When former 2 Live Crew rapper Luther Campbell announced his candidacy for mayor of Miami-Dade County last week, it might have seemed like a joke at first. But the man who won fame with vulgar hits like 1989’s “Me So Horny” says he’s dead serious about cleaning up local government. “When you’re in the music business and you’re as controversial as our groups were throughout the years, you kind of have to know politics,” Campbell tells Rolling Stone. “There have been so many years where I already was thinking about running for office. It just wasn’t the proper time.”
Campbell’s surprisingly serious platform centers on budget reform and reducing crime in his beloved home city. “As you get older, you ride through the neighborhood that you grew up in and you see that nothing has changed,” he says. “You look at the news and you see the same crime and the same killing and the same crack houses in the same area for over 20 or 30 years. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”
The onetime shock-rapper has spent recent years devoting himself to family life and running a youth sports league, which Campbell says suffered from recent cuts in public funding. He has proposed making up some of those lost funds via a new tax on strip club proceeds. “If we do a stripper tax – take that money, set it aside, and have it go directly to youth programs as well as battered women programs that have been cut back – I would think that the strippers and exotic dancers will be happy about that, because they’ll see their money going to something that’s good,” he says.
Campbell, along with several other candidates, will face incumbent Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez in a March 15 recall vote. He maintains that he has a genuine chance of winning. And if not? “If I do lose, at least the message will get out about crime,” he says.
Either way, Campbell plans to stay involved in local politics beyond this race. While he is running as a Democrat, one long term goal is to establish a new party that better represents his concerns. “I see this as the Hip-Hop Party starting right now,” he says. “This is the beginning of it all. It’s going to be special.”