Luther Campbell talks sex-rap, censorship and racism

Luther "Luke" Campbell of 2 Live Crew on how his controversial rap group changed the game.
Luther Campbell joins Shad to discuss 'The Book of Luke: My Fight for Truth, Justice, and Liberty City'. (Victoria Will/The Associated Press)

His music was labelled legally obscene — but Luther "Luke" Campbell didn't flinch. The 2 Live Crew member says his band stuck by their explicit lyrics, despite the threat of jail time.

That 90s court case wound up making waves in wider culture. The rap group's successful defense of their right to be as nasty as they wanna be set the stage for future controversial acts. 

Decades after that game-changing decision, Campbell joins Shad to discuss his memoir, The Book of Luke: My Fight for Truth, Justice, and Liberty City

His music was labelled legally obscene — but Luther Campbell didn't flinch. The 2 Live Crew member shares his story. (CBC)
1. 2 Live Crew was the first musical act in hip-hop history — actually pop music history — to have their music considered legally obscene by an American court of law. 

2. Their use of Roy Orbison's Oh, Pretty Woman, and ensuing Supreme court case, helped legitimise the commercial use of parody songs, paving the way for cultural phenoms Weird Al Yankovic and Saturday Night Live. 

3. They pioneered the Miami bass party sound that would later give us Tag Team, Quad City DJs, Lil Jon and LMFAO, among others.

4.  Hate it or love it, 2 Live Crew helped make parties at clubs and beaches staple backdrops for hip-hop music videos (see pretty much every video posted above).


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?