David "Mr. Mixx" Hobbs originally formed the 2 Live Crew with Fresh Kid Ice and Amazing V. They released their first single, "Revelation", in 1985. Amazing V left the group after that and was replaced by Brother Marquis. They caught the attention of Luther Campbell, a fellow rapper who had his own record label. Luther joined the group and signed them to his Luke Skyywalker Records, which put out their first album, The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are, in 1986. Through word of mouth alone, the album managed to sell enough to go gold. Another album, Move Somethin, followed in 1988.
By the time they released their double album As Nasty As They Wanna Be in 1989, the 2 Live Crew had gained nationwide notoriety for their bawdy lyrics and outrageous stage shows. Then they ran afoul of the law when Florida attorney Jack Thompson, on behalf of the American Family Association, sought to press obscenity charges on the group and ban their records from being sold in record stores. The legal battle went all the way to the federal appeals court, which ruled in favor of the 2 Live Crew and dropped the obscenity charges. The U.S. Supreme Court refused the appeal by the prosecutors after that. Amidst all the controversy, As Nasty As They Wanna Be sold two million copies.
The court battle led Luther Campbell to become an advocate for free speech, releasing Banned In The U.S.A. in 1990 to vent his frustrations with Moral Guardians and overprotective government. (But not without having to change the name of his label to Luke Records... that same year George Lucas successfully sued Luther to make him drop the "Luke Skyywalker" name.)
After releasing a follow-up album Sports Weekend in 1991, the group disbanded in 1992. Luke and Fresh Kid Ice tried re-forming "The New 2 Live Crew" in 1994 with rapper Verb, but the album they made had little commercial success. Fresh Kid Ice, Brother Marquis and Mr. Mixx then made Shake A Lil' Somethin in 1996 without Luke or his record label. Since then the 2 Live Crew has been a Revolving Door Band, with Fresh Kid Ice as the only constant. The second quote is there because, once the attention brought by the controversy died down, the media ignored them.
Not to be confused with the Leverage episode "The Two Live Crew Job."
- Fresh Kid Ice a.k.a. Chris Wongwon (the only constant member of the group, who would in fact perform solo, billed as the "2 Live Crew", during The Noughties) Passed away in 2017 of cirrhosis.
- Amazing V a.k.a. Yuri Vielot (1985)
- Brother Marquis a.k.a. Mark Ross (1985-1992, 1995-1998, 2008-present)
- Luke Skyywalkernote a.k.a. Luther Campbell (1985-1996)
- Mr. Mixx a.k.a. David Hobbs (1985-1998)
- Verb (1994-1995)
- Tiki (1998-2001)
- 1986 - The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are
- 1988 - Move Somethin
- 1989 - As Nasty As They Wanna Be
- 1990 - Banned In The U.S.A. (originally billed as "The Luke LP featuring the 2 Live Crew")
- 1991 - Sports Weekend: As Nasty As They Wanna Be Part II
- 1994 - Back At Your Ass For The Nine-4
- 1996 - Shake A Lil Somethin
- 1998 - The Real One
2 Live Tropes:
- A Party, Also Known as an Orgy: Many, many examples.
- Affectionate Parody: Not long after As Nasty As They Wanna Be was released, Eric Lambert (MC Moisha) and Joe Stone (Easy Irving), calling themselves 2 Live Jews, made an album called As Kosher As They Wanna Be.
- All Men Are Perverts: Well, almost all men, save for the occasional "Pussy Ass Nigga".
- Audience Participation Song: "We Want Some Pussy". On actual live shows, all their songs will be this in some way or another.
- The Band Minus the Face: When they continued on after Luke left.
- Bawdy Song: Take your pick.
- Bleached Underpants: As Clean As They Wanna Be, which did not sell anywhere close to the amount of copies that the original did.
- Call-and-Response Song: Luke was fond of these. "Head Booty & Cock" and "If You Believe In Having Sex" are good examples.
- The Cameo: Brother Marquis, Fresh Kid Ice and Mr. Mixx all appear on the Insane Clown Posse's Bootlegged in L.A. DVD.
- Camp Gay: "Hey Jack"."Jack and Bob... I can see you guys humping each otherrrr!"
- Casual Kink: "S&M"
- Cluster F-Bomb: Jack Thompson counted the F-bombs on As Nasty As They Wanna Be and announced that "fuck" was heard 199 times. Cluster F Bombs are also strategically deployed on "Fuck Martinez".
- Color Motif: Wore shiny green jackets in their early days.
- Country Matters: Not much use of the C-word, actually. It does show up in As Nasty As They Wanna Be on "Put Her In The Buck".
- Dance Sensation: "Throw The D", "Do The Bart"
- Dirty Rap: A Trope Codifier, their raunchy lyrics, mostly of the Intercourse with You variety, got them a lot of attention (both positive and negative).
- Disorganized Outline Speech: Luke's speech in "Banned in the U.S.A", especially everything after "We have the freedom of CHOICE!":"What is this??
Is this not America?
This is not China!
This is not Russia!
This is not the place where they brought down the wall, this is America!
We have the right to say what we want to say, we have the right to do what we want to do
And what I do in my house, you might not do in your house!
So what I do in my house is my business!
And the simple fact of it all is that we are BONDED by the First Amendment!
We have the freedom of EXPRESSION!
We have the freedom of CHOICE!
And you, Chinese, black, green, purple, Jew
YOU have the right to listen to whoever you want to, and even the 2 Live Crew!
So all you right-wingers, left-wingers, bigots, Communists
There IS a place for you in this world!
Because this is the land of the FREE, the home of the BRAVE!
And 2 Live is what we are!"
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Their first single, "Revelation", is borderline Christian rap.
- Everybody Has Lots of Sex: In most of their song lyrics, everyone mentioned engages in copious amounts of sex.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: As Nasty As They Wanna Be certainly lived up to its name (especially for its time), covering just about every sexual topic short of incest and bestiality.
- Fake-Out Fade-Out: At the end of "Pop That Pussy".
- Fractured Fairy Tale: "Dirty Nursery Rhymes", as the title suggests, takes various well known nursery rhymes like "Jack and Jill" and "Little Miss Muffet", and turns them into something much dirtier.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Sexually Active Today?
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: "Dick Almighty" has lots of terms for male genitalia.
- I Ate WHAT?!: "She thought I came in her mouth, but I was only peein'" - from "My Seven Bizzos"
- Intercourse with You: The Trope Codifier in the rap world. Song titles like "We Want Some Pussy", "Face Down Ass Up", and "The Fuck Shop" tell you everything you need to know about their lyrical content. It'd be easier to list the songs that don't involve sexual activity.
- Legacy Band: The group Poison Clan were known as "The baby 2 Live Crew."
- List Song: "Fraternity Record", "Fuck Martinez" and any other song that is basically Luke going "Fuck [insert person, place or thing here]!" over and over.
- Male Gaze: The covers of Move Somethin' and As Nasty As They Wanna Be, the latter which crosses with Between My Legs.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Luke was careful to not use the full names of any of his subjects in "Jack" or any of his "I Ain't Bullshittin'" rants.
- Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: 2 Live Crew got creative with their copyright warning early on: "Unauthorized reproduction will get you fucked up by the Ghetto Style DJ's."
- Political Rap: Much of the material on Banned In The U.S.A., especially the title track.
- Preacher's Kid: From "Check It Out Y'all":I met this girl named Keisha, the daughter of a preacher
I met her in school and we did it on the bleachers
The kids were in gym as I went for a swim
I rocked her so good until she wanted it again"
- Rated G for Gangsta: While Fresh Kid Ice and Brother Marquis continue to tour as 2 Live Crew (though Marquis turned born-again Christian and railed against his old raunchy persona for a while), Luther Campbell is now... wait for it... a high school football coach.
- Rearrange the Song: "Do Wah Diddy", "Pretty Woman"
- "One And One" uses the melody from the chorus of "All Day And All Of The Night" by The Kinks.
- Sampling: Of special note are the samples used from comedy acts such as Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx and Blowfly.
- Self-Deprecation: The intro to Sports Weekend is a sampling montage that mentions the crew's names interspersed with "He's full of shit" and "They're all full of shit".
- Shout-Out: A subtle one at the end of "If You Believe In Having Sex"; Luke gets the crowd chanting "Less filling! Tastes great!", a bit from an old Miller Lite ad campaign.
- Something Blues: "2 Live Blues". And it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin... the crew singing a straight-up blues song (albeit with the usual dirty lyrics).
- Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks: "Face Down Ass Up" has them repeatedly extol the titular sex position.
- Take That!: "Hey Jack", presumably aimed at Moral Guardian Jack Thompson. "Let's see how many times you can get a 'fuck' outta this one!"
- The Jack they're talkin' about is Jack Jones!
- "Fuck Martinez", from Banned in the USA, blasts Bob Martinez, who was the governor of Florida when As Nasty As They Wanna Be was released, and had ordered prosecutors to see if the album could be banned for obscenity, and Nick Navarro, the Broward County sherriff who arrested record store owners for selling the album.
- Token Minority: Fresh Kid Ice is the rare Chinesenote rapper and was one of the first, if not the first Asian-American rappers to find mainstream success.
- Wrongfully Attributed: "Me So Horny" sounds like a phrase that the 2 Live Crew would invent, but the title (and the accompanying sample) actually comes from the film Full Metal Jacket.