2 Live Crew

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2 Live Crew
2 Live Crew performing at Exxxotica NY in 2009
Background information
Origin Miami, Florida, U.S.
Genres Miami bass, dirty rap
Years active 1982–1991; 1994–1998; 2003; 2010
Labels Fresh Beat / Macola Records
Luke Records
Lil Joe Records
Associated acts Ice-T, Luniz, Numskull, Yukmouth, Flavor Flav, Trick Daddy, Chilly Chill, Mannie Fresh, Professor Griff, Flo Rida, Insane Clown Posse, Trina, DJ Slice, DJ Laz
Website www.the2livecrew.com
Members Mr. Mixx
Brother Marquis

The 2 Live Crew is an American 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.[1][2][3][4][5][6]


Early career

The 2 Live Crew, although seen as a main fixture in the Miami hip-hop scene, actually got their start in California & was created by DJ Mr. Mixx (David Hobbs) with fellow rappers Fresh Kid Ice (Chris Wong Won), and Amazing Vee (Yuri Vielot). The group released its first single, "Revelation", in 1985. "Revelation" was popular in Florida, so The 2 Live Crew (sans Amazing Vee) relocated to Miami. Rapper Brother Marquis (Mark Ross) joined The 2 Live Crew for its next single "What I Like". Local rapper Luke Skyywalker (Luther Campbell) gave The 2 Live Crew a record deal and worked as the group's manager and then lead vocalist.[7]

The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are

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 such as "We Want Some Pussy" and "Throw the 'D'".[8] With word-of-mouth attention, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Bob Rosenberg of Will to Power remixed "Beat Box" (originally released as "Two Live") and was billed "King of Edits" by Luke Skyywalker. In 1987, a Florida store clerk was acquitted of felony charges for selling the album to a 14-year-old girl.[7]

Move Somethin'

In 1988, the group released their second album, Move Somethin' It was certified Gold and featured the singles "Move Somethin'" and "Do Wah Diddy Diddy". The album improved on the charts from the previous album, making in to #68 on the Billboard 200 and #20 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart.

Campbell decided to sell a separate clean version in addition to the explicit version of the 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 third 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 locally with heavy radio rotation on Miami's WPOW-Power 96 FM. 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 obscenity.[9] 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.[7] 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.[10]

Navarro warned record store owners that selling the album might 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 the As Nasty As They Wanna Be album at Club Futura in Hollywood, Florida, hosted by radio personality Tony the Tiger (Ira Wolf) from Power 96 FM; one of the few radio stations in the U.S. that continued airplay while the trial ensued. After international exposure with support from freedom of speech advocates like SCREW magazine's Al Goldstein and many others, 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.[7]

"A lot of people have gotten the impression that I'm this rude sexual deviant or something," Campbell told journalist Chuck Philips. "But contrary to what has been printed about me in the papers, I'm no moral threat to anybody. I'm just a hard-working guy marketing a new product."[11]

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 The 2 Live Crew, 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.[12]

As a result of the controversy, sales of As Nasty As They Wanna Be remained brisk,[13] selling over two million copies. It peaked at number 29 on the Billboard 200 and number 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 U.S.A., 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.[citation needed]

Banned in the U.S.A.

Banned in the U.S.A. is the group's fourth album. It was originally credited as Luke's solo album. The certified Gold album included the hits "Do the Bart" and the title track. It was also the very first release to bear the RIAA-standard Parental Advisory warning sticker.

The eponymous title single is a reference to the decision in a court case that its album As Nasty As They Wanna Be was obscene (the decision would later be overturned on appeal). Bruce Springsteen granted the group permission to interpolate his song "Born in the U.S.A." for it.

Displeased over the decision of Florida Governor Bob Martinez who, on being asked to examine the album, decided it was obscene and recommended local law enforcement take action against it and over the subsequent action of Broward County, Florida, sheriff Nick Navarro, who arrested local record-store owners on obscenity charges for selling the group's albums and the subsequent arrest of members of the group on obscenity charges, the group included the song "Fuck Martinez", which also includes multiple repetitions of the phrase "fuck Navarro". The group found two other men with the same names, and had them sign releases, as they thought that this action would make it impossible for Martinez or Navarro to sue them.

Live in Concert

Live in Concert is their fifth album. This was 2 Live Crew's first and only Live album, and was also the only 2 Live Crew release under the Effect subsidiary label of Luke Records, a move that was deemed necessary for the company to be able to release additional 2 Live Crew material outside of their distribution deal with Atlantic Records, which was signed in 1990 – the same year they released Banned In The U.S.A..

Sports Weekend: As Nasty As They Wanna Be, Pt. 2

Sports Weekend: As Nasty As They Wanna Be, Pt. 2 is their sixth album. Released in 1991, it is the sequel of As Nasty As They Wanna Be. A clean version was released later that same year titled Sports Weekend: As Clean As They Wanna Be Part II. This would be the last studio album by all original members of the 2 Live Crew. It contains the very successful single Pop That Pussy. The album is certified Gold.

Shake a Lil' Somethin'

Shake a Lil' Somethin' is their seventh album. It was released on August 6, 1996, for Lil' Joe Records and was produced by Mr. Mixx. The album would make it to #145 on the Billboard 200 and #33 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and two singles "Shake a Lil' Somethin'", which made it to #11 on the Hot Rap Singles chart and "Do the Damn Thing", which made it to #24 on the same chart. At the time of this album, Fresh Kid Ice had left the New 2 Live Crew (which consisted of himself, Luke and Verb and Luke Records) to re-join original members Mr. Mixx and Brother Marquis. However, the reunion would be short lived as Mr. Mixx would leave the group after this album.

The Real One

The Real One is their eighth and last studio album. It was released on April 7, 1998, for Lil' Joe Records and with the absence of Mr. Mixx, was produced by various producers. The album peaked at #59 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Shortly after the release of this album, Brother Marquis left as well.


Shortly after the recording of "The New 2 Live Crew" Back at Your Ass for the Nine-4, Fresh Kid Ice, Brother Marquis and Mr. Mixx re-formed again to record "Hoochie Mama" for the soundtrack of 1995 movie Friday. Luke failed to pay Fresh Kid Ice, Mr. Mixx, and Brother Marquis who then left Luke and Luke Records to go to Lil' Joe Records and released Shake a Lil' Somethin' (1996) without Luther Campbell. It peaked at number 145 on the Billboard 200, also peaking at number 33 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.[citation needed] Mr. Mixx left soon after, leaving Fresh Kid Ice and Brother Marquis to record The Real One in 1998. It peaked at number 59 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop and albums chart.

In May 2010, it was announced that the duo's album, "Just Wanna Be Heard" (later renamed "Turn Me On"), 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 remains unreleased.[14]

In June 2014, the 2 Live Crew released a new single Take It Off, the video clip features cameos by Mannie Fresh, Flavor Flav, Trina, Flo Rida, and Trick Daddy. The single is available on iTunes[15][16]

In May 2016, Mr. Mixx rejoined the group and Fresh Kid Ice left the group to relaunch Chinaman Records as well as stating on his Facebook page that he was fed-up with the label keeping their new music unreleased, while making false announcement of their release.[17]

Fresh Kid Ice (born Christopher Wong Won in 1964 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago) died on July 13, 2017, at age 53, in a Miami hospital from unspecified medical conditions.[18]


Fresh Kid Ice

A founding member of 2 Live Crew, Fresh Kid Ice was noted for being the only 2 Live Crew member to appear on all albums, discovering rapper Flo Rida, and being the first Miami Bass rapper.[19] In 2017, Fresh Kid Ice left the group to relaunch Chinaman Records as well as stating on his Facebook page that he was fed-up with the label keeping their new music unreleased, while making false announcement of their release.[17] He was Afrochinese, his family is mostly from Hong Kong and both of his grandmothers were African. In many of his raps, he gave himself the nickname Chinaman.[20] On July 13, 2017, Fresh Kid Ice died in a Miami, Florida hospital at age 53.[21]

Brother Marquis

Mark D. Ross, better known by his stage name Brother Marquis. He appears on every 2 Live Crew album, except for Back at Your Ass for the Nine-4. He is also the last rapper to join the group after Luke Skyywalker.

Early life and career

Mark D. Ross was born in Rochester, New York. He and his mother moved from New York to California, where he created his first two records when he was in 9th grade. He later met Mr. Mixx, who told him that if he ever got on in music he would call him to be part of it. One day at the age of 19, he got a call to come to Miami with Mr. Mixx, Fresh Kid Ice, and Luke Skyywalker and joined 2 Live Crew. The first song he did with the group is Word.[22] Ross had an acting role in the film South Beach (1992) with Fred Williamson.

Other groups, Solo Album and outside projects

The Caution Crew

Prior to joining the 2 Live Crew, Brother Marquis made two 12-inch singles with his former group, The Caution Crew, which also included the rappers Rodney O and C Funk. The first single was named "Westside Storie" and the second "Rhythm Rock".

2 Nazty

In 1993, he and DJ Toomp formed a duo group named 2 Nazty and released one Album named Indecent Exposure.

99 Problems

In 1993, Brother Marquis was a featured guest on the album Home Invasion by Ice-T and made the original version of 99 Problems who was later remade into a major hit by Jay-Z.

Bottom Boi Style

Bottom Boi Style, his first solo album, was released in 2003 under the label Playalistic Ent.[23]

Mr. Mixx

Mr. Mixx is a founding member and producer of the 2 Live Crew's most successful songs. Originator of the Miami bass sound. Also known as Treach DJ Mr. Mixx.

Luther Campbell

"Oh, Pretty Woman" lawsuit

Around 1994, 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 unanimously adopted a rule from an earlier Ninth Circuit case involving Rick Dees,[24] and ruled that The 2 Live Crew's parody could be fair use.[25]


Studio albums
Live albums


  1. ^ Philips, Chuck (November 10, 1990). "Sound Warehouse agrees not to stock 2 Live Crew's controversial 'As Nasty as They Wanna Be.'". LA Times. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Philips, Chuck (May 9, 1992). "Omaha Undaunted by Florida Rap Ruling : Pop music: Officials still will prosecute retailers for selling 2 Live Crew albums despite obscenity reversal". LA Times. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Philips, Chuck (July 2, 1992). "Album Sales Pact Averts Omaha Case : Pop: Obscenity charges are dropped after two record retail chains agree to stop selling sexually explicit 2 Live Crew music to minors". LA Times. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  4. ^ Philips, Chuck (April 23, 1992). "Record Retailers Charged : Lawsuit: Two chains are accused of selling rap group 2 Live Crew albums to minors". LA Times. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Philips, Chuck (March 9, 1991). "'Rap Jam '91' Show Called Off in Ohio : Concert: Cincinnati arena manager cites insufficient insurance, not police pressure, in cancellation". LA Times. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Various. "LA Times articles about 2 Live Crew". LA Times. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d Huey, Steve (1999). "The 2 Live Crew: Biography". allmusic. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  8. ^ Henderson, Alex. "The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are: Review". allmusic. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  9. ^ Philips, Chuck (June 18, 1990). "The 'Batman' Who Took On Rap : Obscenity: Lawyer Jack Thompson put his practice on hold to concentrate on driving 2 Live Crew out of business. In Southern Florida, he is loved and loathed". LA Times. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  10. ^ Jet, Nov. 26, 1990, p.34
  11. ^ Philips, Chuck (July 25, 1990). "Businessman With a Nasty Rep : Rap: 2 Live Crew's controversial Luther Campbell says he's 'just a hard-working guy marketing a new product.'". LA Times. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  12. ^ Philips, Chuck (May 8, 1992). "Appeals Court Voids Obscenity Ruling on 2 Live Crew Album". LA Times. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  13. ^ Philips, Chuck (August 2, 1990). "Despite Chains' Boycott, Campbell Album Sells : Rap: The explicit 'Banned in the U.S.A.' is doing brisk business. The more restriction, says an executive, the more interest is stimulated". LA Times. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "2 Live Crew Readies New Album, Mannie Fresh Assists". HipHopDX. 23 May 2010. 
  15. ^ "iTunes - Music - Take It Off by 2 Live Crew". iTunes. 
  16. ^ "2 Live Crew Music Video Production Shoot in Ft. Lauderdale". Canvasfilms.com. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  17. ^ a b https://www.facebook.com/realfreshkidice/
  18. ^ Christopher Wong Won, a founding member of 2 Live Crew, dies at 53 accessdate December 19, 2017
  19. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhmOxINhe_Y&t=408s
  20. ^ "How 2 Live Crew's Fresh Kid Ice Became a Worldwide Sex Symbol". Vice.com. 2016-07-22. Retrieved 2017-07-13. 
  21. ^ "2 Live Crew Fresh Kid Ice Dead". m.tmz.com. Retrieved 2017-07-13. 
  22. ^ Katel, Jacob (2014-09-02). "2 2 Live Crew's Brother Marquis on New Album, Turn Me On, and Three Decades of Dirty Rap". Miami New Times. Retrieved 2014-09-03. 
  23. ^ "Brother Marquis - Bottom Boi Style CD". CD Universe. 
  24. ^ Fisher v. Dees. 794 F.2d 432 (9th Cir. 1986).
  25. ^ "Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. , 510 U.S. 569 (1994)". caselaw.lp.findlaw.com. 

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