Can I let you in on a little secret?
Nobody actually likes 2 Live Crew. They stank. They were the kind of fraud that today, would be secretly sponsored by George “Fuck Everything Good” Soros. 2 Live Crew was just garbage.
It was humiliating to stock, sell or even see 2 Live Crew albums in the record store. As soon as a customer brought one to the counter, you knew there would be a problem. The customer was always under 18, and thus forbidden to purchase the music; no one older than 18 cared about it. If they enjoyed rap, they had already moved on to something actually good.
The lead rapper in 2 Live Crew was an ambulatory shitball named Luther Campbell, who imaginatively dubbed himself “Luke Skywalker”. When he received a cease-and-desist from Lucasfilm, which anyone with half a brain would expect, he capitulated to “Luke Skyywalker“, and then simply “Luke”. There are larvae under my bathroom toilet with more smarts than Luther “Luke” Campbell.
There were two other guys in 2 Live Crew, as I recall. Fuck ’em. They should either be in church or ashamed. I don’t care what their made-up names were.
Look- a lot of us took up 2 Live Crew as a “cause celebre” in the 1990s, a force against the insidious shroud of censorship. A lot of us were also white, and didn’t understand rap music as a form yet. It didn’t help that 2 Live Crew acted like a proud bastion of “black culture”, as they raped groupies on stage and were “as nasty as they wanna be”. Andrew “Dice” Clay was packing stadiums at the same time, thrilling white New Yorkers with his filthy nursery rhymes.
What the fuck?
Dice has two good albums, both on American, both where he brings no material, shows up unannounced, and bombs for two straight hours. “The Day The Laughter Died”. That’s the funniest stuff he ever did, and it was in spite of himself. Literally everything else the man has recorded is gutter-level junk that no one listens to.
Dice and 2 Live Crew were famous because they were the place people could go when they wanted to really cut loose. No matter how gross or racist you could be, they were worse. This was at a time when you never heard harsh language on television, or radio. You had to pay for cable to hear swear words or see filth. Understand? So there would be a build-up of inhibition, then a release of profanity, often among many other people. Catharsis. That is all it ever was.
2 Live Crew sampled the underage Vietnamese hooker from Full Metal Jacket and made her into a song hook; “Me So Horny”. There is absolutely no difference, conceptually, between 2 Live Crew and something like Bling Bling, which I do enjoy. A legitimate crack head, singing and rapping about often violent subjects. Still more integrity than Luther Campbell.
The rapping in 2 Live Crew sounds like when a football team decides to rap, and you can hear their pitch and energy diminish over the short course of the song. The Barbarian Brothers did a better rap at the end of their movie Think Big. This is why no one owns, buys or cares about 2 Live Crew albums in 2017. You wouldn’t recognize their music if I played it for you.
It must have been great to be a real rap group in the 1990s, like Outkast, and get lumped in with near-overt pornography like Luther Campbell. Good thing they stuck to their metaphorical guns. That’s the reason Outkast has a respected body of work, and Luke is a filthy footnote in the history of hip hop.
Hey everybody! Luke Campbell became a millionaire with no talent! Let’s all hop upon the Dirty Gravy Train! The secret: half-naked hos smeared all over the front cover! What do you think the chances are that they’re alive in 2017? Remote? Infinitesimal? What’s the half-life of the average jizz-gargling slattern?
Gangsta-rap pioneers N.W.A. had a beef with Luther Campbell (and, eventually, each other); it continued through Dr. Dre’s hit The Chronic, where Snoop Dogg raps about the “gap teeth in [Luke’s] mouth so my dick got to fit.”
With my nuts on your tonsils
When you’re on stage rappin’ at your wack-ass concerts
The feud was fueled by bi-coastal hatred; 2 Live Crew on the east, N.W.A. on the west. Luke represented Florida, a state not typically understood by outsiders. Death Row’s victory owed much to the ascension of Dre’s protege, Calvin Broadus, aka Snoop Doggy Dogg. Snoop’s popularity was booming, thanks to a murder case he was embroiled in at the time. This kind of thing was confused with credibility for a few years in the music business.
The two Dr. Dre albums both have fuck tracks on them- one is even called “Pause 4 Porno”. Whether it’s real or staged, it sounds faked. Why put these on the albums? To appear “harder” than Eazy-E, whom Dr. Dre was also beefing with? Eazy was the main provider of the “porno skits” and filthy songs at the end of N.W.A. discs. Eazy was so suave, you could almost forgive him for smutting up Bootsy Collins’ “I’d Rather Be With You”. Plus, Eric Wright gave us what I believe is the pinnacle of porno rap: “Gimme That Nutt”.
That’s just the right amount of smut. Can you imagine if Eazy-E was alive today? I think he’s better off dead. I completely understand why Dr. Dre rarely leaves his compound. Whatever sins these guys were actually guilty of, they’ve been scapegoated for ten times more.
I seriously couldn’t point you to a 2 Live Crew song that I enjoy. Their music is only defensible as a novelty, a cautionary lesson in creative boundaries. Meanwhile, Dr. Dre went on to conjure this bit of sex magic:
There’s no way that the answering-machine message at the start of that track is fake. No way.
2 Live Crew? Fake.
Funny thing- rap like 2 Live Crew made it easy for government to push the Warning Sticker agenda through. The possibility that a minor could walk into a mall store and purchase a disc with what is technically pornographic material on it was all it took. That’s why I ask; was it worth it to put sex noise and obscene rhymes on these things? Did it make anything better in the world? If so, what exactly?
Was the focus placed on musical talent during this orgy of hos and bung-lickers? Or was it focused on fast money, and easy sex, just like its critics charged? I’m seriously asking you- what the fuck is actually good about 2 Live Crew? What art did they advance, or improve? What standard did they uphold? This was a group with legions of fans, that made tons of money. How did they put those things to good use?