For years, we’ve been trying to find a reason to talk about the group 2 Live Crew on Only A Game (nothing says “NPR” quite like hip-hop with explicit lyrics). Now, with former group member Luther Campbell fighting to be certified as a high school football coach in Florida, we finally have our chance.
Sports Illustrated college football writer Andy Staples rote about Campbell for SI.com and joined Bill Littlefield.
For those unfamiliar with 2 Live Crew, their best-known album, “Nasty as They Wanna Be,” sparked a national movement against explicit lyrics. Staples noted that by today’s hip-hop standards, 2 Live Crew’s lyrics would just be standard fare.
Campbell grew up in Liberty City, a tough neighborhood in Miami, but as a young man, he vowed to give back to young people in the area. “He started an Optimist Club football program,” Staples said. “Little kids have been playing in that program for a long time. Chad Ochocinco is one of the kids who came up in the program.”
Staples says Campbell started seeing too many young boys getting lost in the violence and crime of the neighborhood and “felt like he needed to extend what he was doing to the high school level.”
Campbell has been coaching high school players since 2009, but as a temporary assistant. With his temporary certification set to expire next season, he needs a permanent certificate to continue coach. His quest to get it has come under scrutiny because of his music career, brushes with law, and promotion appearances at clubs that sometimes feature adult entertainment.
“Originally, they were going to deny [Campbell's application],” Staples said. “They took it to an administrative judge…who recommended he be approved. The Department of Education has since appealed that ruling. Luther is understandably worried.”