In 1985, Luke was a hotshot club DJ (his crew was dubbed Ghetto Style DJs) and promoter in Miami, known for making soon-to-be hit records popular in clubs like his home base, Pac Jam on 199th Street in northeast Miami. “My whole thing back then was breaking records,” he explains. “If I liked a group I’d call up the artist and say: ‘Look, I’m gonna make your record hot. Give me three weeks and come down and do a show for me.’ The first group I brought down was T La Rock and Jazzy Jay. I would bring guys down and they would have never been on an airplane before in their life.”
In 1985, the Cali version of 2 Live Crew was one such group. Luke invited them to Miami in August, where at Pac Jam they played their first show ever. Mixx remembers one extra reason that Luke was inclined to like the group. “There’s a lyric in our song ‘2 Live’ [the B-side to “Revelation”] where Ice says, ‘Like Luke Skywalker/I got the force.’ When the record started catching on in Miami, Luke told people that it was about him.”
Mixx remembers that first show in 1985 vividly: “I had never seen that kind of stuff that [opening act] Ghetto Style DJs did. They’d pull the music completely out and do their own phrases and choruses for songs. They weren’t doing any real scratching at all. They’d play all the latest hip-hop and reggae records, but they’d also play old-school breaks. They were really popular. Luke had an amazing sound system, too. Twenty-four bass bins and almost no tweeters. Our first show was well received even though we didn’t have very much stage presence. My scratching was a big issue back then, though, in Miami. They weren’t seeing that in the South then. No one could do that stuff.”
The group returned, again at Luke’s request, on New Year’s Eve 1985 and were again received well. But shortly thereafter, the Amazing V left, choosing a safe military career over the less certain hip-hop route. With the group down to one MC, Mixx knew just the person to fill the spot — a local Riverside rapper whom he had always liked named Marquis Ross. The problem: Marquis had moved back to his home town of Rochester, New York, after graduating from Riverside Polytech High School. With help from LA’s Rodney O (of Rodney O & Joe Cooley fame), Mixx located Marquis and persuaded him to come back to California to join the group.
With very little to keep them in California (Mixx had since left the service and Ice was thinking about leaving), Miami became the group’s new home by the end of 1986. Mixx says: “We didn’t have no kind of angle in LA, nothing going on, but things were hopping off in Miami, so we went there.”