Naughty by Nature

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Naughty by Nature
Naughty by Nature members Treach (left) and Vin Rock (right) in 2009
Naughty by Nature members Treach (left) and Vin Rock (right) in 2009
Background information
Also known asThe New Style
OriginEast Orange, New Jersey, U.S.
GenresHip hop, East Coast hip hop
Years active1986–2002
LabelsMCA, TVT, Tommy Boy/Warner Bros., Arista/BMG
SpinoffsIlltown Sluggaz
Vin Rock
DJ Kay Gee

Naughty by Nature is an American hip hop trio from East Orange, New Jersey, consisting of Treach (Anthony Criss), Vin Rock (Vincent Brown), and DJ Kay Gee (born Keir Lamont Gist).



The group formed in East Orange, New Jersey,[1] in 1986 as The New Style. The group first appeared on the music scene in 1989, releasing an album called Independent Leaders, and the album generated the minor hit "Scuffin' Those Knees". After the release of their first album, the group was mentored by fellow New Jersey native Queen Latifah,[2] and subsequently changed their name.


Naughty by Nature's first hit was "O.P.P.", which sampled the Jackson 5's hit "ABC" and was released in 1991 on their self-titled album Naughty by Nature. The track peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100,[3] and was named one of the top 100 rap singles of all time in 1998 by The Source magazine,[4] and being ranked the 20th best single of the 1990s by Spin magazine.[5] The album generated another hit with a reworking of Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry" called "Everything's Gonna Be All Right" (the track was also called "Ghetto Bastard" on some explicit releases). That song detailed the experiences of Treach growing up in poverty, and now rising up to live a better life. Powered by the success of that song and "O.P.P.", their self-titled album went platinum.

Fellow New Jersey native Tony D accused Naughty by Nature of stealing a sample from his album Music Makes You Move and using it on "O.P.P." The matter was settled out of court.[citation needed] Naughty by Nature scored a hit with the track "Uptown Anthem" from the soundtrack to the 1992 film Juice, in which Treach had a cameo appearance.[6] Treach began to pursue an acting career after befriending Tupac Shakur on the set of Juice, and Naughty by Nature appeared in the 1993 film The Meteor Man as a street gang. After Shakur's murder in 1996, Treach recorded a tribute song titled "Mourn You Til I Join You".

Later, the group had multiple hits from its third and fourth albums, called 19 Naughty III and Poverty's Paradise respectively. Both albums reached the #1 spot on the R&B/Hip-Hop Charts. "Hip Hop Hooray" was a success from the album 19 Naughty III. Its video was directed by Spike Lee and featured cameos by Queen Latifah, Eazy-E, Run-D.M.C., and Da Youngstas. Poverty's Paradise won the Grammy Award in 1996 for Best Rap Album, becoming the first album to win this award.[7] It also spawned a hit song in "Feel Me Flow" which peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100.[3]

They produced a remix of the Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson song "Scream" in 1995.

In the mid-1990s Naughty by Nature started their own music imprint, Illtown Records, and in 1995 released an album from their protégés the Rottin Razkals.[citation needed]

In 1999 the group released its fifth album, titled Nineteen Naughty Nine: Nature's Fury. The album was fairly successful, being certified Gold by the RIAA, and spawned the hit "Jamboree" that peaked at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100.[3]


After the release of Nineteen Naughty Nine: Nature's Fury, a dispute regarding finances developed between Kay Gee and Treach. Treach blamed Kay Gee for squandering the group's finances. Due to these disagreements DJ Kay Gee decided to leave Naughty by Nature in late 2000. He started to develop his own record label Divine Mill. In 2001 the group released a song 'Here Comes The Money' that has constantly been used as the entrance theme for Shane McMahon in WWE. The remainder of the group, Treach and Vin Rock, released an album in 2002 called IIcons. Due to Kay Gee's absence, the group used a variety of different producers including Da Beatminerz. The album, however, received a lukewarm reception from the public. In 2002, the group disbanded. In May 2006, Kay Gee reunited with Treach and rejoined Naughty by Nature at a concert at B.B. King's nightclub.[8] In April 2010 they released the single "Get to Know Me Better", featuring rapper Pitbull, while the B-side of the single was called "I Gotta Lotta". Later in 2010 they released the group's first mixtape, Naughty by Nature: Tha Mixtape. In 2011 the three worked on their long-delayed seventh group album, and it finally saw release. Titled Anthem Inc., it came out December 13, 2011.[9] It featured brand new material as well as re-recordings of the group's past hits.

On June 11, 2011, Naughty by Nature became the first hip-hop group to perform at Fenway Park. They performed "Hip Hop Hooray" as part of the mega boyband NKOTBSB's concert.

In March 2012, following the release of a documentary on fellow New Jersey based hip hop group Sugar Hill Gang, Naughty by Nature performed in Asbury Park, NJ at the Garden State film festival.[10]

2013–present: Breakup and reconciliation[edit]

Naughty by Nature performing in 2016. Vin Rock in foreground.

In May 2013, frontman Treach shocked fans when he revealed that Vin Rock had been "fired" from the group, after failing to put in the same amount of energy in the group as himself and member DJ Kay Gee. At the time, Treach said he and Vinnie hadn't been on speaking terms for around two years.[11]

In April 2015, Treach said he and Vinnie had resolved their issues, but now their relationship is strictly "business". "You got teammates, sometimes, that's on the same team, they may not feel each other. At the end of the day, you going out to win. That's what we doing", Treach said. Although Vinnie and Treach are cordial, he said another Naughty by Nature album was unlikely.[12]

In January 2016, in celebration of their 25th anniversary, Naughty by Nature posted the video of their song "God is Us" from Anthem Inc. to their YouTube account.[13][14]

On May 2, 2019, the Mixtape Tour commenced in Cincinnati, OH. Performers on this tour include Naughty by Nature, Salt-N-Pepa, Debbie Gibson, and Tiffany, with New Kids on the Block being billed as the headline performers.[15]


Studio albums

Awards and nominations[edit]

Grammy Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
1995 Poverty's Paradise Grammy Award for Best Rap Album Won [16]
"Feel Me Flow" Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group Nominated
1993 "Hip Hop Hooray" Nominated
1991 "O.P.P." Nominated

American Music Awards

Year Artist Award Result
1992 Naughty by Nature Favorite New Artist - Rap / Hip-Hop Won
1994 Naughty by Nature Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist Nominated
1996 Naughty by Nature Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist Nominated

MTV Video Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Award Result
1993 "Hip Hop Hooray" Best Rap Video Nominated


  1. ^ "Naughty by Nature returns to N.J. hometown to celebrate 25th anniversary". Archived from the original on 2018-01-19. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  2. ^ "Naughty By Nature MP3 Downloads - Naughty By Nature Music Downloads - Naughty By Nature Music Videos - Naughty By Nature Pictures". Archived from the original on 2010-06-29. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
  3. ^ a b c "( Naughty by Nature > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )". AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
  4. ^ " Source 100 Best Rap Albums & Singles". Archived from the original on 2017-08-07. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
  5. ^ " Magazine (USA) Lists...Page 2". Archived from the original on 2019-07-25. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
  6. ^ "News - Articles - 1432607 - 19990210". 1999-02-10. Archived from the original on 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
  7. ^ "( Naughty by Nature > Charts & Awards > Grammy Awards )". AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
  8. ^ "Hip Hop Videos". Archived from the original on March 15, 2022. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
  9. ^ "Naughty by Nature: Anthem Inc. (New Album)". Archived from the original on 2010-10-12. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
  10. ^ Wilkinson, Carlton. "Garden State Film Festival Opens March 22 in Asbury Park". Asbury Park Press. Archived from the original on May 14, 2022. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  11. ^ "Treach Explains Why Vinnie Is Booted From Naughty By Nature". May 13, 2013. Archived from the original on May 4, 2015. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
  12. ^ "Treach Addresses Status Of Naughty By Nature". April 28, 2015. Archived from the original on May 3, 2015. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
  13. ^ "Naughty By Nature ft. Queen Latifah - God Is Us (Video)". 19 January 2016. Archived from the original on 24 September 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  14. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "God Is Us - Naughty By Nature ft. Queen Latifah". YouTube. 19 January 2016.
  15. ^ Kreps, Daniel (October 8, 2018). "New Kids on the Block Set 'MixTape' Tour With Salt-N-Pepa, Naughty by Nature". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 27, 2019. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  16. ^ "Naughty By Nature". November 19, 2019. Archived from the original on June 8, 2020. Retrieved February 3, 2020.

External links[edit]