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2 Live Crew

About 2 Live Crew

Originally a California-based hip hop group consisting of rappers Amazing Vee and Fresh Kid Ice with DJ Mr Mixx, when their 1984 debut single “The Revelation” became popular in Florida, record label owner Luther “Luke Skyywalker” Campbell helped the group relocate there. Vee did not participate.

Two more singles, “What I Like” and “Throw The D(ick)” were released before Vee’s spot would be filled by Brother Marquis. Their debut album 2 Live Is What We Are, with explicit songs like “We Want Some Pussy” and “Get It Girl”, gave the band an underground following and reputation for smutty lyrics at a time when tamer songs were being heavily attacked by the newly-formed PMRC, a committee founded by four women (each married to men in powerful postitions) who insisted dirty and violent music be rated based on content and labeled as such.

Campbell joined the group as an official hype man and spokesperson before the release of the 1988 sophomore album Move Somethin', an album that would fully transform the group from one that occasionally releases a vulgar song into an all-out pornographic rap group. The album was the first ever to be sold in both explicit and edited versions. Authorities began trying to penalize record store clerks who sold Move Somethin' without no real success (yet).

In 1989, 2 Live Crew released their third album As Nasty As They Wanna Be (along with its somewhat milder companion As Clean As They Wanna Be). Its lead single “Me So Horny” reached top 30 in the US and gave its graphically pornographic album a mainstream audience, attracting the attention of not only the PMRC but Florida attorney/activist Jack Thompson, who engineered a campaign that led to the album being considered obscene and therefore illegal to sell or perform live. Thompson then fired off letters and lyrics to governors and sheriff’s departments across the state. Judges all over Florida as well as some counties in six other states issued similar rulings.

In June of 1990, a Fort Lauderdale record store owner was arrested for selling 2 Live Crew’s album to an undercover police officer, and members of the group were arrested in Miami for performing songs from it. Eventually a jury acquitted the group.

These incidents would inspire some songs on the group’s next album Banned In The USA (originally released as Luke featuring 2 Live Crew) like “Fuck Martinez” (referring to then-Florida governor Bob Martinez) and its top 20 title track which sampled Bruce Springsteen’s mega-hit “Born In The USA” with his explicit permission and ‘enthusiastic’ support. Banned In The USA remains the group’s highest charting album, reaching #21 in the summer of 1990. This would be the peak of the band’s mainstream notoriety.

2 Live Crew’s next effort was Sports Weekend (As Nasty As They Wanna Be Part 2) again accompanied by a companion album with somewhat cleaned up lyrics. Its lead single “Pop That Coochie” (aka “Pop That Pussy”) reached #58 on the pop chart, and the album would reach only one spot lower than Banned In The USA by peaking at #22 in late 1991. The album was certified gold seven months later, but the group’s popularity had begun to wane.

1994’s Back at Your Ass for the Nine-4 was released without Marquis and Mr Mixx under the moniker The New 2 Live Crew and became their first album not to be certified gold, plus it had no hits on the Hot 100. 1996’s Shake a Lil' Somethin' saw the classic lineup reunite. Its title track peaked at #72 – becoming the group’s last Hot 100 appearance. 1998’s The Real One, made without Mr Mixx, would make less impact than both of its predecessors. Music output since has been sporadic. Fresh Kid Ice passed away in 2017.