VIDEO: 2 Live Crew, "Me So Horny"
“I think a lot of our music got overshadowed by the girls,” says legendary DJ Mr. Mixx of 2 Live Crew. That may seem like the under-statement of the year, but he’s got a point.
In the world of rap, there has certainly been no group that did so much to bring females to the front of their lyrics (and the front of their stages). But 2 Live Crew weren’t the novelty act that they are all too often remembered as. “The one big misconception about 2 Live Crew was that everybody was trying to make us out to be the nastiest guys on earth,” Mixx says. “Before we was doing recordings, I was making mixtapes of the hottest rap records, and I’d just scratch in a Dolemite or Eddie Murphy record in between the breaks. Basically, all we was doing was comedy stuff to a beat. We was Eddie Murphy, Redd Foxx, and Richard Pryor, just as a rap group.” The group’s figurehead, known then as Luke Skyywalker and nowadays as Uncle Luke, adds, “It was all just comedy, and then all the controversy started and we became misogynists all of a sudden. We was like: ‘We ain’t doin’ this to offend nobody!’ ”
Back in their heyday in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the quartet — DJ/producer Mixx (David Hobbs), MCs Brother Marquis (Mark Ross) and Fresh Kid Ice (Christopher Wongwon), and manager/hype-man/first-amendment poster child Luther “Luke Skyywalker” Campbell — were running shit. The group’s label, Luke Skyywalker Records, was the first black-owned indie label to have two certified gold records. Master P couldn’t have done his thang if 2 Live hadn’t opened the door. “When I got in the record business, I wanted to be the next Quincy Jones,” Luke says today. “Russell Simmons is still messed up to this day about what kind of money we was making back then, because we were an independent label.” Mixx adds: “All this Master P and Puffy praise about them being groundbreaking entrepreneurs is all bullshit.None of them ever sold records to distributors directly. We did. We was a true indie label.”
Although 2 Live Crew is still known as a Miami group, its original incarnation (without Luke) was 3000 miles away. The original members met in Riverside, California, on March Air Force Base — Mixx and rappers the Amazing V and Fresh Kid Ice. Mixx recalls: “Me and Ice were in the Air Force. He worked outpatient records and I was a cook in the hospital on the base. Amazing V was in the service too.” Medical records and the military base eventually gave way to an unrelated but similar-sounding pursuit: bass records. The group put out two singles, in 1984 and 1985, on their own Fresh Beat label (distributed through West Coast powerhouse Macola): “Revelation” and “What I Like.” Mixx describes their first two wax outings: “The group was marginal on the rap side, but the beats and the scratching was what people really went for.”