June 9: 2 Live Crew Arrested For Obscenity. (1990)

June 9, 1990 – On This Date In Hip-Hop, Luke and 2 Live Crew were arrested for violating obscenity laws after performing songs off their freshly banned As Nasty As They Wanna Be album at a club.

ABOVE: 2 Live Crew In Court

Luke explains it better: “I decided I’d challenge the law directly by doing the show at this rundown little place in Broward called Club Futura. On June 9, 1990, Mr. Mixx, Fresh Kid Ice, Brother Marquis, and I rolled up to the club in our white limousine. There were at least 30 police cruisers parked outside. We went in and got ready backstage. I put on my “2 Black, 2 Strong, 2 Live Crew” shirt. As soon as I got onstage, I was looking in the crowd. I could see all these out-of-place people: undercover cops. They were easy to spot because they were old as hell and dressed like they’d just run through Kmart grabbing shit off the racks with the lights out. They kept making eye contact with each other, nodding at each other, talking into their earpieces. My lawyer Bruce Rogow had told me that if I sang about elected officials, our performance could be defended as a political rally. So we got the crowd going with chants: “Fuck Martinez! Fuck, fuck Martinez! Fuck Navarro! Fuck, fuck Navarro!” Fans were wearing T-shirts that read, “Let Luke play.” A lot of them had shirts that said, “I used to live in America, now I live in Broward County.” It turned out it was a political rally after all. The cops in the front row all had those mini-cassette recorders sticking out of their front shirt pockets, and you could see the red lights flicking on and off in the dark. I didn’t want to make things difficult for them, so I leaned down and sang my dirty lyrics right into their little microphones. They must have had more than a dozen officers in the club that night. Two would have been plenty. I was there to get arrested. I was there to take a stand for the First Amendment — to take a stand for hip-hop, for my community, for everyone who’s ever been bullied into silence by a man wearing a badge.

RIP Fresh Kid Ice.

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