Unlike "As Nasty as They Wanna Be," 2 Live Crew leader Luther Campbell's single "Banned in the U.S.A." is more likely to end up on Top 40 radio than in court. The song, which is being released today, features none of the sexually explicit language that led "Nasty" to be declared obscene June 6 by a U.S. district judge in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The chorus will at least provide programmers with a Golden Oldies glow: It's derived from the chorus of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A," which apparently irked Jack Thompson, the Florida lawyer who instigated the complaints about 2 Live Crew. On June 19 Thompson sent a letter to Springsteen's manager, Jon Landau, warning that 2 Live Crew might "be about to rip off his song." Thompson suggested that Springsteen "protect `Born in the U.S.A.' from its apparent theft by a bunch of clowns who traffic toxic waste to kids. If he does not, then I'll be telling the nation about Mr. Springsteen's tacit approval of the above."
CAPTION:Message of `Banned' "Banned in the U.S.A." isn't great record-making, but an opportunistic and self-serving response to the controversy that has grown up around 2 Live Crew. The rapping by Fresh Kid-Ice and Brother Marquis is flat and uninspired, and a brief speech by Luther Campbell simply rehashes the First Amendment arguments in less than compelling terms. Ironically, it appeals to the mind and the intellect not to dirty thoughts and the loins. "Banned" benefits from a catchy chorus adapted from Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A."-more on this later-as it addresses the controversy in mild terms. It is spiced by snippets of the Constitution, patriotic melodies (including "The Star-Spangled Banner") and sound bites from television interviews by Campbell in the wake of his arrest. Campbell maintains he is a victim of racism and political opportunists, and "Banned in the U.S.A." expresses anger about the failure of the First Amendment to protect 2 Live Crew from prosecution: "We got white collar people trying to cramp our style "saying we're too nasty and we're too loud "Corrupted politicians playing games bring us down to boost their fame... ." And later: "The First Amendment gave us freedom of speech "So what you saying, it didn't include me "I like to party and have a good time "There's nothing but pleasure written in our rhyme... . "Black folks wisen up 'cause on election day, you'll be banned in the U.S.A."
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