Still nasty

By BRIAN COLEMAN  |  July 18, 2007

“Luke came to the front of the stage after a while, since Marquis and Fresh Kid Ice weren’t really messing with the crowd,” Mixx recalls. “So Luke and other dudes from Ghetto Style DJs would jump on stage when we would perform ‘Trow the D’ and do the dance and pull girls up onstage to dance with them. That’s how the group got to be how everybody knows it now. Eventually Luke or Marquis would pull a girl out of the audience and start humpin’ on her, and that always broke the ice with the crowd. A lot of times girls would come up and want to challenge us, thinking they had more game than 2 Live Crew. That definitely made every show unpredictable.”

The group continued building on their “adult comedy” niche throughout 1986 and 1987, with continuing fan response. Mixx explains: “All our sex stuff basically came from how the girls were dancing at the parties we’d play, along with the comedy records I had. We were just having fun and reacting to the crowds. For example, they used to do that ‘We want some pussy’ chant at all the parties, so we just made it into a record [a single off the 2 Live Crew Is What We Are album].”

The group’s first two albums, late 1986’s 2 Live Crew Is What We Are and 1987’s Move Somethin’, both on Luke Skyywalker, were huge hits in the south and west of the US, each going gold (again: on an indie label, with indie distribution). Given the misconceptions that all the group wanted to do was pollute the minds of our nation’s youth, it should be noted that Move Somethin’ and As Nasty As They Wanna Be both had corresponding “clean” versions available. Mixx says: “We was the first group to have the parental-advisory stickers on our records, after our first album got in the hands of a 14-year-old in 1987. The kid’s mother made a stink, called the distributor, Tipper Gore got involved, and those stickers got made.” Luke relates a sad fact: “Even after we did those clean versions we still got flack. People said that we were doing the clean versions just so people would want to buy the dirty versions. We couldn’t win!”

As popular as their first two albums were, their third full-length, As Nasty As They Wanna Be, was the big kahuna both in terms of sales and controversy. As with all 2 Live Crew records, it was recorded quickly, this time at Luke’s recently inaugurated Luke Studios, which he purchased from Miami production legend Pretty Tony. He describes the group’s basic and effective production dynamic: “I would have an idea about a song and go to Mixx and he’d put the music together, then maybe I’d give Marquis and Ice the idea for the lyrics.”

Mixx always had a cache of tracks waiting to be matched to a lyric or concept: “I was always doing tracks, so none of our albums took long to record.” Samples were never an issue either, as he explains: “Back in the day we never cleared samples. [He laughs.] What ended up happening was that we didn’t clear ’em, and then we just got sued. We was selling so many records and making so much money that it was easier to just pay the settlement than to clear that shit in the first place!”

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