GREENVILLE, S.C., JUNE 18 -- A local prosecutor today declared obscene the sexually explicit "As Nasty as They Wanna Be" album by the rap group 2 Live Crew and banned its sale in Pickens and Greenville counties. But in Sacramento, Calif., the district attorney today refused to prosecute merchants selling the album.

Stores will be sent letters about the ruling and must clear the album off their shelves by June 26 or risk arrest, said Greenville Prosecutor Joseph J. Watson.

"The whole purpose of the lyrics is to appeal to the prurient interest of sex. They are patently offensive, and they are utterly without any serious artistic or literary value," said Watson. "It's filth."

Debbie Bennett, spokeswoman for the 2 Live Crew's label, Luke Records, wondered whether Watson would now look at other material being sold.

"I hope this means they're also taking out all the X-rated movies and all the other albums on major labels that have all the same language as 2 Live Crew," Bennett said in a telephone interview from Miami.

"I hope they're not limiting it to a relatively obscure black group and an even more obscure black label."

Sacramento District Attorney Steve White rejected requests to prosecute merchants who sell the album, saying it was "extraordinarily crude and offensive" but did not violate state obscenity law.

Meanwhile, in Tennessee, Acuff-Rose Music Inc. sued the 2 Live Crew in federal court, saying the group wasn't authorized to record a song derived from the Roy Orbison hit "Oh, Pretty Woman."