(Note: Music That Sucks is the correct opinion of the author. If you have a problem with said opinion I will slap you upside the head with my dick almighty.)
Well I'm sure you knew it was coming: MTS is finally entering the world of rap music. This particular induction was a difficult one for me to make, and I feel I should give an explanation before I get into it (a little garnish before the meat and potatoes, if you will.)
First off, it should be noted I am by far not the biggest fan of rap music. With that said, I was a huge fan back in my early teen "fuck the world" days. A friend of mine turned me on to N.W.A. (Niggaz With Attitude for those not in the know), and they hooked me with their angry, lude lyrics I was positive my parents would hate. I never dressed the part, so to speak, but I quickly became a fan of rap music; the dirtier the lyrics the better. I was also a fan of 2 Live Crew (among others), so this marks another MTS first; an act that I had actually liked at one point in my life.
This brings me to a second point; there comes a time in a person's life when they "outgrow" something that had once appealed to them. I'm sure if I were to watch some of the cartoons of my day (Thundercats, for instance), I would think less of it than I did when I was a kid. 2 Live Crew fits into this category.
The major problem I had with this induction is that 2 Live Crew deserves respect. As I will go into with more detail, they fought the government and won. Perhaps unwittingly, they became the poster-boys for the fight against censorship. MTS, however, is all about the music; and while some music I liked when I was younger has withstood the test of time, 2 Live Crew's has not. Indeed, this is some sucky music: bastions of free speech or no. It should also be noted that I had to bend the rules of MTS a bit for this induction, technically 2 Live Crew is a "one-hit wonder". However, due to the current climate of society today, I thought it necessary.
Our story begins in 1985 California with the trio of Chris Wong Won, David Hobbs, and a rapper known as Amazing V forming 2 Live Crew. Wong Won would take the stage name Fresh Kid Ice, and Hobbs (the group's DJ) would come be to known as Mr. Mixx. After the release of a debut single ("Revelation"), Ice and Mixx would move to Miami and replace V with a rapper out of New York known as Brother Marquis (real name Mark Ross). The trio would then sign with a brand new record label, "Luke Skyywalker" records, which was headed by Luther Campbell ("Luke Skyywalker"), who would become the group's promoter/manager, and eventually join them on stage.
In 1986 2 Live Crew released their first album, Is What We Are. From the beginning they pulled no punches about what they were setting out to create, with the single "We Want Some Pussy" letting listeners know that this music is not intended for immature ears. The music in the first album features a defect that would plague the group throughout it's existance; they sound as though they recorded it with a cheap tape recorder they bought at Wal-Mart. Music doesn't have to be slick and polished, but third graders could have produced an album with the same results.
Their second album, 1988's Move Somethin', provided more of the same $10 production values with dirty lyrics. The album, with songs as "Head, Booty, and Cock" and "Pussy-Ass Nigga", is only notable as it marked a trend which would later on get them in trouble. The single "Doo Wah Diddy" is not a cover of the 1964 Manfred Mann tune per se, but rather a dirty parody. I don't believe such lyrics as "I met this bitch standing on the block/she'll suck on my dick if I buy her some rock" made it to the original version.
1989 was the peak year for 2 Live Crew. Up to this point they had built a small following, but they would hit the big time with their third album As Nasty As They Wanna Be. This album marked a first for the group, for at the same time they released Nasty, they released a censored version of the album titled As Clean As They Wanna Be (which was about 20 minutes shorter and had 7 fewer songs). The single "Me So Horny", which was built around a line from the Stanley Kubrick film Full Metal Jacket, became a huge hit despite no radio play whatsoever. This put 2 Live Crew into the mainstream, and seems to be the beginning of their legal troubles.
The first trouble with the law had nothing to do with Nasty. George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, sued Campbell and Luke Skyywalker Records for infringing on his copyright. The case was settled out of court for a reported $300,000, and Campbell subsequently dropped "Skyywalker" from his stage name and the name of his record label. Next on the docket was a single from Clean, "Pretty Woman". Rose-Acuff Music, who owns the original "Oh, Pretty Woman" made famous by Roy Orbison, refused to license the song to the group, and sued on the grounds that it "tarnished the reputation of the original". A lower court ruled in favor of 2 Live Crew and Luther Campbell in 1991, but after a successful appeal the case was taken to the Supreme Court. The Court ruled in favor of Campbell in 1994, deciding that the Crew version was a parody and protected under the Fair Use Act.
The best part of their legal troubles was when censorship groups looked to have the single and album banned from sale to minors (or perhaps outright). Groups such as the Parents Music Resource Center (led by Tipper Gore) rallied against Crew and other "vulgar" artists, and called for government intervension as well as labeling "offensive" albums. This led to the infamous "Parental Advisory" label you see on albums today. A record store owner would be arrested (and later aquitted) for a selling a copy of Nasty (to an adult), and the group themselves would be arrested for performing music from the album at an adults-only show.
In response to all of this, Campbell released a solo album (which was billed as "featuring 2 Live Crew") titled Banned In The U.S.A. in 1990. This album saw Luke and Co. move away from their patented pussy talk and tackle the topic of censorship head-on. It is difficult to enjoy the album however, the low-rent production values continue to haunt the group, and aside from the title track (a "parody" of Bruce Springsteen's hit "Born In The U.S.A.), there is nothing that catches the listener's ear. 1991 would see the release of the final 2 Live Crew album with the famous lineup, Sports Weekend (As Nasty As They Wanna Be Part II). This album would also see the release of a "clean version", but despite singles such as "Pop That Pussy" the album went nowhere and the group fell apart.
Members of the group would attempt to have solo careers, Campbell would produce porn tapes and file for bankruptcy, and the group would reform with various members added or left out; but for the most part 2 Live Crew was dead as they rode their one trick pony straight to the glue factory. Having no substance whatsoever to their music would tire their once loyal listener base.
2 Live Crew, music...that sucks!
*NOTE: Coming soon, a very special MTS as we celebrate the 25th induction. I won't tell you who it is, but get out your sequined gloves, grab your nutsacks, and try to fight off the temptation of inviting young boys into your bed. AHH-HEE-HEE!