February 1989: 2 Live Crew Releases "As Nasty As They Wanna Be"

 DJ Mr. Mixx (David Hobbs), Fresh Kid Ice (Chris Wong Won), Brother Marquis (Mark Ross), Luke Skyywalker (Luther Campbell) of the rap group "2 Live Crew" backstage at a concert in 1990. (Photo by Anna Krajec/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Photo Credit
(Anna Krajec/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Miami bass legends 2 Live Crew were already notorious by 1989. A huge draw on the city's club circuit, the group's raunchy party rap had gone national with the release of 1986 debut album, The 2 Live Crew is What We Are, featuring hits including "We Want Some P*ssy" and "Throw the D."

It was 2 Live Crew's third album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be, that would make them multi-platinum superstars. It would also hurdle the band into the national political spotlight when the record was the first in US history to be deemed obscene in a court of law.

The album was propelled by lead single "Me So Horny," which rocketed up the charts to #1 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. It even climbed to #26 on the Hot 100, impressive considering the lack of radio play due to the racy lyrics.

Released on February 6, 1989, As Nasty As They Wanna Be would grow in notoriety over the course of the year. It would peak at #3 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album would get as high as #29 on the Hot 100 album almost 12 full months after release on January 20, 1990.

As more and more parents discovered the group's music in their children's possession, Broward County Sheriff Nick Navarro in Florida had enough. When those parental complaints reached his office, he got a court order from U.S. District Judge Jose Gonzalez declaring the music obscene. The word was out: any record store caught selling 2 Live Crew was subject to prosecution.

It was in early June 1989 when a Ft. Lauderdale record store owner was arrested for selling a copy of the album to an undercover cop.

A few days later, two members of 2 Live Crew--Luther Campbell and Christopher Wongwon  (AKA Fresh Kid Ice) were arrested after performing at Club Futura in Hollywood, Florida.

"They had said on TV that if they felt like performing from As Nasty As They Wanna Be, they would, and now they are as arrested as they want to be,"  a spokesperson from the sheriff's office crowd to the Sun Sentinal. "The cause for the arrest is their defiance of the judge's order."

“I told the guys to be prepared to go to jail for this,” Campbell told The Daily Beast in 2015. “I knew the police were there.”

A few months later, the band was acquitted in a jury trial, and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court overturned the ruling that called the album obscene.

“We had the Al Sharptons and the Jesse Jacksons coming at us saying this is wrong, against women and so on, and I said ‘you guys are not looking at the big picture,’" Campbell stressed years later. "I wasn’t fighting for music or my livelihood, it was about the right to create something.”  

Artist Name

Read More

Cover art
The Bangles breathed new life into the Prince-penned song and scored themselves a Top 10 hit.
Album cover art

Released in August 1983, Construction Time Again marked a new chapter in the thrilling Depeche Mode series. 

Kevin Winter/Getty Images
The guitarist's son shared his thoughts.

Facebook Comments