Naughty By Nature Biography

The New Jersey, USA-based trio of MC Treach (Anthony Criss, 27 December 1970, East Orange, New Jersey, USA), Vinnie (b. Vincent Brown, 17 September 1970, East Orange, New Jersey, USA) and DJ Kay Gee (b. Keir Gist, 15 September 1969, East Orange, New Jersey, USA) utilized the funkier rather than darker aspects of gangsta hip-hop. Heavily influenced by the patronage of Queen Latifah, their language was blue but not always in the overtly sexual sense. ‘Ghetto Bastard’, for example, was a master stroke, pickled in the atmosphere of the street and exact in its execution of ghetto vernacular. Unlike many other hardcore outfits, Naughty By Nature are not afraid of injecting a touch of soul into the mix (once more, a la Queen Latifah), which makes the best of their work all the more endearing. They gave Tommy Boy Records their biggest ever hit with the 12-inch ‘O.P.P.’, the largest-grossing authentic rap single in the USA in 1990, selling over a million copies (‘O.P.P.’ stands for ‘Other People’s Pussy’, though that did not prevent several generations enthusiastically singing along to ‘I’m down with O.P.P.’, making the record an American equivalent to the Shamen’s notorious ‘Ebeneezer Goode’). A second album upped the sleaze factor with some lyrics, but still maintained the crew’s best traditions elsewhere. The single lifted from 19NaughtyIII, ‘Hip Hop Hooray’, became another US Top 10 hit, helped in no small part by a Spike Lee-filmed video. Treach himself was to be found in Houston acting in the movie Jason’s Lyric, though he had appeared previously in the widely ridiculed The Meteor Man. He also wrote his own film treatments, in-between bungee jumping sessions in Daytona with future wife Pepa of Salt-N-Pepa, and launched the Naughty Gear clothing line. Kay Gee, meanwhile, earned a production deal with Motown Records, initial fruit from which was characterized by Zhané’s debut album and hit single, ‘Hey Mr DJ’. Poverty’s Paradise was a mature and coherent set that earned the trio critical plaudits and serious respect from fellow hip-hop artists. A subsequent recording hiatus was broken in 1999 by the trio’s debut set for Arista Records, which featured the raucous Top 10 collaboration with Zhané, ‘Jamboree’. Kay Gee left in summer 2000 and Treach and Vinnie were dropped by Arista shortly afterwards. They signed a new contract with TVT Records, returning in May 2002 with iicons.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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