Naughty By Nature is one of the most beloved -90s hip-hop acts for good reason.
The trio of Treach, Vin Rock and Kay Gee churned out some of the decade’s biggest hits and were at the forefront of hard-core street-oriented hip-hop’s commercial takeover. Maybe it’s because there was no tragic martyrdom a la 2Pac and the Notorious B.I.G., or maybe Treach never became a celebrated crossover pop culture figure like LL Cool J; but for whatever reason, the boys from Jersey seem to not get their due when great hip-hop acts of the 1990s are brought up.
But on this night in NYC, the trio got a little closer to getting their due.
In 1993, “Hip-Hop Hooray” cemented their status as the premier rap anthem-makers for their generation. The debut single from their second album, 19 Naughty III, the song’s anthemic chorus became one of the ’90s most well-known — rivaled only by the crew’s first huge hit, “O.P.P.” two years earlier.
Naughty By Nature decided to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the anthem’s release with a show at Gramercy Theater in New York City. Prior to the concert, the group held a V.I.P. meet-and-greet at Ben and Jack’s Steakhouse in Manhattan for a select few fans, friends and some media, just to thank everyone for their support over the last two decades. Posing for photos and sharing a huge “Hip Hop Hooray” birthday cake and cupcakes for all in attendance, it was a warm reminder of how far the group has come and how much they are still revered for their body of work.
Once the “warm-and-fuzzies” were over, however — the legendary crew got down to doing what it still does best — putting on a raucous show. Joined onstage by Dres of Black Sheep and A Tribe Called Quest member Jarobi, and with several hip-hop notables peppered throughout the venue, Naughty gave the people what they’d waited for. Naughty By Nature is an act that can still move the crowd — and they have a catalog that dwarfs many of their more-celebrated contemporaries and a fanbase that’s as devoted as any in hip-hop.
- stereo williams