When most folks hear or read the words “naughty by nature,” I suspect the neurotransmitters in their brains immediately signal either or both of two associated memories: “O.P.P.” and “Hip Hop Hooray.” And with good reason, considering the permanence of these unforgettable singles.
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Few hip-hop acts have made as dynamic of an introduction as the East Orange, New Jersey trio comprised of Treach, Vin Rock and Kay Gee did in 1991 with their debut single, “O.P.P.” Due to its instantly recognizable Jackson 5 sample (“ABC”), Treach’s brisk rhyme spray, and its shamelessly cheeky acronym that invited a multitude of interpretations, “O.P.P.” was a massive crossover hit that still induces listeners to scratch their temples and contemplate whether they’re “down with O.P.P.” or not. Beyond its ubiquitous lead single and owing to other stellar singles like “Ghetto Bastard” (a.k.a. “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”) and “Uptown Anthem,” the group’s self-titled sophomore album—which, unbeknownst to many, actually followed their debut LP Independent Leaders recorded under their original moniker, The New Style—is an indisputable classic.
Two years after their breakthrough, Naughty By Nature released the follow-up full-length, appropriately titled 19 Naughty III. While not the whirlwind phenomenon that its precursor was, the album was still commercially and critically successful, yielding another indelible anthem in “Hip Hop Hooray,” as well as underrated singles “It’s On” and “Written on Ya Kitten.” Most importantly, the album dispelled any shortsighted accusations that the group was little more than a one-hit (or one-album) wonder and promised more excellent things to come from the talented threesome.
Justin Chadwick is a columnist for soulhead.com, whose #LongPlayLove series celebrates the anniversaries of albums that command a sentimental place in his mind, heart and soul. Follow his insatiable passion for music on Twitter @justin_chadwick.