One interesting side note: contrary to what fans might have assumed, when the group got in the studio, it wasn’t a party-time affair. “It’d be all business,” says Luke. “If I was recording by myself in there, it got crazy. You name it, it went on in there. I got a lot of song ideas by stuff I’d see in those sessions! [He laughs.] But with the group, it was boom, boom, boom, knock the tracks out.” Mixx agrees: “The studio was the only place where we actually had any real peace, believe it or not. We all had our own friends, too, so that was really the only time where we would all get together.”
After quick work in early 1989, As Nasty As They Wanna Be was released in June. It built slowly but surely, driven by the lascivious, bass-driven singles “Me So Horny” and “C’mon Babe,” and as the new decade turned, things started to get crazy in a way that no one could have predicted. “We had sold 1.3 million records by March 1990, independently,” says Mixx. “And then that sheriff [Broward County, Florida, sheriff Nick Navarro] started attacking the group. He tried to tell stores not to sell our record and even filed a suit against us for obscene material being sold. Not just to minors — just being sold, period!”
The group had fought in court before to protect their right to be as nasty as they chose, but things came to a head that spring of 1990, as Navarro’s men arrested Luke, Marquis, and Fresh Kid Ice after a show in Hollywood, Florida. “We went to court about it being legally obscene, and we lost,” Luke recalls. “Then we performed in Hollywood after the judgment, and the sheriff said, ‘If you perform any of those songs [on the album], we’ll arrest you.’ We didn’t really think they’d do it.” Luke and Ice got arrested later that night, driving home in Luke’s car. Mixx and Marquis rode in a van with the group’s female dancers to hide. Marquis turned himself in the next day. “I didn’t get arrested because I didn’t say any of the lyrics,” Mixx explains.
As much as the controversy helped to sell even more records (Luke estimates that the record has gone quadruple platinum to date: “It’s still selling, and it probably always will,” he grins), Luke has some regrets, since all the headlines cloud his and the group’s important legacy. “In the end I’d rather that all that stuff hadn’t happened,” he says today. “Because I’d be more appreciated as an executive in the record industry. I think I’d be a lot more successful. I would have done my industry a lot more of a service if I hadn’t gone through all that. To this day I still get blackballed. But we learned after a while that we couldn’t beat the machine. We just had to do our own thing, regardless of what people said that we were.”