|Luther R. Campbell was born on 22nd December 1960.
Luther Campbell-Gap Rating 7/10
Also known as Luke Skyywalker, Uncle Luke or Luke, he is a record label owner and rap performer (taking the non-rapping role of "hype man"). He is perhaps best known as a one-time member of 2 Live Crew.
Campbell's work as a performer can be characterised as Southern Rap; most of it is part of the Miami Bass sub-genre. The sexual content of his group's lyrics caused controversy and led to legal cases. Usually, Campbell does not rap but rather shouts or chants - very often in a call & response manner, with him calling and the crowd responding. He was not an original member of the 2 Live Crew, only joining them after their first steps as a Californian rap crew. Only through Campbell did they become 'Southern' rappers.
Campbell runs Luke Records, which shortened its name from Luke Skywalker Records after George Lucas filed a legal case against them for infringing on the name of his Star Wars character, Luke Skywalker.
Luke actually began as a concert promoter in Miami, bringing all the hot rap groups of the early 1980's to the city. In 1985, 2 Live Crew's initial single (2 Live aka Beat Box) was a smash hit on the South Florida club circuit, so Luke brought them from California to Miami for a performance. He took a special interest in the group and began managing them, and only after he saw a lack of stage presence in the front men did he insert himself into the group as their "hype man". He was dissed by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg on the song Dre Day.
Luke's first solo LP, Banned in the USA, was basically a 2 Live Crew record, yet he did not offer royalties to the group for creating the album; rather, a small flat fee was paid. When 2 Live Crew's contracts with Luke Records ended in 1991, the group's producer (and Luke Records's in-house producer for the entire label) Mr. Mixx left the group and returned to California. However, the group did decide to do a sequel to their biggest album. Initially, Luke employed the label's second string producers The O.D.S. to produce the album, but it was not turning into the group's vision, so Luke recruited Mr. Mixx to return and produce the album as an independent producer (T-Shirt and Khakis Productions).
However, by the time of the album's completion, they sought to make it appear as if the group was totally intact. Shortly after, all members of the group drew up a lawsuit against Luke for unpaid royalties, which member Fresh Kid Ice backed out of and revamped a new 2 Live Crew with Luke in 1994. Finally a settlement was reached for the remaining plaintiffs. Shortly after this, label-mate MC Shy D would effectively sue Luke Records for $1 million dollars in unpaid royalties. The judge in the case, a former musician himself, verbally stated that he wanted to make an example of Luke.
Luke released a solo record (technically, his first) in 1991 entitled I Wanna Rock (also known as Doo Doo Brown), but he remained true to his call & response style rather than rapping, and hired outside producers. The song is seen as a pivotal point in Miami Bass, sparking what some call its third wave. He released it on the heels of the final 2 Live Crew album, going so far as to stop promotion on their album while the 2 Live Crew single "Pop that Coochie" was still in the charts. It is suggested that Luke wanted his solo song to be seen as the next 2 Live Crew single, despite not having rights to the group's name. This effectively leveraged attention away from 2 Live Crew's legacy, and replacing it with Luke taking all the fame for the group in the longrun.
Luke Records filed for bankruptcy in the mid 1990's. Former Luke Records' Chief Financial Officer Lil Joe Weinstein acquired the Luke Records catalog, and reunified the original three members of 2 Live Crew without Luke during the mid-1990's to release music on Lil Joe Records. Some suggest Lil Joe deliberately forced Luke Records into bankruptcy over unpaid loans between the two men.
Campbell was also infamous in the late 1980s - early 1990s for his association with the University of Miami football team. Stories have been told about Campbell offering "bounties" to Miami players for scoring touchdowns, intercepting passes, sacking quarterbacks, and knocking opposing players out of games.
It may be interesting to note that Lil Jon (who used to produce Miami Bass records) has a vocal style not too dissimilar from Luke - in any case, they both (normally) don't rap and use guest rappers. Crunk music may be seen as the heir of Campbell's brand of Miami bass - both lyrically and musically.
He has a new album that is to be released in April, 2006. It will be called My Life & Freaky Times. It will feature Trick Daddy, Petey Pablo, Jacki-O, Pitbull, Dirtbag, and Big Tigger to name a few. The first singles being serviced to radio and the clubs from the compilation album are "Holla At Cha Homeboy," featuring Pitbull & Petey Pablo and the reggaeton leaning "Pop That" by Plan B & Rey Chester Secretweapon.