2 Live Crew
Guy Lochhead, 05/10/10
Miami rap crew notorious for their sexually-explicit lyrics, particularly on their album ‘As Nasty As They Wanna Be’, released in 1989. The album caused a frenzy of controversy, upsetting the Christian American Family Association (despite one of those beloved Parental Advisory stickers) and leading to prosecutions of record shop owners and obscenity charges, which in turn led to massive album sales. When their next albums couldn’t live up to this, they split pretty messily in 1992, but re-formed regularly with various line-ups from 1994 to the present. ‘As Nasty As They Wanna Be’ came out at a sort of tipping point in the development of hip hop, and pretty much tipped it the wrong way. There’s no way to quantify the influence 2 Live Crew have had on contemporary hip hop – and I think that if they didn’t exist, a similar group would appear anyway, because that’s how that sort of ‘party rap’ thing was going, with more gangsta elements coming in – but I’d say they helped to solidify some of the worst parts of what’s now seen as hip hop. This doesnt mean they should be censored, just ignored. Despite experiencing first-hand the ridiculousness of the music industry, the group dissolved into squabbling about brand names, copyright, contracts and solo labels, going Christian, reforming and splitting forever. Oh hip hop, what happened to you…? The same thing as happens to everything else…

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