Uncle Luke of 2Live Crew May Be Running for Mayor of Miami-Dade County

While reading our friends over at the Loop 21 I came across a couple of stories today that peaked my interests…one centers on Luke Skywalker aka Uncle Luke aka Luther Campbell founder of the infamous 2-Live Crew contemplating a run for Mayor of Miami-Dade County.

Yep you read that right, and as outlandish as it may sound given Luke’s music career, I wouldn’t immediately dismiss the idea. The Luke I known has long been civic-minded in terms of being strong advocate for folks to get involve and vote..  I recall he used to damn near make that mandatory  if you worked for his label. He’d shut the office down and make folks go do their civic duty. In addition he’s best known for meddling in one key election that eventually landed him in hot water.

This goes all the way back to 1988 when Luke teamed up with a young artists named Anquette to do a James brown inspired song called Janet Reno. This is the same Janet Reno who is best known as US Attorney general under President Bill Clinton. At the time Reno was running for District Attorney when Luke released Anquette’s song. Reno who was locked in a tight race got major nice boost from this song that extolled her legal prowess to go after dead beat dads. Anquette rapped:

You think you’re so slick, that you won’t have to pay

You slay, get a baby, then run away

Oh, but I got a trick for your monkey ass

The boys that don’t pay get cased up fast

You ?answer to? Janet Reno and she lays the law

And when she’s through with you, you’ll wish you never saw

Me or the baby or the place where we met

Digging up old gold that you wish you could forget

The proof is here, it’s livin and breathin

And Janet Reno’s makin sure that I start receivin

All the money you get, all the checks you make

Janet Reno will make sure and TAKE

*singing to the tune of “Yankee Doodle”*

Janet Reno comes to town collecting all the money

You stayed one day, then ran away, and started actin funny

She caught you down on 15th Ave., you tried to hide your trail

She found your ass and locked you up, now WHO can post no bail?

(Bust it!)

The song helped Reno win the election which in turn angered her opponent a lawyer by the name of Jack Thompson. Thompson sought revenge on Campbell and launched a campaign where he pressured officials throughout the state including Governor Bob Martinez and Broward County sheriff Nick Navarro to go after the 2 live Crew for violating state obscenity laws. Eventually Navarro won a ruling that deemed the group’s album As Nasty As They Wanna Be as  obscene. Thats how and why 2 Live Crew had all that drama over free speech which went all the way to the  US Supreme Court. It was his political activities not his song being so over the top. What’s ironic is that the Janet Reno song had some raunchy lyrics. It was enough that they had to release a radio edit…

What’s even more ironic is that Luke himself was arrested two years ago for being deliquent on child support payments. He owed over 10Gs.. To his credit Luke said he’s willing to address all the controversies he’s been involved in.

With all that being said, will Uncle Luke make a good Mayor and can he even win?  Well for starters Luke has promised to make his office one that his transparent like a reality show. Thats in response to the recall efforts that are underway to get rid of the current Mayor Carlos Alverez. Folks are upset because he was giving out secret raises while the county is in a major recession. He also had some shady dealings with the Florida Marlins.

Luke told the Miami New Times:

Cameras are going to capture when some lobbyist comes to see me to lobby me on some shit they want approved. The cameras are going to be rolling when a commissioner meets with me when I want to talk about the things we need to build for this community. The voters are going to know who is full of shit and who isn’t if I am elected mayor.

On the campaign trail, people are going to learn about the more mature Luther Campbell, the grown man who is working for the kids in the inner city and who is dropping knowledge every week with his own column in the New Times. With Rick Scott winning the governor’s seat, I don’t see how I could lose. I’ve been a successful businessman in this community for years. I was born and raised in Miami-Dade. No one can question the love I have for my home county.

I feel it’s time to clean this shit up. Our community has been divided for too long. If there is one person who can unite voters from every nationality in Miami-Dade, it is Uncle Luke. I can relate to young and old people from Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua, and even Israel. We need to start thinking about the future of Miami-Dade. We’ve need to change the status quo. Nothing is getting done.

Time will tell if this is just a big ole publicity stunt or if Luke is in this for real… It will also be interesting to see if Luke is his own man or if he somehow becomes beholden to the billionaire Norman Braman who sponsored the recall. Hey if Arnold Schwarzenegger can become governor off a recall why can’t Luke be mayor.. After experiencing the mess Arnold caused, Luke can’t be that bad..

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

The Secret History of Hip-Hop In Miami – Part I: Enter The Wrekonize Factor

tony muhammed When an up and coming local emcee known as Wrekonize won the second MTV2 MC Battle in November, it grasped the Hip-Hop world’s immediate attention to not only him, but to the big question “What kind of Hip-Hop do they have in Miami?” Obviously, Wrekonize did not fit the profile of what many deem as the norm for what has come out of Miami Hip-Hop historically. What has been typical has been either the booty shaking, bass filled, sexually-oriented sounds of Uncle Luke or the bounce-oriented materialism found in a Trick Daddy or Trina type song. This young artist is light skinned (or “white”), clean cut, with a complex traditional culture (or “true school”) flow that would blow away most emcees in the spot light today. In finding out more about his background, it would lead many people to scratch their heads even further.

Originally from England (of both English and South African descent), Wrekonize moved with his family to Miami Beach at a very young age. He remembers how his parents were very much into the East-Coast Hip-Hop that was around at the time, with artists such as Heavy D and the Boyz and Guru when he was heavily pumping the Jazzmatazz in the early 90s. Soon after, he and his family moved to Broward where there was nothing close to there being a Hip-Hop scene at the time. During his high school years in the late 90s, he would visit Miami, constantly in search of a true Hip-Hop scene. He found flyers in various spots promoting underground B-Boy events held at the Polish American Club. He began attending them and became very moved by the emcee battle portions of the venues. This was so much so, that he decided for himself to polish up his rhyming skills and begin entering in some of these battles. He recalls participating at one of the very first Who Can Roast The Most? Events, in which he was knocked out of competition early because competing emcees were more known since they all went to Miami high schools, therefore in a better position to gain favoritism by local judges. But he didn’t allow this to keep him down. In a very untraditional way, he would prepare for battles at home by “picking objects in a room and describing them or finding things to talk about with different people.” He describes the sharpening of his rhyming skills as “a train reflex that you have to really keep up with, if not it will get real dusty and you’ll get real slow.” Yet, Wrekonize did not start making a name for himself in the local scene until another battle rapper by the name of H2O befriended him at the Who Can Roast The Most? events, in which they hooked up and formed the Illiteratz along with a third emcee and began to “infest all the jams.”



After a while, Wrekonize indeed began to become recognized for his skills and would win a considerable amount of battles. It led to the point that many held him as practically unbeatable. His reputation pushed him to enter a contest advertised by 103.5 The Beat, in which the winner would compete at the second MTV2 MC Battle. After winning the determining battle at Envision Studios in North Miami, it was off to New York, to compete at the national level, and eventually to ultimate glory. Wrekonize described the experience as being “great.” He added “MTV took real good care of us.” He mentioned how better organized the second battle was compared to the first (broadcasted in September) and how much wittier the battlers were. He also said that the battle “was more of a battle of nerves,” considering that he was out of his “natural surroundings” in competition with emcees totally unknown to him and crowded by cameras, which affected his performance at times. At the same time, in a positive light, the venue did not hold the same amount of people as other more grueling events he has competed in like Scribble Jams, which had an audience of thousands. He stressed that “The Cameras hid the fact that so many more people were actually watching.”

Reflecting on other aspects of the battle, Wrekonize mentioned how MTV awarding him $25,000 for winning “looks legitimate.” Yet, the promised deal with Rocafella that came along with it is “still in the dark.” He admitted “I really don’t know how they were going to work it out.” He continued “Throughout the whole battle it was weird. The judges (all artists on Rocafella) had an incredible amount of plug ins about their CDs coming out, which was disrespectful. It became a theme throughout the battle.” He explained how the battle had an added ending after the cameras were turned off. He stressed “When it all went down, Damon Dash gave us a pound and gave us a mixtape, like ‘Here, go buy our albums.’” Determined to capitalize on the experience regardless, Wrekonize firmly stated “It was a little strange, but we came back to Miami with the attitude that we’re going to continue to do this with their help or without their help.” And this, he has shown and proved, by receiving considerable press recently from the Miami New Times and XXL and making appearances on TRL and Video Mixx.

Wrekonize’s producer, Nick Fury, points out that “For a long time now, Miami has had no presence in Hip-Hop.” He describes the styles emulated by Trick Daddy and Trina, which is what is normally expected to come out of Miami, as “more of an amalgamation of different styles, which is off the Hip-Hop tree, but it is not the core essence of what we do.” He added with “I think with Wrek winning the battle, it reaffirmed what we always knew. We have ill emcees down here. Everyone saw that Miami won this.” Nick mentions several Miami Hip-Hop artists that expressed an organically-pure (or true school) flavor in the mid-90s such as Mother Superia and Society who were signed to record deals and appeared on programs such as Rap City and Teen Summit but then disappeared from sight before given the opportunity to make some major noise. Living true to his ideology, Nick makes it his profession to not only do production work for artists, but develop them intellectually and steer them on the right path. At his studio he teaches all whom he mentors, including Liquid Shield producers Da Deala and Profile, about the true history behind Hip-Hop and the music that has accompanied it. Such artists and producers all express great appreciation for having such an inspiration in Nick.

True indeed, not only do Wrekonize and Nick Fury attest to a huge Hip-Hop underground scene that has been neglected in terms of exposure, but also others such as Funk Jazz Lounge resident DJ Snowhite sheds light to the darkness. In 1997, she launched her South Beach venture “Faatland,” a Hip-Hop/poetry open mic venue with live band performances, which is still on the tongue of many in the underground circuit. She started the venue in response to the demand that was around for an open mic Hip-Hop spot after Fat Tuesdays shut down in 1996; a demand that was fueled by the underexposed true school flavor that many Miami Hip-Hop heads expressed. Snowhite commented about why the underground scene has never received the exposure that it rightfully deserves “I blame it on radio. Everything you hear is controlled. People only know of those they hear. How can other emcees have support and gain recognition if they can’t even be heard? How many out here know about Mother Superia, Mangu, Mic Tha Rippa, and countless others. The other Hip Hop music is not corrupt enough to be on the airwaves or picked up by major labels.”

Crazyhood Productions’ DJ EFN has a different opinion about the radio’s impact on Miami as he has seen how it has shaped Miami culture in recent years – going from times in which no Hip-Hop was being played on the air waves to the way Miami is today, with three competing Hip-Hop playing stations. He expressed in an interview that radio has promoted cross-interest in the different forms of Hip-Hop expression in Miami and how he eventually wants his own radio show to teach about the true history of Hip-Hop. EFN stressed “That’s needed to turn Hip-Hop more of a culture in Miami.”

Stay tuned next month for part II.