Sunday, November 28, 2021

2 Live Crew’s Debut Album Got a Record Store Clerk Arrested on Felony Charges 33 Years Ago Today [EUR Video Throwback]

2 Live is What We Are

On this day in 1987, a record store in Callaway, Florida was forced to close down and a part-time clerk was arrested after selling 2 Live Crew’s debut album “2 Live Is What We Are” to a 14 year old.

Released in 1986 on Luke Records to much controversy over its sexually explicit lyrics, “2 Live Is What We Are” was certified gold largely though word of mouth. Some of the song titles included “We Want Some Pu**y and “Throw the D,” in addition to the title track. Journalist Alex Henderson of AllMusic commented at the time that the album “did take sexually explicit rap lyrics to a new level of nastiness.”

Bob Rosenberg, a South Florida DJ who would later form the dance-pop group Will to Power, remixed and edited the album track “Beat Box” (originally released as “Two Live). And the song became a hit, fueling sales of the album.


In Florida, “Beat Box” was deemed obscene and the Calloway store clerk who sold the 14-year-old a copy was charged with felony “corruption of a minor.”

The clerk was later acquitted, but the arrest turned out to be the first of many for record store owners over sales of 2 Live Crew material. It prompted group member Luther Campbell to begin selling “clean” and “dirty” versions of their albums so that younger fans would have a less explicit alternative.

The group’s 1987 follow-up, “Move Somethin'” was the first album released in this format, with clean versions of  its underground singles “One and One,” and Doo Wah Diddy.

Do Wah Diddy (Clean)

Do Wah Diddy (Dirty)

The following year, a record store clerk in Alexander City, Alabama, was cited in 1988 for selling a copy of “Move Somethin'” to an undercover police officer. It was the first time in the United States that a record store owner was held liable for obscenity over music. The charges were dropped after a jury found the record store not guilty.

In June 1990, Fort Lauderdale, Florida record store owner Charles Freeman was arrested for selling a copy of 2 Live Crew’s seminal double album “As Nasty As They Wanna Be” after a Miami federal judge declared it obscene a few days before. He faced a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine on the misdemeanor obscenity charge. An all-white jury convicted Freeman in October 1990, but it was later overturned on appeal.



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