Imagine if Mick Jagger left the Rolling Stones but he wasn't allowed to sing any of the band's songs or say he had been part of one of rock's greatest acts. What if Dr. Dre and Ice Cube couldn't call themselves former N.W.A. members or perform the work that skyrocketed them to fame?
Well, that's the scenario playing out for a true Miami music legend, David Hobbs, AKA Mr. Mixx.
Mixx is the founder and producer of 2 Live Crew. In the early 1980s, he formed the group in California. Soon he caught my attention with the song "2 Live Beat Box," which showed his prowess with the 808 bass machine. Mr. Mixx also recruited 2 Live's main MCs, Fresh Kid Ice and Brother Marquis. I entered the picture as the group's hype man, coproducer, and record label executive. Then I persuaded them to relocate to Miami and make history together.
Mixx was the brains of the outfit, cooking up beats and chopping up samples. For instance, the inspiration for 2 Live Crew's biggest hit, "Me So Horny," was the scene in the Stanley Kubrick film Full Metal Jacket when the main characters are haggling with a Vietnamese hooker over price. I thought it was so funny and raunchy that we had to use her dialogue in a song. Mr. Mixx laid down the track, which I then took to Fresh Kid Ice and Brother Marquis so they could come up with the lyrics.
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Yet Mr. Mixx is not allowed to play any 2 Live Crew records anymore. The reason: a 6-year-old slimy-as-hell settlement agreement with Lil Joe Records. That company's owner, Joe Weinberger, is my former lawyer. After my label, Luke Records, was forced into involuntary bankruptcy in the early 1990s, Weinberger purchased the rights to all of Luke Records' music.
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Mixx isn't even allowed to say he was affiliated with the group to promote himself. If he does, he could be held in contempt of court and be forced to pay Lil Joe $750,000. Mixx told me about his predicament shortly after I asked him to DJ some of my upcoming performances. It shows how nasty the music industry can be.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.