2 Live Crew2 Live Crew is one of the most controversial rap groups ever, largely over the sexual themes of one album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be (1989).
2 Live Crew began in California, consisting of Fresh Kid Ice, DJ Mr. Mixx and Amazing V. They released Revelation in 1985; the single sold well in Florida and Mixx and Kid Ice moved there, releasing What I Like along with Brother Marquis. They received a record deal from Luke Skyywalker, who was a manager and eventual performer. 1986 saw the release of 2 Live Crew Is What We Are, featuring profane and sexually graphic lyrics. The record went gold. Though the controversy did not rise to the future levels, a Florida store clerk was charged and acquitted of felony charges for selling the album to a fourteen-year-old girl in 1987.
Skyywalker decided to sell a clean version of the next album, Move Somethin' (1987). A record store clerk in Alabama was cited and fined for selling a copy to an undercover cop in 1988, though the verdict was overturned on appeal.
As Nasty As They Wanna Be (1989) became the group's biggest hit, largely because of the single Me So Horny, which was popular in spite of an almost complete lack of radio play. The American Family Association, a conservative group, did not think the presence of a "Parental Advisory" sticker was enough to adequately warn listeners of what was inside the case. A lawyer affiliated with the AFA, Jack Thompson, met with Bob Martinez and convinced him to look in the album to see if it met the legal classification of "obscene". It was decided in 1990 that action should be taken at the local level and Nick Navarro, Broward County sheriff received a ruling from Judge Mel Grossman that probable cause for obscenity violations existed. Navarro warned record store owners that selling the album may be prosecutable. 2 Live Crew filed a suit against Navarro. That June, Judge Jose Gonzalez ruled against the album, declaring it obscene and illegal to sell. Charles Freeman, a local retailer, was arrested two days later after selling a copy to an undercover police officers, followed by the arrest of three members of 2 Live Crew after they performed some material from the album at a performance. They were acquitted soon after.
As a result of the controversy, As Nasty As They Wanna Be sold over two million copies. A few other retailers were later arrested for selling it as well. The publicity then continued when George Lucas, owner of the Star Wars universe, sued Luke Skyywalker for appropriating the name from his franchise. Skyywalker changed his name to Luke and then released an extremely political solo album Banned in the U.S.A, legally securing the rights to Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA.
In 1992, a Court of Appeals overturned the obscenity ruling from Jose Gonzales, and the decision was then upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States. Ice and Mr. Mixx released Deal With This under the name Rock on Crew, while Luke and Ice also released new solo albums, I Got Shit on My Mind and The Chinaman, respectively.
1994 saw Luke, Fresh Kid Ice and Verb, a new addition, regrouping as the New 2 Live Crew, issuing Back at Your Ass for the Nine-Four and were sued again by the estate of Roy Orbison, the copyright owners of Oh, Pretty Woman, because the group parodied the original on the album without permission. The Supreme Court ruled this to be fair use. The New 2 Live Crew collapsed with Luke Records in 1995. Ice, Brother Marquis and Mr. Mixx reformed again, as 2 Live Crew, and released Shake a Lil' Something'. Brother Marquis left soon after and the remaining (and original) two members released The Real One in 1998.
|Year||Title||Label||1986||Is What We Are||XR||1986||2 Live Crew Is What We Are||Luke Records||1987||Move Somethin'||Luke Records||1989||As Nasty As They Wanna Be||Luke Records||1990||Banned in the USA||Little Joe||1991||Sports Weekend: As Nasty As They Wanna Be, Pt. 2||Luke Records||1994||Back at Your Ass for the Nine-4||Little Joe||1994||2 Live Bass||Boomin||1995||Original 2 Live Crew||Blue Dolphin||1996||Shake a Lil' Somethin'||Little Joe||1998||The Real One||Little Joe||2000||Private Personal Parts||Little Joe|