2 Live Crew

The 2 Live Crew
Origin Miami, Florida, U.S.
Genres Southern hip hop, Miami bass, sex rap
Years active 1985–1991
Labels Fresh Beat / Macola Records
Luke Records
Lil Joe Records
Website www.myspace.com/official2livecrew
Past members
Fresh Kid Ice
Mr. Mixx
Amazing V.
Brother Marquis

2 Live Crew was a hip hop group from Miami, Florida. They caused considerable controversy with the sexual themes in their work, particularly on their 1989 album As Nasty As They Wanna Be.



Early career

The 2 Live Crew was created by DJ Mr. Mixx (David Hobbs) with fellow rappers Fresh Kid Ice (Chris Wong Won), and Amazing V. (Yuri Vielot). The group released its first single, "Revelation", in 1985. "Revelation" was popular in Florida, so The 2 Live Crew (sans Amazing V) relocated to Miami. Rapper Brother Marquis (Mark Ross) joined The 2 Live Crew for its next single "What I Like". Local rapper Luke (Luther Campbell) gave The 2 Live Crew a record deal and worked as the group's manager and then lead vocalist.[1] The 2 Live Crew's debut album, The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are, was released in 1986. Alex Henderson of allmusic commented that the album "did take sexually explicit rap lyrics to a new level of nastiness", with tracks like "We Want Some Pussy" and "Throw The 'D'".[2] With word of mouth attention, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In 1987, a Florida store clerk was charged and acquitted of felony charges for selling the album to a fourteen-year-old girl.[1]

Campbell decided to sell a separate clean version in addition to the explicit version of the next album, Move Somethin' (1988), produced by Mr. Mixx. A record store clerk in Alexander City, Alabama was cited for selling a copy to an undercover police officer in 1988. It was the first time in the United States that a record store owner was held liable for obscenity over music. The charges were dropped after a jury found the record store not guilty.

As Nasty As They Wanna Be

In 1989, the group released their album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be, which also became the group's most successful album. A large part of its success was due to the single "Me So Horny", which was popular despite little radio rotation. The American Family Association (AFA) did not think the presence of a "Parental Advisory" sticker was enough to adequately warn listeners of what was inside the case. Jack Thompson, a lawyer affiliated with the AFA, met with Florida Governor Bob Martinez and convinced him to look into the album to see if it met the legal classification of obscene. In 1990 action was taken at the local level and Nick Navarro, Broward County sheriff, received a ruling from County Circuit Court judge Mel Grossman that probable cause for obscenity violations existed.[1] In response, Luther Campbell maintained that people should focus on issues relating to hunger and poverty rather than on the lyrical content of their music.[3]

Navarro warned record store owners that selling the album may be prosecutable. The 2 Live Crew then filed a suit against Navarro. That June, U.S. district court Judge Jose Gonzalez ruled the album obscene and illegal to sell. Charles Freeman, a local retailer, was arrested two days later, after selling a copy to an undercover police officer. This was followed by the arrest of three members of The 2 Live Crew after they performed some material from the album at a nightclub. They were acquitted soon after, as professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. testified at their trial in defense of their lyrics. Freeman's conviction was overturned on appeal as well.[1]

In 1992, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit overturned the obscenity ruling from Judge Gonzalez, and the Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear Broward County's appeal. As in the Freeman case, Gates testified on behalf of Navarro, arguing that the material that the county alleged was profane actually had important roots in African-American vernacular, games, and literary traditions and should be protected.

As a result of the controversy, As Nasty As They Wanna Be sold over two million copies. It peaked at #29 on The Billboard 200 and #3 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. A few other retailers were later arrested for selling it as well, including Canadian Marc Emery who was convicted in Ontario in 1991, and would later gain fame as a marijuana activist. Later hard rock band Van Halen sued over an uncleared sample of their song "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" in The 2 Live Crew Song "The Fuck Shop". The publicity then continued when George Lucas, owner of the Star Wars universe, successfully sued Campbell for appropriating the name "Skywalker" for his record label, Luke Skyywalker Records. Campbell changed his stage name to Luke (and changed the record label's name to Luke Records) and the group released an extremely political follow up album, Banned in the USA after obtaining permission to use an interpolation of Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. The 2 Live Crew paraphernalia with the Luke Skyywalker or Skyywalker logos are often sought-after collector's items.


In 1991, The 2 Live Crew released the very first live rap album, Live in Concert, and Sports Weekend, a full-length studio original. It peaked at #22 on The Billboard 200 and #19 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It did not gain the same sales level that they experienced with As Nasty As They Wanna Be. The 2 Live Crew members went their separate ways after this. Luke pursued his solo music career and other projects.

In 1992, Fresh Kid Ice released unreleased tracks from pre-Luke The 2 Live Crew, 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.[citation needed]

Mark "Brother Marquis" Ross co-starred alongside Fred Williamson in the film South Beach and started a new group with Aldrin "DJ Toomp" Davis, and Thomas "The Saint" Brooks of Marianna Fl,a former member of Poison Clan, which was also signed to Campbell's label. They named the group 2 Nazty, and released the album "Indecent Exposure" on Attitude Records in 1993. The single was called "Can't Say I Love You," but it did not chart, and the group never released a second album. The single was a departure from the typical 2 Live nasty rhymes, and focuses on what a deep emotion love is, and how it should not be said to anyone lightly. The rest of the album sounds like a The 2 Live Crew record, and focuses on sexual exploits of the members.

The hard feelings over the split of the The 2 Live Crew is apparent on the album, as Marquis is heard on the track "Interview" saying he was fired from the group, and that the other members had no love for him. DJ Toomp also has a line in "Be My Bitch" comparing signing a deal with Skyywalker Records to signing your life away.[citation needed]

1994: New line-up and lawsuit

1994 saw Luke, Fresh Kid Ice and a new addition to the group, Verb, regrouping as The New 2 Live Crew, issuing Back at Your Ass for the Nine-4. This album peaked at #52 on The Billboard 200 and #9 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The New 2 Live Crew broke up in 1995.

"Oh, Pretty Woman" lawsuit

During this time the lawsuit brought about by the copyright owners of "Oh, Pretty Woman," went to the Supreme Court. The Crew had parodied the original on the album As Clean As They Wanna Be without permission. The Supreme Court adopted a rule from an earlier Ninth Circuit case Fisher v. Dees. 794 F.2d 432 (9th Cir. 1986) involving Rick Dees, and ruled that The 2 Live Crew's parody could be fair use.[4]


Luke, Fresh Kid Ice, Brother Marquis and Mr. Mixx re-formed again to record "Hoochie Mama" for the soundtrack to the movie Friday. Plans to reunite for an album were short-lived, as Fresh Kid Ice, Mr. Mixx, and Brother Marquis left Luke and Luke Records to go to Lil' Joe Records and released Shake a Lil' Somethin' (1996). It peaked at #145 on the Billboard 200, also peaking at #33 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

Mr. Mixx left soon after, leaving Fresh Kid Ice and Brother Marquis to record The Real One in 1998. It peaked at #59 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. In 1998, Brother Marquis became a born-again Christian, quit the group, and began devoting himself to combating what he sees as the "evils" that he as a member of The 2 Live Crew portrayed and glorified. Rapper "First Degree aka Tiki was then recruited as the groups newest addition by Fresh Kid Ice however, his attempt was only for a duration of a few years. Brother Marquis's born again status/views on music changed back to his roots in 2006 when he worked with music producers Dylan Berry and Noah Lifschey of Hollowstone Music under in the LA rock/rap group called the Shake Joint and released a solo album in 2008 that contained explicit lyrics.

Fresh Kid Ice, under the old banner of The 2 Live Crew, performed at the 2005 Gathering of the Juggalos.

In late 2007, the duo of Fresh Kid Ice and Brother Marquis reunited and announced on their MySpace page that they would be releasing an album sometime in 2010. The album, tentatively named Just Wanna Be Heard, was scheduled for release in 2010.§[5]

Brother Marquis and Fresh Kid Ice have performed at a number of Exxxotica shows in Miami Beach, Chicago, New Jersey, and Los Angeles.

In May 2010, it was announced that the duo's album, "Just Wanna Be Heard", would feature production from Mannie Fresh and was to be released on Nu Focuz Entertainment/Lil' Joe Records with guest verses from Too Short, E-40, and Insane Clown Posse. It was set to be released in August 2010, but currently the release date is unknown.[6]



  1. ^ a b c d Huey, Steve (1999). "The 2 Live Crew: Biography". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p50048. Retrieved January 4, 2010. 
  2. ^ Henderson, Alex. "The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are: Review". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r28357. Retrieved January 4, 2010. 
  3. ^ Jet, Nov. 26, 1990, p.34
  4. ^ Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569 (1994).
  5. ^ www.myspace.com/official2livecrew
  6. ^ http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.11306/title.2-live-crew-readies-new-album-mannie-fresh-assists

External links

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