Thus, after an undercover officer purchased the work from a Fort Lauderdale store, its owner was arrested. A few days later, authorities cracked down on an adults-only 2 Live Crew show at a club in nearby Hollywood. Luke remembers "horses and helicopters" surrounding the venue, and he and Fresh Kid Ice were cuffed shortly after the concert. The arrests made national news, and the controversy helped spur Nasty sales well over a million.

Yet performing continued to be difficult. Insurers charged venue owners exorbitant rates to host the group's gigs, and dog-bearing cops surrounded 2 Live Crew in-store shows. When they did play, they continued to be arrested, though Luke says they were always quickly bailed out and were eventually acquitted of the charges.

At one point, Luke decided to have some fun with the cops. At a Jacksonville solo concert, he saw the police lurking offstage, ready to haul him in if he performed the taboo tracks. So he asked the crowd to relay a message to the boys in blue for him. "Tell them to kiss my black ass!" he said, proceeding to drop his drawers and moon everyone.

The venue's engineer immediately triggered a massive light and sound display, blinding the police and giving Luke a chance to make his getaway. He removed his shirt, jumped into the crowd, and exited through the front door. There he hopped into a waiting car and made his way out of town on southbound I-95. "The great escape," he remembers with a smirk. "Y'all got to wake up pretty early in the morning to catch me."

At the Athens show, I stand at the rear of the stage, moving aside as women from the crowd climb up. Luke is not so much performing tonight as hosting, imploring the crowd to get loose while a rotund DJ spins trap rap CDs from artists like Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame.

The party has a sleepwear theme, so many of the ladies are clad in skimpy negligees — black, purple, and pink numbers that don't hide much. Following behind them are scores of dudes, some toting their own bottles of booze. "The guys must get down," rumble the half-dozen security guards, although they're not particularly adamant about this request. By the time Luke announces that the "contest" will begin shortly, seemingly half of the crowd is up here.

I'm not sure what this contest will entail, but to lubricate the dozen participants, Luke begins pouring tequila from a bottle of Patrón directly into their throats. Luke's traveling partner Chris tells me to help myself to the Bacardi and Coke, and before long I'm chatting up everyone in my vicinity. None of the girls know much of Luke's music, although some of them have seen his VH1 reality show.

Before long, Luke announces the prize, $600, and with that the event begins. Forming a line, the women strut, pageant-like, across the stage, pausing to turn and shake their butts very quickly, as if controlled by one of those vibrating weight-loss belts. They continue in this vein for a while, until Luke urges them to disrobe, implying that whoever gets the most naked will win the purse.

Tops quickly come off and then, to my astonishment, bottoms. Soon the exercise has devolved into a sweaty tongue-wrestling match, with a few naked and near-naked girls frolicking with each other.

"Kiss on the mouth, goddammit!" Luke yells as the circle around him tightens. By now the bouncers have completely stopped keeping order, too busy trying to get a glimpse of the action. I can't see anything myself, which is why I'm not sure if the ladies comply with Luke's instructions to pleasure each other, although, judging from the crowd's reaction, I suspect they do.

It's at this point when Chris suggests I jump in and join the festivities. As a recently married, STD-free man, I respectfully decline.

This story is part of "Luther Campbell: Bass and Booty," excerpted from New Times contributor Ben Westhoff's new book, Dirty South: OutKast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop, published by Chicago Review Press.

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4 comments
Rob Boyte
Rob Boyte

Thanks to Ben Westhoff for the flashback to the early '90s and our struggles against censors like Jack Thompson and abusive pigs like Sheriff Nick Navarro (I hope "Mike" Navarro was a mistake only in the New Times article and not Ben's book).

I don't recall ever listening to As Nasty as They Wanna Be - it's not my thing. But I do recall objecting to it being censored because freedom of expression is my thing. Not only did sales of this record increase from the attacks on it (Censors are stupid and never learn) but public opinion sided with the band, even from those who did not particularly care for the song. It is a Voltaire thing. Even State Senator Connie Mack, a Republican defended this song.

And, in October 1990 the six member jury agreed, acquitting Luther and two other band members, rejecting the oppressive censors; Thompson, Navarro, Governor Bob Martinez and U.S. District Judge Jose A. Gonzalez Jr who ruled the song obscene earlier that year.

IDK how Campbell would be as Mayor of Miami-Dade County or even if he has a chance against the well-funded Hispanic opposition who had exclusive venue at FIU but what the hell, I'm voting for him. Can he be any worse than the others?

Rob Boyte

Steve
Steve

Face down ass up!

Al Kohalic
Al Kohalic

thursday may 12th? this was written in the future!

 
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