Found­ing mem­ber of 2 Live Crew dies at 53

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OBITUARIES - BY JEN­NIFER KAY

MI­AMI — Christo­pher Wong Won, a found­ing mem­ber of the Mi­ami hip-hop group 2 Live Crew whose sex­u­ally ex­plicit lyrics trig­gered a na­tional de­bate over the le­gal lim­its of artis­tic free­dom, has died at the age of 53.

The group’s man­ager, DJ Debo, said Wong Won, known as Fresh Kid Ice, died Thurs­day at a Veter­ans Af­fairs hospi­tal in Mi­ami as a re­sult of med­i­cal con­di­tions he had suf­fered for sev­eral years.

2 Live Crew gained fame in the 1980s and 1990s for its Mi­ami bass sound, sex­u­ally ex­plicit lyrics and le­gal chal­lenges.

A judge in Florida ruled that the group’s 1989 al­bum “As Nasty As They Wanna Be’’ was ob­scene, lead­ing to the ar­rest of a record store owner who re­fused to stop sell­ing it. Won and 2 Live Crew front­man Luther “Un­cle Luke’’ Camp­bell also were ar­rested af­ter per­form­ing songs from the al­bum at a show in Hol­ly­wood, Florida.

A fed­eral ap­peals court later over­turned the ob­scen­ity rul­ing, and the U.S. Supreme Court de­clined to hear fur­ther ar­gu­ments in the case from the group’s crit­ics.

The Supreme Court sided with 2 Live Crew in 1994 in a sep­a­rate case, rul­ing they had the right to par­ody other artists af­ter they were sued for sam­pling the Roy Or­bi­son song “Oh, Pretty Woman’’ on a clean ver­sion of “As Nasty As They Wanna Be.’’

The group’s 1990 al­bum “Banned in the USA’’ was the first to be sold with a “parental ad­vi­sory’’ la­bel warn­ing about its con­tent.

“They paved the way for a lot of artists to be able to do what they do on records now,’’ Debo said. “They fought in court for peo­ple to say what they want to say.’’

Wong Won was born in 1964 in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

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