2 Live Crew

There's an attitude that artistically successful local acts share no matter the musical style. Maybe it's the geographic isolation or just the damn heat, but a detachment from other "happening" scenes affords Miamians musical acts that play by their own rules. With 2 Live Crew this parochialism found its zenith. The sound itself began with the DJ (David Hobbs) and his 808 drum machine (and vast record collection) popping beats that were (and still are, for that matter) infectiously danceable. Mark "Brother Marquis" Ross added some of the best raps ever put down, and the other members (and dancers and audiences) added so much crazy fun that the Crew ended up in federal court more than once and, eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court. It fought for freedom of speech, against prior restraint, and, in its landmark case, for the right to parody other songs. (Weird Al and other parodists couldn't perform if not for the Crew's fight for the right to mock and mimic copyrighted music.) The Crew didn't invent lewdness, ass shaking, the dozens, or call and response. It simply took all of them to new heights.


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