The year was 1979 and hip-hop music burst onto the mainstream scene, causing ripples and waves around the music industry. Body-moving beats, catchy rhyming lyrics and energetic MCs gave the world a new musical genre that reflected the lifestyles and experiences of those living primarily in inner-cities, and quickly became a nearly universal language for Black and Latino youth.
The early music ranged from introspective reflections on economic and racial struggle to lighthearted dance music that brought people together to have a good time. Eventually, much of the music became more sexual in nature, and the male-dominated genre began to draw attention and come under fire for the sexually explicit nature of the songs.
In 1990, Miami-based rappers 2 Live Crew were sued and arrested for their album’s obscenity, and in 1992, the obscenity ruling was overruled. (The Supreme Court refused to hear the state’s appeal.) Basically, they won the legal right to be “as nasty as they wanna be,” and this groundbreaking court case changed not only hip-hop, but opened the doors for artists of all genres to be as sexually explicit in their music as they wanted to.
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