2 Live Crew
"Words are just words."
2 Live Crew: Too Explicit to Handle
"There's no such thing as bad publicity," goes one adage in show business. Controversy is often used as a very effective selling tool, but few musical acts have used it to the same extent - or avoided the subsequent lawsuits and civil charges - as 2 Live Crew. From the group's unlikely roots in California, the group blazed a trail through the 90's that didn't just make them known; their escapades made them notorious.
Rappers David "Mr. Mixx" Hobbs, Yuri "Amazing V" Vielot and Chris "Fresh Kid Ice" Wongwon originally started the group in California in the early 1980's. After performing at events in the Riverside area, the trio released the single Revelation in 1984, and it was received well even outside of their home state.
2 Live Crew: From Cali 2 Miami
Encouraged by their success with Revelation, the group moved to Miami, but not before Amazing V leaves. His spot at the microphone was taken by Fresh Kid Ice for their 1986 single What I Like, and then later on by Mark "Brother Marquis" Ross. Luther Campbell, the group's manager and promoter until that time, joined the three on the stage as Luke Skywalker - a moniker that would earn the group one of its many brushes with the law.
Is What We Are, the group's debut album, came out in 1986 and began 2 Live Crew's career in the spotlight. Thanks to the controversy stirred by sexually graphic and explicit lyrics on tracks like We Want Some Pussy and Throw the Dick, the album soon earned certified gold status. Public reaction got to the point that the following album, 1988's Move Something, was released on the market with a separate 'clean' version.
Controversy was again one of the biggest factors behind the success of As Nasty As They Wanna Be, the group's 1989 album. A Florida court ruled in 1990 that the album violated obscenity laws, making it illegal to sell. Two members of the group were even arrested for performing some of the songs from the album at a Florida night club. An appellate court overturned the ruling in 1992.
2 Live Crew: Too Controversial
Obscenity turned out to be just the beginning. Van Halen filed a suit for an undeclared sample of their Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love in the group's The Fuck Shop. George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, later also sued over Campbell's use of the Skywalker name. They released Banned in the USA in mid-1990 in response to all their legal battles.
Live in Concert, their only live album, and Sports Weekend, meant as a sequel to As Nasty As They Wanna Be, were both released in 1991. Sports Weekend would prove to be their last album together, as the group disbanded to pursue individual music careers.
Did You Know That...
- ... Sports Weekend wasn't their last album? Six compilation and greatest hit albums were released after 2 Live Crew itself had officially disbanded.
- ... there was an attempt to regroup? There was a short-lived The New 2 Live Crew in 1994. It lasted long enough to release Back at Your Ass for the Nine-4 before breaking up the following year.
- ... brother Marquis became a born-again Christian? For a time, he denounced the 'evils' that he said the group once glorified. He has since gone back to his old views, releasing an explicit language album in 2006.