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Banned In the USA

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Album Review

When Florida attorney Jack Thompson did everything he could to have the X-rated music of the 2 Live Crew outlawed, his assault on the First Amendment led many free-speech advocates to take up the group's cause. Thompson's actions inspired quite a bit of anger from both White liberals and African-American rappers, who saw something obscene about a prosperous lawyer declaring war on a young Black entrepreneur who had avoided the pitfalls of Miami's Liberty City ghetto. Luke was under attack for doing the very thing Republicans consistently advocate — using free enterprise to pull himself up by the bootstraps. Ironically, many of those who defended his First Amendment rights had little or no use for his lyrics. Banned in the USA, the Crew's first album for a major label and its first after the battle with Thompson, is for many, a guilty pleasure. Say what you will about Luke's high-school locker-room lyrics; the Crew's Miami bass rap can be quite catchy, infectious and amusing. Many New York hip-hoppers were quick to critcize the fast tempos employed by Miami rappers like Luke, but the fact that they did it their own way instead of emulating Northeastern MCs is something to admire instead of lambast. [Banned in the USA was released in an edited version with all of the profanity removed.]


Formed: 1985 in California

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

No rap group (save, perhaps, N.W.A) has stirred more controversy or provoked more heated debate than the 2 Live Crew. The furor over the graphic sexual content of their X-rated party rhymes -- specifically their 1989 album As Nasty as They Wanna Be -- was a major catalyst in making rap music a flash point for controversy and an easily visible target for self-appointed moral guardians. The fierce attacks on the group's First Amendment rights put many of their defenders in an awkward position -- passionately...
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Banned In the USA, The 2 Live Crew
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