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The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are

2 Live Crew

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Album Review

There was a time when many New York hip-hoppers refused to believe that rappers from Miami could record a gold or platinum album or give them any real competition. That was before 1986, when the 2 Live Crew's debut album, 2 Live Is What We Are, came out on Luther Campbell's Miami-based Luke Skyywalker Records (later renamed Luke Records). This LP did a lot to popularize Florida-style bass music, and like the gangsta rap that was coming from California, it demonstrated that rappers didn't have to be from New York to sell a lot of records. Musically, 2 Live Is What We Are was a definite departure from New York rap — the grooves are much faster — and lyrically, the album put booty rhymes on the map. The 2 Live Crew wasn't the first rap group to talk about sex, but this album did take sexually explicit rap lyrics to a new level of nastiness. With X-rated offerings like "Throw the D" and "We Want Some P***y," Campbell and his colleagues popularized a style of rap that thrives on decadence for the sake of decadence. These tunes are as humorous as they are raunchy; Campbell has often compared the 2 Live Crew's booty rhymes to the off-color humor of Richard Pryor, Andrew Dice Clay, and Rudy Ray Moore — and, to be sure, there are some parallels. Like those comedians, the 2 Live Crew is genuinely funny — but only if you have a taste for X-rated humor. Anyone who finds Moore, Pryor, and Clay offensive should avoid the 2 Live Crew as well. But for those who do appreciate that type of humor, 2 Live Is What We Are is a classic of its kind.

Biography

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...
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The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are, 2 Live Crew
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