New Jersey-bred hip-hop trio Naughty By Nature came together to bring the world some of the hottest tracks of the 90s. They have gone on to influence several artists we know and love today, which is yet another reason they deserve their flowers as golden-era royalty.
A New Style
East Orange, New Jersey saw three individuals – Treach (Anthony Criss), Vin Rock (Vincent Brown), and DJ Kay Gee (born Keir Lamont Gist) – come together to create a hip-hop group called The New Style in 1986. The group released their first album three years later called Independent Leaders. Though the album didn’t get much attention, it did find a small hit in the song “Scuffin’ Those Knees.”
After that album, they caught the attention of fellow golden era rapper and New Jersey native Queen Latifah, who decided to mentor them. It was during this time that the group also dropped The New Style and officially became Naughty By Nature.
With their new name and new confidence, the group released their second album, Naughty by Nature. The album hit number 16 on the US Billboard 200 and number 10 on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. This album also went on to go platinum. Songs on this album included “O.P.P.” and “Everything’s Gonna Be All Right.” This album also included “Uptown Anthem,” which ended up on the soundtrack for the film, Juice, where Treach made an appearance. This film is what gave Treach the acting bug.
The group’s third album, 19 Naughty III, was released in 1993 and became the group’s second platinum album, reaching number 3 on the Billboard 200 chart and number 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. This song had several notable hits, including the hit single “Hip Hop Hooray.”
They kept things going with their fourth album, Poverty’s Paradise, in 1995, which also hit number 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart as well as number 3 on the US Billboard 200 chart. Successful singles such as “Feel Me Flow” were on this album. Not only did Poverty’s Paradise become certified Gold, but the album also earned the group a Grammy in 1996 for Best Rap Album, a brand new category that year.
Fun Fact: The group produced a remix of the song “Scream” by Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson in 1995!
By the time 1999 rolled around, the group released their fifth album, Nineteen Naughty Nine: Nature’s Fury. This album hit number 22 on the Billboard 200 charts, and its single, “Jamboree,” hit number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album also became certified Gold.
Trouble In Paradise
After the success of their fifth album, tensions started to brew in the group. Treach and Kay Gee began arguing over the finances of the group, with Treach accusing DJ Kay Gee of wasting the group’s money. As a result, DJ Kay Gee made the decision to leave the group in 2000.
The remaining two members of the group continued on and released the album IIcons in 2002. This album hit number 15 on the Billboard 200 chart and number 5 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart. It was after this album that the remaining group members decided to go their separate ways.
Naughty by Nature | The Reunion
By the time 2010 rolled around, DJ Kay Gee had rejoined Naughty by Nature, and the group released a mixtape called Naughty by Nature: The Mixtape. That next year, the group released its seventh album, Anthem, Inc.
That same year, the group performed at an NKOTBSB(a supergroup with members of New Kids On The Block and The Backstreet Boys) concert. This concert took place in Fenway Park, making them the first hip-hop group to perform at the venue.
I couldn’t finish this article without mentioning “Hip Hop Hooray!” I love the flow – it’s a classic yet timeless cadence that you could listen to any time and still appreciate. There’s no wonder this song was a hit!
This one has a much more rugged feel to it, but it’s definitely something you can vibe to.
Where Is Naughty by Nature Now?
Naughty by Nature doesn’t seem to be performing together these days, but DJ KayGee continues to make music, Treach can be seen these days on the Growing Up Hip-Hop television series, and Vin Rock continues to do interviews and keep the legacy of Naughty by Nature alive, just as the other two members do!
Where To Find Naughty by Nature
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