American Grammy Award winning hip hop group Naughty by Nature, consisting of Treach, Vin Rock and DJ Kay Gee, enjoyed crossover star status thanks to the double platinum selling single “O.P.P.,” from the group's 1991 self-titled album. The song's success to peak at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 propelled the album to platinum status. “O.P.P.” brought the group their first Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1992. Naughty by Nature scored their next Top 10 hit single on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Hip Hop Hooray” (1993), the lead single of their 1993 album “19 Naughty III,” hich also reached the top spot on the US R&B Singles chart and earned the group their next Grammy nomination. Both the single and the album received platinum certification from the RIAA. In 1996, Naughty by Nature won their Grammy award for their album, “Poverty's Paradise” (1995). the album featured a major hit single with “Fell Me Flow,” which peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for a 1996 Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, their last Grammy nomination to date. In 1999, the group released the gold album “Nineteen Naughty Nine: Nature's Fury,” which spawned the gold single “Jamboree,” but Kay Gee left the group in late 2000 after disputes with lead rapper Treach. The reminder member of the group launched an album in 2002 called “Iicons,” which received a tepid reception from the public. Kay Gee rejoined Naughty by Nature in 2006.
The New Style
Childhood and Family:
Naughty By Nature was formed by high school peers MCs Treach (born Anthony Criss, on December 2, 1970), Vinnie (born Vincent Brown) and DJ Kay Gee (born Keir Gist) in East Orange, NJ, in 1988. Initially known as The New Style, the group started performing at talent shows before eventually discovered by Queen Latifah, who signed the group to her management company. The group subsequently changed its name.
As The New Style, the three boys released an album called “Independent Leaders” in 1989. The album produced a single, “Scuffin' Those Knees.” However, both the album and the single failed to make an impact. Their luck started to change after they were mentored by fellow New Jersey native Queen Latifah, who helped them land a contract with Tommy Boy Records.
After changing their name to Naughty by Nature, the boys launched an eponymous album on September 3, 1991 under Tommy Boy. Produced by the group and Louie Vega, the album was a commercial and critical success. It peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard 200 and No. 10 on the Billboard
Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums. The album received platinum certification from the RIAA in February 1992 and in 1998, was named one of The Source Magazine's “100 Best Rap albums.”
“Naughty by Nature” spawned three hit singles. The lead single “O.P.P.” was a huge hit for the group. It made it to the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles & Tracks (#5) and reached No. 1 on the the Billboard Hot Rap Singles. The song was one of the first rap songs to become a pop hit when it reached No. 6 in the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 35 in the UK Singles Chart in 1991. “O.P.P.” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1992. The follow up single “Everything's Gonna Be Alright” failed to achieve the same level of success of its predecessor but it managed to make it to No. 53 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 12 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles & Tracks and No. 9 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles. The third and final single “Uptown Anthem” (1992) peaked at No. 27 on the Hot Rap Singles and No. 58 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The song was made for the soundtrack for the 1992 crime movie “Juice,” where NBN rapper Treach also had a cameo acting role. This marked Treach's first of a long acting career.
The third studio album “19 Naughty III,” the group's second record with Tommy Boy, was released on February 23, 1993. The album, which they produced with S.I.D. Reynolds, was another critical and commercial hit for the group. It reached No.1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums and No. 3 on the Billboard 200. The first single “Hip Hop Hooray” spent one week at No.1 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles & Tracks, and made it to the Top 10 on both The Billboard Hot 100 (#8) and the Billboard Hot Rap Singles (#3). The song received a 1994 Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. The next single “It's On,” which was writtena nd produced by the three members of the group, found a modest success on the Billboard charts by peaking at No. 48 and No. 74 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and the Billboard Hot 100, respectively. The last single “Written on Ya Kitten” became the least successful of the three singles released from the album. It only charted at No. 93 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 53 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. “19 Naughty III” was eventually certified platinum by the RIAA.
On May 2, 1995, Naughty by Nature released their fourth album, “Poverty's Paradise,” which would earn the group their Grammy Award for Best Rap Album in 1996. It charted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, and went gold. The group produced and wrote the first single “Clap Yo Hands” (1995), which was not a big hit on both the Billboard charts, reaching No. 105 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 70 on the R&B / Hip-Hop and No. 33 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles. “Craziest” (1995), the album's second single, was a moderate success on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks, where it peaked at No. 51 and No. 27 on the charts receptively, but it became the group's fourth Top 10 hit on single on the the Hot Rap Singles (#5). The third and last single “Feel Me Flow” (1995) became the most successful single from the album. It reached No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks, and No. 3 on the Hot Rap Singles. “Feel Me Flow” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1996. “Poverty's Paradise” marked the group final album under Tommy Boy Records.
Also in 1995, the group started up their own music imprint called Illtown Records, and released released an album from their proteges the Rottin Razkals, a hip hop group consisting of Chap, Fam, and Diesel, Treach's younger brother.
In 1997, Naughty by Nature recorded the song “Mourn You Til I Join You” for the soundtrack to the 1998 motion picture “Ride,” which was written and directed by Millicent Shelton. The song, which they dedicated to their friend, Tupac Shakur, and was about Treach's relationship with Tupac, charted at No. 51 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 24 on the Billboard R&B / Hip-Hop and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles.
The group resurfaced with the fifth studio album “Nineteen Naughty Nine: Nature's Fury” on April 27, 1999. It was their first and only record for Arista Records. The album peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard 200 and No. 9 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, an eventually went gold. The album generated a big comeback hit for the group with “Jamboree,” featuring Zhané, which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles, No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 4 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks. Other singles released from the album were “Dirt All By My Lonely” (#109 US R&B), “Live or Die” (#86 US R&B), featuring Master P, Mystikal, Silkk the Shocker and Phiness, and “Holiday” (#101 US R&B).
A conflict regarding finances happened between Kay Gee and Treach following the release of “Nineteen Naughty Nine: Nature's Fury,” with Treach blaming Kay Gee for waste the group's finances. The disputes led to the departure of DJ Kay Gee from Naught By Nature in late 2000. He went on to begin his own record label Divine Mill. The reminder of the group, Treach and Vin Rock, released an album, “Iicons,” on March 5, 2002 through TVT Records. The album peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard 200 and No.5 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. It yielded the hit single “Feels Good (Don't Worry Bout a Thing),” featuring 3LW, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles, No. 25 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and No. 53 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In May 2006, Kay Gee reunited with Treach and rejoined Naughty by Nature at a concert at B.B. King's nightclub. The trio are currently working on their next album, which will be titled “Anthem Inc.” In April 2010, the group released a song called “Get to Know Me Better,” featuring Pitbull, which became the first single from their upcoming album. On September 21, 2010, the group released their first mixtape, “ Naughty by Nature: Tha Mixtape,” through Illtown Records. The mixtape featured the single “Gotta Lotta” and is meant as a preview to their upcoming studio album.
In June 2011, Nature by Nature performed at the prestigious baseball ground Fenway Park, making it the first hi hop group to do so. The group performed “Hip Hop Hooray” as part of the mega boyband NKOTBSB's concert.
Grammy: Best Rap Album, “Poverty's Paradise,” 1996