Naughty By Nature
Treach - Anthony Criss 2nd December, 1970 East Orange NJ
Vin-Rock - Vincent Brown 17th September, 1970 East Orange NJ
Kay Gee - Keir Gist 15th September, 1969 East Orange NJ
Label: Illtown/Tommy Boy Records
Naughty By Nature is a grimy, straight-talkin’ Illtown outfit formed in 1991 with Treach, Vin-Rock and DJ, Kay Gee. They began in high school at East Orange, New Jersey during the mid 80s, appearing on the music scene in 1989 as New Style with their album, Independent Leaders generating the small-time hit, “Scuffin’ Those Knees”. Soon after they were picked up by fellow New Jersey rapper, Queen Latifah and signed to her management company and subsequently changed their name to the present, Naughty By Nature. Due to her connection, Naughty met with Tommy Boy for a recording contract.
Naughty By Nature released their first single under Tommy Boy called “O.P.P.” which used the sample of Jackson Five’s, “ABC” and released September 3rd, 1991 on their self-titled album, Naughty by Nature. Lead rapper, Treach felt inspired by a local drug dealer who referred to moving into other dealer’s patches for business as “down with O.P.M.” (Other People’s Money) Treach flipped this into the summer phrase of ‘91 as O.P.P. (as in Other Peoples Property) loosely Treach leaves the last P open for interpretation remarking the acronym could also refer to Pussy or Penis to appeal to a broader audience. It worked. It proved to be ‘91’s dopest jam. It sat atop the U.S. Hot Rap Singles charts at number one. The second single to drop from the album was “Ghetto Bastard” later referred to “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” The début self-titled album hit platinum status marking New Jeru like the freshest New York borough to breakthrough into the hip-hop pages and Naughty became overnight crossover sensations. Treach had also embarked on an acting career as a secondary occupation. He appeared alongside Tupac Shakur and Omar Epps in 1992’s Juice. Naughty By Nature also wrote, “Uptown Anthem” for the soundtrack. Treach went on further to enjoy further roles in The Meteor Man, Who’s The Man and Jason’s Lyric through his early career while still recording, touring and releasing Naughty albums.
Naughty seconded their opening success with a follow-up which may have surpassed the “O.P.P.” commercial payout with one of the most signature hooks of the mid 90’s, the chanting “Hip-Hop Hooray” anthem released as the first single to 1993’s 19 Naughty III sophomore produced by S.I.D. Reynolds. The album hit the Top Five and like its predecessor it went platinum in unit sales. The accompanying video for, “Hip Hop Hooray” was directed by film-maker, Spike Lee featuring other hip-hop colleagues celebrating rap’s hottest new crossover joint, including Queen Latifah, Eazy-E, Run-D.M.C., and Kris Kross.
In 1995 the group put out their final album with Tommy Boy Records. Poverty’s Paradise came out May 5th, with singles that came in under the commercial radar, “Craziest”, “Feel Me Flow” and “Clap Yo Hands” became the year’s car-stereo bumpers. It also achieved a Grammy Award in 1996 in the very first category of Best Rap Album.
The group took a recording hiatus for several years leaving Treach with ample time on his hands to pursue further into his acting forte. Starring in several silver-screen features. He landed a recurring role in prison drama series, Oz and reuniting with Omar Epps in First Time Felon in 1997. DJ, KayGee also spent more time with his production company, Divine Mill. Also in ‘97, Treach and Vinnie made national headlines when they were both arrested in Harlem for illegal weapons possession, and in ‘99 Treach married Sandra “Pepa” Denton, of Salt-N-Pepa, however this would dissolve within two years. Fans were kept quiet when the group dropped, Nature’s Finest. This would be released as a first of two greatest hits album for the long time group.
In April ‘99 Nineteen Naughty Nine: Nature’s Fury came out, their fourth group album and first for Arista. The radio-friendly “Jamboree” carried the album. A complete street-grime album for their loyal hip-hop heads, their veteran style of hardcore hip-hop sentiment fused with funky pop hooks which have been the blueprint to their sustaining success in the industry. This proved to be a complete signature Naughty stamp. Unfortunately it would be the last album for the trio as Naughty By Nature. By late 2000 Teach and Kay Gee would bust up over finances, forcing Kay Gee to leave and pursue his own career in production. he built up Divine Mill, helming records for Zhané, Aaliyah, Krayzie Bone, and Next, among others. Treach and Vin-Rock continued as Naughty By Nature. Between 1999 and 2003 Treach had appeared in over a dozen feature films and television projects, keeping him busy as well as touring with Vin. In 2003 former label Tommy Boy put out another greatest hits release, Naughty’s Nicest mirroring Nature’s Fury with an almost identical set list. However it featured original LP versions and a few film scores with a twist of Kay Gee remixes. All was in high anticipation for the duo’s next album and first release without Kay Gee.
After securing a deal with TVT, Treach and Vin released number 5, IIcons, in March 5th, 2002. The album saw the duo collaborating with pop-punk princess, Pink on “What You Wanna Do” and the heaviest radio-rotator and club banger since “Hip-Hop Hooray” in # “Feels Good (Don’t Worry Bout a Thing)” featuring hometown, East Orange all-girl group, 3LW. Treach and Vin-Rock continued to tour around the globe spreading the gospel of Illtown’s grimiest, latest news reports suggest, original member, Kay Gee will be rejoining the group to reunite for the upcoming 2008, 6th studio album.
- 1989 The Independent Leaders (as New Style)
- 1991 Naughty By Nature (Chart: 10 RIAA: platinum)
- 1993 19 Naughty III (Chart: 1 RIAA: Platinum)
- 1995 Poverty’s Paradise (Chart: 1 RIAA: Gold)
- 1999 Nineteen Naughty Nine: Nature’s Fury (Chart: 9 RIAA: Gold)
- 2002 IIcons (Chart: 5)