2 Live Crew, C'Mon Babe (Doo Doo Brown version)
2 Live Crew, Hoochie Mama
2 Live Crew, Get It Girl extended mix
Ok, this is the final post on Miami Bass, as we will be moving on to baile funk next. Or ghettotech. Or dancehall. Not sure, as I'm trying to be open and improvisatory this week. You know how we do. Actually, we normally are not cool, worry constantly and try to find insults in innocent emails sent between two people. So, whatever.
I can think of no better way to end this look at Miami Bass than with its most famous practitioners, 2 Live Crew. I am sure that everyone reading this has heard of the group, and would venture a guess that everyone has heard at least one of their songs. More than likely in seventh grade, a friend telling you about these rappers who talk about fucking and blowjobs and pussy. Unfortunately, I feel like Luke Campbell's group will never be remembered as more than a sideshow, a late 80s version of ODB or Body Count. Fodder for right wingers looking to scare suburban parents and VH-1 shows looking for a laugh.
Oh, but 2 Live Crew was so much more. I hope that the tracks above will spur people to pick up their masterpiece, As Nasty As They Wanna Be, or the Greatest Hits package that brings their entire reign together nicely. To my beginner ears, they added the most to the Bass tradition, putting out bona fide hits nationwide, not just for Miami and deep South heads.
Their most lasting impact is seen everyday on BET and MTV Jams, on the hits that play on Power 99 and Hot 97. It was the battles fought by Luke and crew that paved the way for the sexually explicit, anything-goes atmosphere today. It is hard to remember, with videos like 50 Cent's "Candy Shop" all over the airwaves, but these guys were taken to court on obscenity charges. It was Luke Campbell's refusal to back down on his 1st Amendment right that opened the door for today's hip hop and pop culture to talk sex without fear of repercussion. I am curious to see who will step up in the present climate to fight the Radical Right and its culture war.
Just as important, Luke Campbell fought hard for the notion of sampling after being sued for his use of Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman", challenging the strict copyright laws of this country. This strict interpretation of copyright law would have been a deathknell for hip hop, which has its roots in "theft" and appropriation. In Campbell v Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Campbell, supporting his right to parody. This case set a new precedent in copyright law, from which artists of all ilks benefit to this day.
-Here is a nice academic article by Mathieu Deflem on censorship and music in the 1980s, with a section devoted to the various arrests and prosecutions of 2 Live Crew. An interesting piece, which sadly does not strike me as history.
-Speaking of wars on hip hop, I wanted to mention the raid on Kim's in the East Village over its carrying hip hop mix CDs.
-Game 7 tonight between the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons in San Antonio. I can't really say that I care, as this series has just not done it for me. 2 horrible offenses, not enough exciting or likeable players, just a real bad ending to an exciting season. I wanna root for my bol Rasheed Wallace, but I really can't stand Larry Brown, any of the other players, their obnoxious fans (cf the brawl vs. the Pacers) or the way that they play such ugly basketball. Whatever, as Imma be at the 700 Club tonight drinking and dancing.
-Looking for another train wreck to watch on television tonight? Head to the UPN (as if you weren't already there) and catch the season finale of Chaotic, Britney and Kevin's show. Can you handle our truth, they ask? If by "handle," they mean become nauseous, bored out of my mind and sad for the future of our country, then the answer is a resounding "YES!" Since it is the season finale, I understand that there is a surprise in store for viewers. In a nod to Dallas, we will all wake up at the end of the episode and realize that we have been dreaming the past 5 years of Bush, Britney and Bill O'Reilly. Please?
-All of the mp3s from the last few weeks will be re-upped by tomorrow morning. Get them now, or forever hold your peace.