No rap group save, perhaps, N. A has stirred more controversy or provoked more heated debate than the 2 Live Crew. The furor over the graphic sexual content of their X-rated party rhymes -- specifically their album As Nasty as They Wanna Be -- was a major catalyst in making rap music a flash point for controversy and an easily visible target for self-appointed moral guardians.
The fierce attacks on the group's First Amendment rights put many of their defenders in an awkward position -- passionately supporting their freedom of speech on the one hand, but often finding little artistic merit in their music.
And they were indeed crude and coarse, and frequently misogynistic by most standards; even if they fit squarely into a tradition of raunchy, sexually explicit black comedy Redd Foxx , Rudy Ray Moore , Blowfly , etc.
Despite or, more likely, because of that fact, the 2 Live Crew were fairly popular even before all the uproar and benefited greatly at first from all the publicity, although later on the novelty perhaps wore off due to overexposure. Regardless of whether one enjoys their sense of humor, to focus only on the controversy ignores the 2 Live Crew 's musical contributions. They were responsible for popularizing the booming, hard-driving sound of Miami bass music, and they were the founding fathers of a populist, dance-oriented rap subgenre that relied on simple, explicit chants and up-tempo rump-shaking grooves, appropriately dubbed "booty rap.
Mixx born David Hobbs , and Amazing V. The trio released their debut single, "Revelation," in and its popularity in Florida led the group -- sans Amazing V -- to move to Miami, and after second single "What I Like," they were joined by Brother Marquis born Mark Ross. They scored a record deal with local impresario Luke Skyywalker born Luther Campbell in Miami , who initially served as their manager, and then joined the group as a performer and bandleader.
It became a word-of-mouth success, eventually going gold. Even at this early stage, obscenity was an issue; in , a Florida record store clerk was acquitted of felony charges after selling the album to a year-old girl. Campbell hit upon the idea of selling "clean" and "dirty" versions of the group's albums so that younger fans would have a less explicit alternative. In , a record store in Alabama was fined for selling a copy of Move Somethin' to an undercover cop a conviction later overturned on appeal , setting the stage for the Crew 's home state to declare war.
As Nasty as They Wanna Be was released in and became the group's biggest hit yet; the single "Me So Horny" even climbed into the Top 40 despite virtually nonexistent airplay. Word spread even farther about the group's unadulterated raunchiness, attracting the attention of the ultraconservative watchdog group the American Family Association, who weren't satisfied with the album's parental advisory warning sticker.
The state prosecutor determined that action had to be taken on the local, not state, level, and thus in early Broward County sheriff Nick Navarro obtained a copy of the album and secured a ruling from County Circuit Court Judge Mel Grossman that there was probable cause that the album was legally obscene.
Navarro warned record stores around the county that selling the album might subject them to prosecution, and the 2 Live Crew filed suit alleging that Navarro had unconstitutionally overstepped his bounds. Record retailer Charles Freeman was arrested two days later for selling the album to an undercover cop, and the three rapping members of the 2 Live Crew were arrested on obscenity charges for performing material from the record in a local club.
They were acquitted a few months afterward, thanks in part to expert testimony from Duke professor Henry Louis Gates, and Freeman's conviction was later overturned on appeal. Meanwhile, As Nasty as They Wanna Be had become the forbidden fruit of choice for teenage boys across the country, selling over two million copies. Several other incidents were reported around the country involving record store owners being arrested for selling the album. The publicity also attracted the attention of George Lucas , who successfully sued Campbell for trademark infringement over his stage and label name, Luke Skyywalker ; he subsequently shortened both to Luke.
Capitalizing on the media frenzy, Campbell struck a distribution deal with Atlantic and put together a semipolitical album called Banned in the U. It sold like hotcakes on first release, and the title single became the group's second Top 40 hit. In , the group released the first full-length live rap album ever, Live in Concert , as well as the official follow-up to As Nasty as They Wanna Be , Sports Weekend. They sold disappointingly, especially considering the group's recent notoriety, and proved to be the last albums they would record together as a quartet.
At issue was Gonzalez's refusal to heed expert testimony he'd pronounced himself fit to judge community standards of decency, since he'd lived in the community for 30 years , as well as the fact that the burden of proof of obscenity should have rested with Sheriff Navarro, who submitted nothing besides a copy of the album as evidence. The appeals court's decision was later upheld by the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the 2 Live Crew were drifting apart. Luke continued his solo career over the rest of the '90s.
The same year, the group found itself back in court yet again, this time over a lawsuit by the publishers of Roy Orbison 's "Oh, Pretty Woman.
The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled that parody constituted fair use and found in favor of the group. The New 2 Live Crew didn't last long as Luke chose to concentrate on his solo career. In , Luke Records filed for bankruptcy, as Campbell was beset by creditors and expenses; both he and the remaining 2 Live Crew wound up on Lil' Joe, a label founded by his ex-business partner Joe Weinberger. Luke , meanwhile, continued to record steadily, as well as releasing several compilation albums showcasing new South Florida talent.
Aggressive Bittersweet Druggy. Energetic Happy Hypnotic. Romantic Sad Sentimental. Sexy Trippy All Moods. Drinking Hanging Out In Love. Introspection Late Night Partying. Rainy Day Relaxation Road Trip. Romantic Evening Sex All Themes. Features Interviews Lists. Streams Videos All Posts. Formed in California. Genre Rap. Group Members Luther Campbell Mr.