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2 Live Crew
Albums

  • As Nasty As They
  • Wanna Be
  • Banned In The USA








  • Adrian's Album Reviews |

    2 Live Crew

    Related Artists - NWA, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J
    Related Genres - Hip-Hop

    As Nasty As They Wanna Be ( 1988 )
    Me So Horny / Put Her In The Buck / DK Almighty / Cmon Babe / Dirty Nursery Rhymes / Break It On Down / 2 Live Blues / I Aint Bullshittin' / Get Loose Now / The Fuck Shop / If You Believe In Having Sex / My Seven Bizzos / Get The Fuck Out Of My House / Reggae Joint / Fraternity Record / Bad Ass Bitch / Mega Mixx III / Coolin'

    Possibly still the most controversial Rap album of all time, '2 Live Crew' upset nearly everybody, hence the albums title. Smartly (?) becoming nastier than everybody and making even 'N.W.A.' look tame, 'As Nasty As They Wanna Be' was, weirdly enough, considered more pornographic and more dangerous than actual pornography. This is an audio music album. Sure, much of it comes across as pornography and the images placed in your mind have you ever watched any pornography are easy enough to, erm, come up with - this remains an audio recording. Surely audio + visuals are more dangerous? But then, this sold several million copies and 'rap music' was seen as a corrupting force. More likely, it was seen as something popular, possibly more than 'a fad' and something the authorities had no control over. Even retailers ended up getting arrested just for selling this thing. So much for freedom of speech. Much of any potential enjoyment of this record depends on both how open minded you are and how much you can separate the lyrics from the sound of the vocals and the music itself. Are you the type of person who cannot like Frank Zappa because of his lyrics? Are you the type of person that thinks Bob Dylan 'isn't about his music'? Either one, don't even bother downloading this thing, it will disgust you. If on the other hand you're one of those seemingly rare people that can enjoy music not in the English language, you can enjoy and appreciate Dylan as a 'musical' as well as lyrical force and think that as Zappa was one of the most gifted musicians and composers known to man and that his lyrics were either tongue in cheek or indeed actually funny, then apply straight away. We've got a treat in store.

    I've been variously described on the net as an 'emotional' reviewer. Many of my reviews mention the emotion in the music. Can we deduce, looking beyond the lyrics and music themselves and more towards the sound and the way the words and music have been put across, what 'emotions' 'As Nasty As They Wanna Be' is even trying to present? Is it trying to be childish, pornographic, whatever? Well, the humour of the lyrics and the deliberate nature of them surely comes across. Wanting to make the nastiest album is actually a fine artistic motive, as much as wanting to make an uplifting, moving album that sends you literally and/or figuratively to the heavens. 'Pet Sounds' is my favourite LP of all time. 'As Nasty As They Wanna Be' is in some ways, the true 'anti' 'Pet Sounds', yet believe it or not, both do share one thing in common. Musical invention. The turntable skills are strong, the musical construction is strong and the use of samples is often inspired. These guys aren't the most gifted rappers out there, but neither have a lot of the more popular rappers been. It's the overall package that counts. The lyrics are indeed teenage humour of a kind, but not that much worse than a lot of very commercial music these days. A lot of rap / hip-hop owes '2 Live Crew' a lot for breaking down barriers. Nowadays, even the friendly commercial likes of 'Black Eyed Peas' can release material clearly sexual in nature and nobody bats an eyelid. True, they weren't suggesting we 'Put Her In The Buck', but you get my drift. For better or worse, '2 Live Crew' influenced a lot of rappers and broke down barriers. They got the stick so others could come forward with more moderate versions of the same thing and even turn it into commercial gold. Well, even back as far as the fifties and before, popular music has always been 'boy/girl'. '2 Live Crew' are just a little more, erm, precise in the boy/girl nature of their lyrics. Anyway, this isn't an essay, I've gone on about this subject long enough. Emotionally, this isn't an aggressive album. That's quite an important point to make.

    Value for money, 64 minutes and 18 tracks, none of them outstaying their welcome. A couple of old-skool rock/rap crossovers 'My Seven Bizzos' even seeing fit to include a Jimi Hendrix riff and it uses it very cleverly indeed. Lead cut 'Me So Horny' is a musical delight and again, uses samples well. The sex sounds included are ok, we can live with them and the rap and musical content is catchy and addictive. Well, appropriately so, sex itself is addictive and a subject songwriters should cover. Songwriters? 2 Live Crew? Ha! Well, you understand what I'm saying. 'Put Her In The Buck' and 'DK Almighty' are both superior old-school grooves, 'Coolin' right at the other end of the album uses an old soul tune as it's base very well. 'Reggae Joint' is good, a nod to hip-hops spiritual forefathers. It's also patently ridiculous, complete with daft, silly pretend vocal. 'Get Loose Now' is a wonderful groove and excellent display of turntable skills. Now, rating wise, you can look at this one of two ways. Either that I've given this an extra half a point for musical invention or deducted it half a point from '9' for politically incorrect lyrics. Alternatively, you can assume the rating is what I feel the album deserves. I hope you know me well enough by now. The message? Don't ignore this old hip-hop record for fearing to appear, to put it impolitely, a sexist cunt. Sure, you're not gonna play it to your girlfriend, but then again, I wouldn't play 'Black Sabbath' to my girlfriend either. Sex and religion in music? What can you do.

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    top of page Banned In The USA 5 ( 1990 )
    Banned in the U.S.A. / News Flash "People in the News" / Man, Not a Myth / News Flash "350 Men" / Martinez / News Flash "Super Snoop" / Strip Club / News Flash "Nation by Storm" / Do the Bart / In Color/Men on Records / Face Down, A-- Up [Remix] / Hey Jack! / Bass 9-1-7 / So Funky / News Flash "Poll Results" / Mamolapenga [Remix] / Video No Soul / I Ain't Bullsh--tin', Pt. 2 / Commercial "Nasty M.F.s" / This Is Luke From the Posse / News Flash: "British Youth" / F--K a Gang / Commercial "Inquiring Minds" / Arrest in Effect / Mega Mix IV

    Rap artists often write about themselves but when all that had happened to you since your last album was getting censored, what to do? Well, they did it. The title track is 'Banned In The USA' to the tune of 'Born In The USA' and it immediately becomes apparent that this is half the album it's predecessor was. Oh, but of course there are some tunes featuring the sex and all, featuring the 'scene' as it were that propelled them to fame. A track like 'Strip Club' just fails to entertain, though. The beats are the problem. Whereas the previous LP used samples in an imaginative way, 'Banned In The USA' resorts to the likes of the title track, a piece of rap crap even MC Hammer would have turned down as being too obvious. The other cuts as I've already mentioned lack the imaginative use of samples the previous LP gave us. The other cuts also lack humour, yes, 2 Live Crew had tongue firmly in cheek so to speak but now seem to take even 'Face Down A-- Up' seriously. Well, seriously but for a near complete lack of memorable hooks apart from a faintly desperately chanted 'chorus'. Better is 'So Funky' at least it has a booming beat and interesting other percussion and little groovy grooves. 'F--K A Gang' is decent enough too beats wise. A lot of the album sounds fairly bare, but then, it was 1990. Thing is, it sounds more antiquated than 'As Nasty As They Wanna Be', almost like the MCs and DJs have actually gone backwards. Forward motion progression is always to be desired, but these guys here sound like 1983 Run DMC only with sex, swearing and no humour and little in the way of killer grooves.

    'Man Not A Myth' is the type of track I wanted more of here. It actually has a melody, something a large portion of the tracks seem to have forgotten to pack in the suitcase. The rap is OK, not the best in the world, but it fits. There's an awful lot of brief one/two minute 'skits' to sit through, always an annoying feature of many hip-hop records. It's taken to extremes here though. One sequence has five tracks in a row lasting a total of around two minutes, maximum. Back to the good, although it's like trying to find money in the back of the soft when you're broke, is 'Arrest In Effect'. A spooky beat and spooky, almost spoken rap. It proves the guys can be serious when they want to be. 'Do The Bart' would be a good tune if it didn't mention the word 'Bart'. What else? Not a lot, to be honest. I've learned something though. Just because a hip-hop act produce a good album doesn't mean they'll produce other good albums.

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    top of page this page last updated 17/05/07


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