It wouldn’t be a real celebration of hip-hop history without someone taking their beef public. Following Friday’s huge Hip-Hop 50 concert at Yankee Stadium in New York City, one of the genre’s pioneers called out other artists for a perceived lack of love for Florida rap. On Saturday, 2 Live Crew founder Luther Campbell, a.k.a. Uncle Luke made his frustration known on Instagram.
“Hip-hop fans from Florida. Don’t be upset they don’t recognize your favorite Floridian artists as part of hip-hop’s 50th year celebrations,” Luke wrote. “This industry has never considered us as hip-hop from the time I started hip-hop in the south.”
I’m no hip-hop historian, but maybe some of the artists and promoters organizing these celebrations want to show how the music has moved beyond the exploitative nature of “Me So Horny.” This isn’t an exclusion of his impact on the industry, just a sign that the times have changed.
“You can only imagine the names they called us. Country booty music trash, music. I can go on and on [about] the disrespect towards Florida hip-hop,” he continued. “Still to this day, we fight for our respect, and you have stood behind us every step of the way. We will continue fighting. There will be a day this year where we come together and celebrate Florida hip-hop artist from the top of the state to the bottom. We love you. Thank You for your support.”
Just so it’s clear, I am not downplaying Luke’s importance to the history and growth of hip-hop. The freedom of speech court battles he fought in 1990 made it possible for rappers to fully express themselves in their music, without fear of legal blowback. He is one of the most important and influential figures in music history. It’s understandable that he might feel some kind of way about not getting the respect he feels he deserves. If Luke feels so strongly about recognizing the contributions of Florida rap, he could use his influence and connections to put together his own south centered hip-hop celebration. We’ve seen other artists do this, so why can’t he?
At least one rap legend did offer his thanks to Luke, with Snoop Dogg replying to his post, writing, “I love and respect what u did for me and my hip hop journey uncle Luke on and off the mic, let’s do a southwest. Hip hop celebration so we can get the flowers to you and the. Other founders who mean so much to this thang called hip hop love and. Respect. O. G. Can’t spell hip hop without the south Or. The west.”
The thing to remember about these types of big anniversary celebrations is that someone is always left out, and someone is always offended. This isn’t unique to hip-hop and isn’t a new phenomenon in the entertainment world. Give it a day or two and another big name will make their grievances known.