Campbell fighting to coach high school football (cont.)
After high school, Campbell elected not to follow his older brothers to Florida A&M. He had heard too many poor-college-student protests from his brothers, so he went to work. He washed dishes and cooked at a hospital. He worked at a radio station. From there, he started a mobile DJ business that morphed into event promotion. Later, when he wanted to start his own record label, those former poor-college-student brothers lent Campbell money to get his business off the ground. Campbell teamed with 2 Live Crew, one of the acts he had brought in, to produce the first album on the Luke Records label. Campbell also joined the group, playing the hype man and leading call-and-response interludes between verses during live shows. The group's bawdy rhymes inspired booty-shaking throughout South Florida, but 2 Live Crew didn't gain national traction until it released As Nasty As They Wanna Be in 1989.
At the time, no hip-hop act from the South had earned any level of national fame. Run DMC, Eric B. and Rakim, Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys had shot to stardom from New York, while NWA -- featuring a young Dr. Dre and Ice Cube -- began reinventing the genre in Los Angeles in the late '80s. Around this time, the music took a sharp turn toward the raunchy. While NWA disguised social commentary with stark tales of guns and drugs, 2 Live Crew sold sex and comedy. That was clear from the first few bars of Me So Horny, the first track off As Nasty As They Wanna Be, which sampled a line from a Vietnamese prostitute character in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. The album also sampled Van Halen, Nancy Sinatra, Kraftwerk and Cheech and Chong, but certain listeners were more concerned with the words between the samples.
After a Coral Gables, Fla., attorney named Jack Thompson sent copies of the album's lyrics to sheriffs across the state, federal judge Jose Gonzalez declared the album obscene and banned its sale. On June 8, 1990, two days after Gonzalez ruled, police in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., arrested record store owner Charles Freeman for selling the album to an undercover officer. Campbell was arrested for performing songs from the album a few days after Freeman's arrest. The Parents Music Resource Center, led by a group of senators' wives that included Al Gore's wife, Tipper, also pushed to limit the album's sale. The fight sparked a massive First Amendment controversy that inspired 2 Live Crew's next album, Banned in the USA -- best known as the first album to carry the now-iconic Parental Advisory-Explicit Lyrics label. For the title track, Campbell received permission from Bruce Springsteen to sample his hit, Born in the USA.
In 1992, an appeals court lifted the ban on As Nasty As They Wanna Be, but Campbell would spend more time in the federal court system. He had been sued by Acuff-Rose Music, the publishing firm that held the rights to the Roy Orbison hit, Oh, Pretty Woman. Campbell's group had published a parody of the song on As Clean As They Wanna Be, a profanity-free version of its hit. (For example, the song The [Expletive] Shop was changed to The Funk Shop.) In 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Campbell. Justice David Souter wrote in his majority opinion that parody was protected from copyright law by the fair use doctrine. The decision is considered a landmark ruling in entertainment law, and years later, the future Mrs. Campbell would earn an A in her entertainment law class thanks to her thorough knowledge of the case.
Campbell parted ways with 2 Live Crew in the early '90s and focused on developing new artists. Among the artists he nurtured were TrickDaddy and Trina, who provided the soundtrack for the turn of the century in South Florida. Later, Campbell helped cultivate the career of a Cuban-American rapper named Armando Perez. Perez is better known as Pitbull, and even those who don't know his music have probably seen him on television hawking Dr Pepper, Kodak and Bud Light.
Listening to As Nasty As They Wanna Be today, the sex-fueled lyrics sound similar to most current popular hip-hop songs. Because they focus on sex and not violence, they seem tamer than some of the graphic Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Notorious B.I.G. and Eminem songs that achieved massive mainstream success less than a decade after As Nasty As They Wanna Be caused so much controversy. Still, 2 Live Crew's lyrics are at least R-rated, and they don't cast women in a favorable light. But film actors often say and do things in character that violate societal norms, and they rarely get questioned for it. Campbell's Uncle Luke persona is essentially a caricature created for his business. So should that preclude him from working with high school students? That is what the education officials must decide.
If Campbell wanted to cross the Broward County line and coach at a disadvantaged high school, he wouldn't have to fight for his certification. All the other counties in Florida allow volunteer football coaches. Miami-Dade does not, because officials want coaches to receive a background check before they work with students. So Northwestern must have Campbell on its payroll of supplemented coaches if he wants to help. (Essentially, Campbell must pass through the same process as a classroom teacher, but Campbell has expressed no desire to teach in the classroom.) For his services, Campbell receives about $1,200 for the year. Needless to say, he doesn't coach for the money. He could live a comfortable life with the royalties from the artists he produced. "I get checks every quarter," Campbell said. But he wants to coach at the high school level, and he doesn't want to coach in Broward or any other county. Campbell grew up in Miami, and he wants to coach in Miami.
Campbell decided to enter high school coaching in 2009 because he noticed that boys who came through his youth program were losing their way after entering high school. One got shot. Others went to jail. Others fathered children they had no hope of supporting. "So many other kids were getting lost in the shuffle," Campbell said.