MIAMI (CN) – Luther Campbell, of the rap group 2 Live Crew, will run for mayor of Miami in the city’s March 15 recall election aimed at Mayor Carlos Alvarez. Billionaire car dealer Norman Braman fueled the recall after the City Council and Alvarez, facing a large budget deficit, raised property taxes – and gave raises to county employees. Campbell, now a columnist for Miami New Times, explained his bid for office this way: “I feel it’s time to clean this shit up.”
In his column for Miami New Times, Campbell expatiated on what he will do as mayor: “Cameras are going to capture when some lobbyist comes to see me to lobby me on some shit they want approved. The cameras are going to be rolling when a commissioner meets with me when I want to talk about the things we need to build for this community. The voters are going to know who is full of shit and who isn’t if I am elected mayor.”
Miami-born Campbell rose to fame as leader 2 Live Crew, whose Southern Rap style was known as Miami Bass.
No stranger to politics or courtrooms, Campbell has been involved in high-profile First Amendment cases involving song lyrics, parody and profanity. The 11th Circuit overturned a 1990 Miami Federal Court ruling that found 2 Live Crew’s album “As Nasty as They Wanna Be” obscene.
The U.S. Supreme Court sided with Campbell in 1994, in Campbell v. Acuff-Ross Music, ruling that Campbell’s “Pretty Woman” parody was a fair use of Roy Orbison’s 1964 hit, “Oh, Pretty Woman.”
Campbell, also a business entrepreneur, changed the name of his record label from Skyywalker Records to Luke Records, after “Star Wars” creator George Lucas sued him. Campbell is also known as Luke, Uncle Luke and Luke Skyywalker.
Since leaving 2 Live Crew, Campbell has starred in his own TV show, “Luke’s Parental Advisory,” become a columnist for New Times and a high school football coach. His digital entertainment distribution company, The Luke Entertainment Group, went public on the NASDAQ pink sheets in 2007.
Campbell told Miami New Times that his wealth of experience qualifies him for the job he seeks: “When I take Mr. Alvarez’s job, I’ll review the county budget with a fine-toothed comb. When I ran my record company, every year we would go over what was making revenue for us and beef that side up. Then we would cut the areas where we were not generating revenue. The first place we looked was payroll. I’ll do the same with the county budget.”
Campbell added: “The current administration of Mayor Carlos Alvarez hasn’t created any new jobs, yet we keep these government employees who have been around for decades and aren’t doing anything.”
He said his relationships with Miamians will help him: “I get in my car, ride around Liberty City, and everything looks the same as when I was in the neighborhood growing up,” Campbell told New Times. “I see the same crimes in the same areas. Officers and residents are still getting killed in the community I grew up in.”
Campbell wrote in his column, “Luke’s Gospel”: “And should I win, I would make every day I am in office a reality show. Every day, Miami-Dade residents will have transparency in the mayor’s office.“
His platform includes a tax on strippers, saving the troubled public hospital Jackson Memorial, and creating more affordable housing.
“We have a long laundry list of things that need to change with the county,” Campbell told New Times. “We need someone with vision. I believe I have that vision.”
Campbell is married to an attorney. In addition to writing his column, he coaches high school football to inner city kids at Miami Central High.
He says he no longer advocates the concepts he outlined in his musical endeavors, such as, “Face Down, Ass Up” and “Pop That Pussy.”
“I tell them, ‘Be nice to your teachers. Sit in the front row. Keep your grades up,'” Campbell told the Miami Herald.
“I’m happy and proud of what we accomplished, but that part of my life is over,” he told the Herald. “The entertainer – I left him on stage.”
Campbell wrote in “Luke’s Gospel”: “I have no problem addressing the many controversies that have been a part of my life. On the campaign trail, people are going to learn about the more mature Luther Campbell, the grown man who is working for the kids in the inner city and who is dropping knowledge every week with his own column in the New Times.”
In addition to Mayor Alvarez, a Republican, Campbell will face two-term Miami-Dade County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez, Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina and former state legislator Marcelo Llorente.
Campbell’s hit singles include “I Wanna Rock (Doo Doo Brown),” “Me So Horney,” “Pop That Pussy,” and “Face Down, Ass Up.”