Luther Campbell

Published On: Mar 23 2012 10:46:41 AM EDT

As hip-hop’s original bad boy, pop culture icon, and consummate businessman, Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell, is one of the few American celebrities who has had an indelible impact on the worlds of rap music, sex, business, law, and politics simultaneously. The first Southern rap star to emerge on the Billboard Pop Charts with “Move Something,” Luther Campbell also established the first independent hip-hop label in The Dirty South with Luke Records, (originally named Skyywalker Records) in 1983.  After seeing how much money Luke Records made from releasing their music independently and how much freedom it offered artistically, everyone wanted to own and operate their own record label. This accomplishment was groundbreaking because Luke Records was the first and only African-American owned and operated label.  Campbell made national headlines in the early 1990s as a part of The 2 Live Crew when he led one of Hip-Hop’s most noted victories in society — the right of Freedom of Speech in our music.  His highly publicized obscenity trials and Supreme Court parody cases were First Amendment victories upon which the entertainment industry still benefits.

In 2000, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honored Campbell’s contribution to hip-hop by including photographs of him and items of his clothing in its “Hip-Hop Nation: Roots, Rhymes and Rage” exhibit.

In 2004, Luke won the very first Free Speech Coalition “Celebrity Freedom Fighter Award” for his free speech clashes with the federal government. The Free Speech Coalition is the trade association bible for the adult entertainment awards.  Campbell’s fight for artist freedom of expression paved the way for the lyrical freedom enjoyed today’s artists. A constant trendsetter, Luther Campbell’s brand exceeds far beyond what you’d imagine. He is not just a company he is an enterprise.