Klingande fills the airwaves with uplifting house music.
The Notorious BIG – “Old Thing Back” (Matoma Remix)
Norwegian DJ Matoma pays tribute to The Notorious BIG by remixing “Old Thing Back” ft. Ja Rule and New Edition Member, Ralph Tresvant.
Lost Frequencies – “Are You With Me”
Belgian DJ samples Easton Corbin’s 2012 song “Are You With Me” in creating a soft rock and house fused track with the same title.
Alex Adair – “Make Me Feel Better”
West Chiltington, 2014
British DJ, Alex Adair creates marimba filled hit, “Make Me Feel Better” by sampling Motown hit “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
Kygo – “Stole The Show”
Kygo’s tropical house hit “Stole The Show” ft Parson James, tops the charts and is certified platinum in many countries.
Kungs vs Cookin’ on 3 Burners – “This Girl”
Toulon & Melbourne, 2016
Feel good and island vibe track, “This Girl” by Kungs vs Cookin’ on 3 Burners tops the Youtube charts with over 300 million views.
Thomas Jack & Jasmine Thompson – “Rise Up”
Thomas Jack & Jasmine Thompson collaborate and release the flute-riff filled tropical house hit, “Rise Up”.
Martin Jensen ft. Loote – “Wait”
Danish DJ Martin Jensen works closely with American duo Loote in releasing the poppy tropical house track “Wait”.
Dante Klein – “Harder”
The hard hitting summer vibe hit, “Harder” ft. HAILZ by Dutch DJ Dante Klein is released on Spinnin’ Records.
Black Coffee & David Guetta – “Drive”
Durban & Paris, 2018
South African DJ Black Coffee and French record producer David Guetta collaborate in releasing the South African driven tropical house hit “Drive” feat. Delilah Montagu.
Sam Feldt – “Post Malone”
Dutch DJ Sam Feldt releases “Post Malone” after teaming up with singer, RANI.