Give It Up For…

In hip-hop there is no shortage of great groups. Who has really had the cultural impact of NWA and Run-D.M.C.? And when Wu-Tang and OutKast came through they respectively changed the game. Gang Starr epitomized New York hip-hop in the late ‘90s (despite the fact that neither Guru or Premier are originally from NY), but when it comes to great rap groups, one crew often gets overlooked. In 1991 East Orange, New Jersey’s Naughty By Nature made fans take notice when they dropped their classic single, “O.P.P.”

Although the three-man group consisting of Treach, Vin Rock and DJ Kay Gee had released their debut album two years earlier (under the moniker The New Style), it wasn’t until they switched up their name and sound that they found success. With a gang of hits like “Hip Hop Hooray,” “It’s On” and “Feel Me Flow,” Naughty ran radio for the better part of their 10 year run and also managed to snag some Grammys and platinum plaques along the way.

Aside from mainstream accolades, Naughty got hip-hop respect as well. Treach’s rapid fire-yet-melodic flow was unmatched and Kay Gee’s pop production skills were sought out by acts like Mary J. Blige, Aaliyah, Jaheim, Zhane and Next. The group eventually broke up in 2000 due to financial disputes and when Treach and Vinnie released IIcons in 2002 without Kay Gee, it just wasn’t the same. But regardless of the drama, Naughty By Nature will always be one of hip-hop’s greatest groups and one of my all time favorites. – Rob the Music Ed

“O.P.P.” Live

“Uptown Anthem”

“Hip Hop Hooray” Live

“The Craziest”

“Feel Me Flow” Live

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  • Ron Mexico

    don’t get me started.

    treach is the most underrated mc of all time. nas gets all the credit for changing the way we rap. you never hear treach’s name.

    and the group was incredible.

    naughty 4 life.

  • Pierzy

    “Feel Me Flow” is a super underrated cut


    they have hits, but the only cold album they have is the one with opp and yoke the joker on it. it think that they were definately a good group, but not one of the greats. i’d put them below, nwa, wu, mobb deep, epmd, tribe, outkast, ugk, ball and g, etc.

    naughty by nature falls into that poison clan, nice and smooth, ONYX, gangstarr category to me! like the second teir of rap group greatness.

    actually gangstarr might be top teir!

    • tony grand$

      Naughty was the business. I even ordered some shit back then outta that catalogue they had in the jacket of the first album lol.

      Definitely underrated as far as acknowledgement is concerned. The only weak link was Vin Rock, & in hindsight he wasn’t all THAT bad. And you gotta respect the group that brought Bumpy Knuckles onto the scene.

      I still bump their albums when I’m feeling nostalgic. As far as content, Treach was one of the first “personal” MC’s, being honest in what he spit even if it meant his own problems (“neva met my dad, muthafuck the fag”).

      Hall of famers.

      • $ykotic

        They don’t remember that Treach was that Deebo mc!

        He ran with Pac and Freddie Foxxx!

        “I do my dirt all by my lonely…”

        Already hiphop Hall of Fame

        Thanks Rob!

      • Dub Sac

        19naughtythree is the reason i know who freddie foxxx is.

  • clovito

    word. treach’s skills get overlooked. “feel me flow” is my joint


    hey rob, you always come wit some real shit! i was wondering when you were gonna do a blog about ABOVE THE LAW! they are possibly THE MOST UNDERRATED rap group ever. not to mention that cold187um did ALOT of production for nwa! i’m listening to “uncle sam’s curse” (the song) right now as i type. them niggas was funky as shit!

  • Royale

    “I never kill for the thrill but i’ll cut for the cause” one the best lines ever

  • Lowedwn

    Ahhh yes, tha Naughty days’. Treach doesn’t get overlooked, he gets down right shitted on in my opinion. Naughty had so many underground classics as well as pop anthems. They stay in permanent rotaion on the iPod.

    Favorite joints – Uptown Anthem, Yoke the Joker, Guard Your Grill, Dirt All By My Lonely, Craziest, Ghetto Bastard and The Chain Remains.

  • OG Matt Herbz

    Aw, man…all you noobs pay your respects. Back in the day when all a nigga had to do after school was tune in to Rap City, Naughy By Nature had that shit on lock. They always came with the bang-in-the-Jeep type joints. It’s true that Treach don’t get enough respect, he was tight with his mic–I was just never feeling them overalls. Peace.

    –OG Matt Herbz–

  • C. Hop

    Yoke the Joker was the feces. Naughty and Above The Law were seriously over looked. I still bump 100 Spokes.

  • El Tico Loco

    That first album was what I used to consider an almost perfect album, meaning the skills where there, the singles charted good, got mad radio play but there was nothing watered down about it. Can somebody else do that again?

  • Curtis75Black

    This is where a Mag like XXL should become a “Rolling Stone” and not only rock with the newer emcee’s and groups but Put the Elderstatemen on the Cover and find out what these Fellas been up too !! They’re one of the best with countless anthems and thought provoking tracks as well as those Chin Checker bars from Treach (going at Twista and Jermaine) and Vin (Going at Sir Mix-a-lot). Their Catalog is completely genuine and crazy slept on. The Blog is tight – Much respect but if you gonna rep Hip Hop right, It shouldn’t just be on the Net.

    • Lowedwn




  • LB

    O.k. I know this is about groups, but I want to throw MC Eight and Spice 1 out there as honorable mentions in the next overlooked pioneers conversation.



    • Jamal7Mile

      Yup, I still bump ‘em both! Spice 1 got shot last year while sitting in his car. He survived but I never really heard any updates on the incident. Needless to say, I was/am concerned. What’s up with Spice?

      • DV8

        Spice still doing music.

        • Jamal7Mile

          Thank God, man!

          Still doing music? That’s good, but it’s not reaching my ears. Might be time for me to go to and check the archives…

        • Arcey

          I always thought that they clicked well together. They should’ve did a group album.

      • DV8

        try you might have better luck

  • Detroit Dave

    XXL MAG can’t be serious with this… Naughty by Nature was ok but to call them Legendary? NO WAY

  • capcobra

    ghetto bastard.

  • Curtis75Black

    @Detroit Dave,

    I don’t know what region or era you came up in but calling Naughty By Nature “ok” is a severe understatement !! If you’re one of those cats who place 2Pac as The G.O.A.T., you should know that Treach was doing the same shit over in ILLTOWN, East Orange, without getting arrested or Shot !! It’s not just about the OPP’s and Hip Hop Horray’s homie. It’s about the Uptown Anthem’s, The 1,2,3′s, The Craziest, The Chain Remains, Feel me Flow’s, The Collabo’s with Freddie Foxx, Heavy D, KRS and Latifah, Mtstikal, Sillk The Shocker and Master P, Big Pun, Rotten Rascals as well as the production given to Eazy E, Run-DMC, Da Youngstas. Plus they was never afraid to show respect to other emcee’s who put it down.

    Straight up, There hasn’t been a group out since Naughty that gave you that energy of a “Real Party Anthem”. Can’t forget the Naughty gear !! Was out WAY before Wu, Sean John, ROCA-WEAR and G-Unit !!

    • DV8

      case closed…that sums it all up right there. Naughty is legendary. Alot of people cast them off because of the tail end of they career, but Naughty had it poppin in they hay day.

  • corlione39

    feel me flo wuznt underrated that shyt got playd oot like a jeri curl!!! but 4 reel povertyz paridise wuz n underrated album clap yo handz citi of c lo craziezt sunshine n world go round!!! oh n cant 4git sorry azz chriss webber interlude i kinduh liked it bettr than 19naughty3 so wut tha prolem iz!!! lol jk

  • LB

    Curtis75Black…Yea I remember all those collabs; especially the ones with dudes out of No Limit because while many East Coast type people where attemptin to hate and shit on the South, Naughty by Nature was one of the realist to recognize real and reach out to them. Also, I ain’t seent Naughty gear since the first 3 months the shit came out! lol. They are one of the first in to branch off into fashion though.

  • mr.martin

    Trigger Treach is to this day one of the most ridiculously dope emcees. He and Heavy D are so underrated. You can’t write these dudes out. My favorite track Klickow Klickow

  • Arcey

    call me crazy but I always thought that Em’s flow was inspired by Treach (maybe early Em).

    besides Bus’ & Spliff Star, Treach & Vinny are probably the MC/Hypeman duo out there doing live shows

    • Jamal7Mile

      What’s up Arcey?

      I had the privilege of watching Em in ’95 at The Hip Hop Shop in a regular ol rhyme cipher. Trust me, his flow was his own! Sick!! If he was inspired by anyone, it was hard to tell who it was.

      I won’t call you crazy though, LOL!

  • Curtis75Black

    Em has stated in inteviews that Treach was one of his inspirations when it came to his style and flow. Naughty wanted Em at the Honors to Represent. Instead they got what’s his face? OH Yeah !! Juelz Santana fuckin’ up their lyrics and shit.

    • DV8

      yeah then Jenny went out and fucked up Cypress Hills shit. The look on SenDog’s face was priceless.

      • Jamal7Mile

        DAMN! Juelz and Jenny over my D-Town brethren. Wish I saw that one (or maybe not) LOL!!!

  • jester

    naughty had mad skills but u dont hear much bout em their slept on way 2 much same wiv onxy… they need 2 b saluted 4 wat they did 2 the game!

  • Jamal7Mile

    Is it just me, or is anyone else having a hard time getting that Jackson 5 “ABC” loop outta their heads after reading this post and thinking about that OPP classic song?

    • tony grand$

      Whadup Mall!?

      Nah, actually I haven’t been been able to shake “Everything’s gonna be alright”.

      That piano riff loop @ the end of the song.


      • Jamal7Mile

        HA! Yessir I totally agree with that, if memory serves me correctly. My Naughty by Nature TAPE (what’s a cd?) was stolen a looong time ago. But I vaguely remember a song called “1,2,3″ that shooked the block with every other passing car!

        Can’t forget the ANTHEM either! That vid is on YouTube. It’s some real good stuff!!

        Tony, be sure to check out “Lunchtime with Mr. Len” right here on this sight. I swear this DJ got the right mix everyday for whatever XXLMAG is talking about. I listen to him Mon-Friday around (Duh) lunchtime… 1pm EST.

  • tony grand$

    Word, Mr. Len pops off.

    That song you’re talking about, I think it was called “3,2,1″. If I’m not mistaken, it was the joint with Freddie Foxx.

    • Jamal7Mile

      It might be.. can’t quite remember.

      Can’t give you props enough for your headline blog, man. Journalism is in my background. My 1st interview was with PROOF at the Hip Hop Shop in ’95. My job was to interview Motown cats who made the music for Motown headliners. Not quite a Hip Hop job, but hey, we sampled them enough didn’t we? The pay=shit, but the PAY (just knowing) = priceless!! I might submit a blog topic to SCRATCH… I enjoy educating these newbies.

      I’ll sign up as a follower on your blogspot, too. I’ll drop a FaceBk link, as well.

      • tony grand$

        Lol! Yeah, that was our first “discussion”, the journalism & how it “wasn’t my thing” lol! I forgot about that.

        Thanks for the positivity & support, man. I was trying to do a little something.

        On the blogsite, go to the profile & to the contact jump…

        • Jamal7Mile

          Got it!!

          Check out your followers!

          My first blog? Cassettes v.s. CD’s! Pros and Cons.. something like that..

          Might take a minute.. I’m still tripping on the fact that I just established my own blogsite! I got 2 paragraphs and I’m already talking shit! Might not be the best start, but fk it!! Look for Jamal7Mile.

  • eugene

    naughty by nature waz the ish true hip hop that u kud nod ya hed 2 not tha lame ass bulcrapthats out. hiphop 4 ever.
    nai 1 luv

  • fireforreal

    Naughty is one of the only groups to bring tons of radio type hits and stll have some street shit that is mostly inspirational it’s just people only think about there radio shit and define them by that. There really one of the greats.