The guys in 2 Live Crew are a little bit older and a little less raunchy than they were back in 1989 when their album “As Nasty as They Wanna Be” made headlines for its graphic sexual content.

The album riled the moral watchdogs, who contested its release all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Ultimately, 2 Live Crew prevailed and became one of the most notorious rap bands, their success fueled somewhat by the media hype that accompanied a highly publicized court case.

“Me So Horny,” the single from the controversial album, was a Top 40 hit despite getting virtually no radio exposure.

The Miami-based group is still rapping about women and sex, but age has mellowed their tone and tenor somewhat.

“Now that I’m getting older, I can see where it’s turning into work more so than partying every night,” said Brother Marquis, one of the group’s members. “Back then, we would throw back a few beers and toss around some chicks.

“But we’re in our 40s now. You toss your (butt) on stage and get back to the room and get some rest.”

2 Live Crew performs Friday night at Port City Music Hall as part of a dance party that will also feature local DJs.

Its latest single is “Cougar,” a song with a Caribbean vibe that extols the virtues of older women. The single is the first from the band’s new album, which is due out later this year, said band member Fresh Kid Ice.

Fresh Kid Ice promised an uptempo show, with a mix of new and old material, at Port City. “We do all the old hits, plus we add a couple of new songs from the upcoming album,” he said.

“Basically, our image is probably the same, but a little more toned down in terms of our stage presence. We’re playing more clubs and festivals, and so we have limited the sex acts on stage. But the lyrics are the same.”

Fresh Kid Ice said the band is drawing fans of mixed ages. A lot of young people show up to see what 2 Live Crew is all about. And a lot of older folks show up to see how the band has evolved. “It’s a good thing to watch them grow old with us,” he said.

2 Live Crew barely survived its own success. the mid-’90s, just a few years after the Supreme Court sided in its favor, the band began splintering. Luther Campbell, its most visible member, left for a solo career.

Fresh Kid Ice and Brother Marquis reformed the group in 1996.

“It’s good to be back out in the marketplace,” Brother Marquis said. “It’s good to go out and try to touch our fan base and gather new ones. I promise you, we will take our fans back to the old school 2 Live Crew that they know and love.”

Looking back, both Fresh Kid Ice and Brother Marquis said they were proud of 2 Live Crew’s role in opening up the music industry to vulgar rap.

“Because of 2 Live Crew, a lot of groups are able to say what they want to say. 2 Live Crew transformed the whole entertainment industry, in a way,” Fresh Kid Ice said. “Most of these rappers can say what they want to say.”

Added Brother Marquis, “We were trailblazers. We were pioneers. We won that ruling on censorship, and that was huge.”

“Those were good years — but as far as the legal expenses, those were not good years,” he said with a laugh.

 

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

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