It was a hot August in N.Y.C. Like 90 degrees, with an extra 5 degrees of thick humidity slathered on top. I’m trying to get my professional on and not wear shorts to class. But damn it’s hard. I’m not a stinky guy, but I sweat a lot. Multiple showers help.
I’m taking a break from the regular news cycle and hyper-local coverage that’s grinding me down at the moment. I feel like the luckiest cat, really.
Working with so many sound and picture files, and transferring them to professor laptops for class critiques has made me break out old thumb-drives I haven’t used before. On one (literally), I found notes from a piece I did for the Source magazine back in 2007.
It was a transcript from a conversation I had with Luther Campbell. The story was on cursing in hip-hop. Remember that non-controversy? At this point in my celebrity interviewing career, I was still finding myself. I wonder why I didn’t write out the entire transcript. Well, from what I remember, Uncle Luke was so erudite that I just let him monologue until I had enough. I think I also got to talk to Too Short for this piece. I hope I find that transcript somewhere, too.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of Luther Campbell or listened to a 2 Live Crew album (check the video above), let this mini- Q&A be your guide:
Luke: The way I look at it is any time there’s a presidential election is when everybody use hiphop as a scapegoat. And the first thing that they do is they look at the whole lyrics situation, you know? They attack hiphop for lyrics and all that. It’s like this: because hiphop don’t have no bonafied leaders in it, and all the leaders is selling the soul of hiphop, you know what I’m saying, and they just selling it for profit. We needed to be attacked.
Until we get a true bonafied leader in the hiphop business, and at that point we can then move on in the right direction. When these kinds of issues come up [cursing in lyrics] we will have somebody representing us truly, and not for the dollar. People like Russell Simmons and all them, they don’t truly represent the artform, in my opinion. They sell the soul of the artform. And so they’ll go get those usual suspects and they’ll have these conversations with them about lyrics, and then if it’s for some kind of profit behind it…. You know, up on Oprah; to sell hiphop down the river, where we all as hiphop artists said we boycotting Oprah. They up on Oprah, cross the line, fucking boycott.
We need a leader. It’s everybody’s fault, it ain’t these big individuals who run around here selling this shit, keeping it awake. It’s everybody involved, because the magazines put certain muthafuckas on the cover, the TV put certain motherfuckers on the cover.
These magazine’s, these TVs, they keep glorifying these niggas who’s selling the business down the river, and they put them on the cover and then they put them on the TV, and nobody knows that they full of shit.
Q: You’ve been dealing with this shit since day one, has any of this changed at all. Hiphop lyrics?
LUKE: It’s the same thing. I ain’t no different than 20 years ago, it’s the same thing. It ain’t no different than 20 years ago. Hiphop lyrics saying the same thing. I mean, when was the last election? Think about this here, you know who they was talking about in the last election? They was talking about Eminem.
If you really think about this shit, every presidential election hiphop comes under fire.
And before Eminem, it was me.
Keep going four years, now we at another fucking presidential election. It’s always a fucking pattern.
And you know who profits? They gonna get Russell, they gonna get Benjamin Chavis, they gonna get Puffy; and they take Puffy down to the Republican convention ,and they parade him and the other niggas up around there. Nobody says this, I’m looking at this man on TV at the Republican Convention.
Come on man, let’s be realistic, I ain’t read that shit nowhere. I had to look and see that shit on “Hannity and Combs.” If I ain’t sit here looking at that shit on CNN, CNBC and FOX, I don’t know what’s going on.
What do you think about the lyrics in hiphop? You started this whole shit. Yeah, I know what I started, but then I know at the same time it’s deeper than this. We ain’t nothing but pawns in the game, man they use us. They gonna crucify us, then you know what they gonna do? Cut a deal with Russell and Puffy, then they gonna go out and say..
The bottom line is this: The PDs, you know, they put the music on. That’s who put the music on. The people at the TV stations, that’s who put the videos on. Ask me a question, I don’t think “I’m a Freak” should be played on the radio. Because when I made the record “Throw the Dick”, which legally can be played on the radio, I made the song “Throw the D,” because I don’t want my daughter, I don’t want nobody’s daughter, riding around in the back seat of the car singing shit they don’t know what they singing about, when it’s a bad word. I don’t want that. Really it’s the PD and the video people.
If the song got a word in it, go back into the studio and flip that shit around. That’s how you clean it up.
I ain’t here to be saying you can’t say freak. You can say freak, you can say pussy, you can say dick, you can say ho, you can say nigga, you can say all them words that you want to say. You can put them on records, but that shit not be played on the radio. Don’t put no ho the radio, don’t put bitch on there. PD don’t put that on the radio.
It’s not the artists fault, it’s not the record company’s fault, it’s not my fault, it’s the fault of the PD because he regulates what gets played on the radio.
I created the Parental Advisory sticker. That sticker is on there for a reason. I never intended, nor does any artists every intend for kids to get this music.
The artist ain’t the problem because all we doing is talking what the hell is going on in society, there’s some freaks there’s some hoes, there’s some bitches and some niggas in society. So don’t bother with us talking about changing no words.