Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke prepares to be honored by VH1 and explains why Miami-Dade County is the birthplace of Southern hip-hop.
I'm feeling great that the VH1 Hip Hop Honors committee is finally recognizing the pioneers of the South for what we have accomplished in hip-hop. For a long time, there has been debate about whether Southern rap music is really hip-hop. I know a few so-called purists who are not happy the South is being recognized. And with all due respect, I don't think the people in charge of the VH1 Hip Hop Honors show have a clue about the actual pioneers of Southern hip-hop.
Yeah, I played a role with 2 Live Crew, but mostly I was the first independent record label executive. The producers didn't ask me about that. I was blackballed for so many years because of my accomplishments. Luke Records was the only independent rap label for a long time.
We were the first ones to exist and the first one to be outcasts. We weren't criticized only by the likes of Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource Center. Two Live Crew was denounced by New York rappers such as Run-D.M.C., the Fat Boys, Eric B. & Rakim, Salt-n-Pepa, and Kid 'n Play. They would boycott our shows and go on BET and talk bad about us.
We had two fights going on. On one hand, we were battling censorship of our lyrics. On the other, we were dealing with the perception we were not really in the hip-hop game. We were basically discriminated against in the hip-hop community. To this day, many in this community still don't want to give me props. They don't want to recognize Miami as the birthplace of Southern rap music. But it was born and raised in the county of Dade.
We were the first to shoot videos down here, helping the film industry and showing the world what we were all about: beautiful beaches and beautiful women. That did a lot for the city of Miami.
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It makes me happy to see those who have come after me succeed as well. I feel good about the accomplishments by labels such as Slip-N-Slide Records and Poe Boy Entertainment, as well as artists such as Rick Ross, Trick Daddy (whom I discovered at a freestyle contest at a teen disco), and Pitbull (who everyone told me would never succeed because there was no place for a Cuban rapper from Miami).
If it were up to me, this year's Hip Hop Honors show would be held in Miami. I'd close off NW 54th Street and 12th Avenue, home of the original teen disco — the Pac Jam — and Luke Records. Put the motherfucker on right there like a block party. I'm expecting the show will crown So So Def Recordings founder Jermaine Dupri or No Limit Records honcho Master P as the South's founding pioneer. But if it wasn't for Miami's Luke Records, there would be no Southern rap.
The 2010 VH1 Hip Hop Honors show airs this Monday at 9 p.m.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.