Obscene Bass: Revisiting Miami’s Invasion of White Suburbia

Back in the ’80s, uptight white people fretted over the decline of western civilization. For Tipper Gore and the PMRC, suburban youth were being morally debased by the down and dirty sounds of gangsta rappers, Satanic headbangers, and provocative pop divas. The most obscene of all was 2 Live Crew and the Miami bass sound they helped transform into something that was equal parts pop fad and national epidemic. Seemingly overnight, white teenage girls were shaking what their mamas gave them, while their brothers cruised strip mall parking lots in cars with the boom. School dances were cancelled, musicians arrested, and record stores shuttered. To celebrate this gloriously obscene time in America, here is a bass-thumping blast of genre cornerstones, radio hits, and lost nuggets.