At Long Last, I've Won an Achievement Award

Categories: Luke's Gospel

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Alex Izaguirre
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke talks about the lack of respect for his accomplishments

It's humbling when your peers show appreciation for the work you've done. That's why I am really honored that Miami's Film, Recording and Entertainment Council will present me with its Lifetime Achievement Award during its tenth Star Gala this Saturday, December 14. If there's one thing missing from my resumé, it's recognition from the entertainment industry. In 2010, the VH1 Hip-Hop Honors gave props to my contribution to Southern rap. But that's about it.

Neither I nor any of the artists on my defunct independent record label have ever been nominated for a Grammy, an MTV Video Music Award, or a BET Award. Not even a damn Soul Train Award. Yet I set the standard for many things that are used by hip-hop artists who came after me. I'm the guy who started Southern rap music and guerrilla marketing.

When I launched Luke Records, I'd load up my car with albums and tapes and drive around the city like I was running a political campaign. I wrote the blueprint for doing your own record distribution and laid the foundation for all the independent label owners who followed me. I'm the reason they put parental advisory warnings on album covers. I was the first music executive to release clean and dirty versions of an album, as well as the first to shoot videos on our beautiful beaches at a time when Gloria Estefan and other big-name Miami artists were flying out to Hollywood.

And don't get me started on my fight to protect 2 Live Crew's raunchy lyrics as free speech. I fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won. My outspokenness is the reason many big names in hip-hop never respected me or the artists on my label. I wasn't just fighting Tipper Gore and Parents Music Resource Center. Two Live Crew was denounced by New York rappers such as Run-D.M.C., the Fat Boys, Eric B. & Rakim, Salt-n-Pepa, and Kid 'n Play. They'd go on MTV, BET, and the Arsenio Hall Show to talk shit about us.

I remember going to the New Music Convention in New York in the mid-'80s. An executive for a major record label dismissed Southern rap as a fad. I promised him that Southern rap would one day rule hip-hop. Judging by the success of Miami-bred Poe Boy Entertainment and Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group, as well as the transplanted Cash Money Records, I got the last laugh.

I'm also the label head who discovered the first Cuban rapper and the first hip-hop philanthropist, giving money back to my community and starting youth organizations such as the Liberty City Optimst Club. I'll never be part of the cliques that guys like Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin roll with. But I know my place in hip-hop history is right alongside them.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1 and @UncleLukesEmpir

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Exiliado topcommenter

"Neither I nor any of the artists on my defunct independent record label have ever been nominated for a Grammy, an MTV Video Music Award, or a BET Award."

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That's probably because nobody (other than you) thinks that raunchy crap qualifies as award material.


It is interesting how the industry has tried to ignore Southern rap music, unless it's a mega hit.  I was working at the Record Bar when the whole 2 Live Crew controversy started.  With all the music in our store, we were selling 2 Live Crew records so fast, that we didn't even put them on the shelf.  We just sold them right out of the box from behind the counter.  The interesting thing is the people buying the CDs, tapes and even records back then, were black, white, Latino and everything else.  Whether you like the music or not was not the point.  The fact that such a phenomenon could be driven by a boy from Liberty City was something to behold.  It's interesting that Luke mentioned how Yo MTV Raps dissed him, because I was listening to XM Radio yesterday, and that's where Ed Lover is DJing now, and guess what he played in his throwback set....Me So Horny!  In addition, the hottest international rapper on the planet right now, Pitbull, got his break with Luke.  Being from the South and loving all kinds of music, country, pop, rap and jazz, I appreciate rap as an expression.  I think Luke deserves to be recognized, because good or bad, he changed the music industry.


"And don't get me started on my fight to protect 2 Live Crew's raunchy lyrics as free speech. I fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won."

lukeydawg, Campbell v. Acuff-Rose in 1994 was about the right to create a parody without penalty.  The case decided that parodies are fair use as long as they're sufficiently transformative of the original work, and as long as they poke fun at the original work you're imitating and not some other work.  

Your case had nothing absolutely NOTHING to do with raunchy lyrics.  The U.S. Supreme Court protected raunchy-type statements as far back as 1970 in Cohen v. California.  Indeed, the lyrics of your parody of "Pretty Woman" are as clean as your hands before you bite into a Big Mac.  What's wrong with you that you even forget about your own case, dawg???  

If some stupid local judge found the lyrics of any of your songs "raunchy," that judge would be quickly overruled by a higher judge who knows that the U.S. has not banned raunchy lyrics for decades.  People should be free to poke fun at cops or Muhammad the supposed prophet or Ted Cruz or anyone else. Right, dawg? 

Now let's see if you really support free speech and allow this message to exist on your board.

kirkslade1 topcommenter

If a black kid trips on the sidewalk in a white neighborhood, you write about it. If an under qualified black politician doesn't get elected, you write about it. If a black kid runs over a cop and the officer shoots, you write about it. NESON MANDELA dies and you write about an award for Uncle Luke. Your priorities have been and still are screwed! Way to KEEP IT REAL rap man.

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