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Luther R. Campbell (born December 22, 1960), also known as Luke Skyywalker, Uncle Luke or Luke, is a record label owner, rap performer (taking the non-rapping role of promoter), and actor. He is perhaps best known as a one-time member and leader of 2 Live Crew, and star of his own show, Luke's Parental Advisory. As a result of one of the group's songs, which used a parody of Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman" Campbell was party to Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. which was argued in front of the US Supreme Court.
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 and 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 California rap crew. Only through Campbell did they become "Southern" rappers.
Campbell ran Luke Records, which shortened its name from Luke Skyywalker Records after George Lucas filed a legal case against them for infringing on the name of his Star Wars character, Luke Skywalker.
Luke began as a concert promoter in Miami, bringing all the hot rap groups of the early 1980s to the city. In 1983, he enrolled in an 8-week study course at public radio station WDNA, learning basic audio editing and production techniques.
2 Live Crew
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".
Luke's first solo LP, Banned in the USA, was a 2 Live Crew record just under the New "Luke" record label to lawsuits from George Lucas So he dropped the Skywalker and changed his name to Luke the record company was named Luke records, 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' 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 $1.2 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 and 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.
Luke Records filed for bankruptcy in the mid-1990s. Former Luke Records' Chief Financial Officer Joseph "Lil' Joe" Weinberger acquired the Luke Records catalog, and reunified the original three members of 2 Live Crew without Luke during the mid-1990s to release music on Lil Joe Records. Some suggest Lil Joe deliberately forced Luke Records into bankruptcy over unpaid loans between the two men.
Lil Jon (who used to produce Miami Bass records) has a vocal style not too dissimilar from Luke—in any case, they both (normally) do not rap and use guest rappers. Crunk music may be seen as the heir of Campbell's brand of Miami bass—both lyrically and musically.
Luke's latest album, My Life & Freaky Times, was released in March 2006 and featured Trick Daddy, Petey Pablo, Jacki-O, Pitbull, Dirtbag, and Big Tigger to name a few. The first singles serviced to radio and the clubs from the compilation album were "Holla At Cha Homeboy", featuring Pitbull & Petey Pablo, and the reggaeton-leaning "Pop That" by Plan B and Rey Chester Secretweapon.
Association with University of Miami Hurricanes
Campbell was also infamous in the late 1980s–early 1990s for his association with the University of Miami Hurricanes football team. In 1993, he also once threatened to go public with various violations by the University of Miami's athletic department, specifically their football program, if Ryan Collins, a Black player, wasn't named their starting quarterback for that season.
Campbell was interviewed about his involvement with the Miami Hurricanes for the documentary The U, which premiered December 12, 2009 on ESPN.
Campbell appeared in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories as DJ Luke for the hip-hop station Fresh 105 FM. Campbell hosts a sports talk show on Miami's 790 The Ticket with former football player Terry Kirby on Saturdays.
Luke has recently entered the adult film industry and cites on his MySpace page the need to clean up the "sometimes amateurish new courtship of Hip-Hop and Adult Entertainment". He produced the Adult Entertainment movie "Luke's Bachelor Party" in 2007.
In December 2007, Campbell launched The Luke Entertainment Group and took the company public trading under the symbol LKEN on Pink Sheets. As of September 3, 2008, its current price is $0.01 per share. With this launching of Luke Entertainment Campbell had bought an oil company with the stock trading symbol of FPPL. Luther Campbell is also a legendary DJ member of The Worldwide DJ organization, The Core DJ's.
Luther Campbell is of Jamaican and Bahamian ancestry and has three older brothers. He also has five children from previous relationships. He married lawyer Kristin Thompson on July 19, 2008 in Dallas, Texas.
Campbell became a columnist for the Miami New Times in February 2010. His column, Luke's Gospel, provides "a forum for his crazy-ass views on current events," which include politics, sports and entertainment.
The New Times describes him as the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech. He is quoted on the web site as saying: "It's the perfect place for me. I am a free-speech guy. It's just a match made in Heaven. Can you believe it? Me turned loose on the world in New Times. Wow."
On February 2, 2011, Campbell announced his intention to run for mayor of Miami-Dade County on a platform that includes making housing projects safer, transparency in local government, and taxing strippers. He came in fourth in a field of eleven candidates, winning 11% of the vote.
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