2 Live Crew still horny after all these years 

Who: 2 Live Crew

Where: Garfinkel’s

When: Wednesday, Jan. 21

Tickets: $27 - $30.

If we’ve learned anything from the current crop of hip-hop videos, it’s that if you can rhyme shizza with blizza you’ll inevitably have a legion of females in hotpants dancing around you everywhere you go.

But once upon a time hip-hop was relatively hoochie-free. Sure there was the odd gloss-babe posing in a strapless dress, but most video chicks were more interested in doing the running-man than rhythmically bouncing their butt cheeks over a floor-level camera.

So what happened?

2 Live Crew happened. The Miami-based rap group rang in the ’90s with a catchy dance ditty called Me So Horny from the album As Nasty as They Wanna Be , and were accompanied by a posse of scantily clad dancers – the original video hoochies – driving the overtly sexual content home.

The public wasn’t yet desensitized so Nasty inevitably caught the attention of the censors. The album was banned from record stores in their home state of Florida, which of course awarded the Crew the invaluable publicity that comes from notoriety. They released a doctored version cheekily called As Clean As They Wanna Be for parents to feel good about putting in their kids’ Christmas stockings, and sold millions and millions of both versions.

The group has since gone through several incarnations, the one constant being MC Fresh Kid Ice, a.k.a. The Chinaman. Rapper/producer/label owner Luke Skyywalker a.k.a. Luther Campbell, the figure at the centre of the controversy, left the group in 1994, but the Chinaman has managed to keep the name and the sound alive. After Brother Marquis found salvation and left to pursue gospel projects in the dying years of the last millennium the Chinaman became the last remaining original member. Currently touring with MC Fish ’n’ Grits, his partner on the latest Crew album S top Playin’ , it’s obvious who’s the true glue of the Crew.

His longevity is likely a result of his laid back approach to touring and the 2 Live legacy. An entire generation of fans has come of age since the release of Horny and other flagship singles like Hoochie Mama and We Want Some, yet The Chinaman says he still doesn’t mind sending them out night after night. Audiences are never the same and there’s always something that makes each time unique, he says.

"Besides, I don’t do it for the recognition," he adds. "I do it for the people, so the fans have something to see. 2 Live Crew: we bring the party to you."

It’s always been about the party so it’s no wonder The Chinaman feels at home in this current era of endless hoochies, glorified pimps and double careers in the lucrative world of porn. Apart from a few DVDs floating around with what he deems some "freaky backstage party footage," it’s almost surprising the Crew hasn’t pursued the porn game. That’s not to say The Chinaman isn’t supportive of contemporaries such as Digital Underground and Snoop Doggy Dogg who have.

"A lot of people make a lot of money – look at the Girls Gone Wild stuff," he offers. "They use a lot of the rappers to endorse their products, you know what I’m sayin’? So why not let some of the hip-hop stars do their own thing and make the money instead of everybody else pimpin’ the hip-hop stars?"

Maybe he doesn’t need porn right now. The current trend toward ’90s nostalgia can only mean good things for a band that left its mark on the decade.

"Music always goes in a circle, right? The ’80s and ’90s were like the party era," he agrees. "After that, everybody went a little bit gangster. Then they went into the thugged-out phase. Now a lot of people are starting to get tired of that – why go to a club if everybody’s always angry? – so it’s comin’ back to the party scene. You see it in the music when you hear songs like Sean Paul’s Shake That Thing , the Nelly and the P. Diddy, Outkast and stuff like that.

"Everybody wanna have fun again, man, you know?"

Those who wanna have fun can catch 2 Live Crew at Garf’s this Wednesday. Girls who wanna shake it onstage alongside the Me So Horny dancers will be encouraged to do so. Tickets are $27, available in advance from The Circle Snowboard Shop, Blueballs Boutique, The Electric Daisy Internet Cafe, and Dirty Beats; $30 at the door. Call 604-932-2323 for information.

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