On this day, Sept. 3, in hip hop history...

Tommy Boy Music
Tommy Boy Music

1991: After unleashing their debut album Independent Leaders under the moniker New Style in 1989, the gritty New Jersey-bred trio now known as Naughty by Nature unveiled what would soon to be their highly successful self-titled album that would cultivate the ambiance of music during the golden age of hip-hop culture.

Due to the large attainment of their infectious Jackson 5-influenced hit single “O.P.P.”, the album peaked for weeks in the fall season of 1991 at the top of the Billboard charts while fueling the prompt success of the rebellious collective. Naughty by Nature challenged the cultural norms of the time with a combination of sly hip-hop, R&B, and pop-inspired sounds that shaped music to rock any party scene. With other samples from the likes of Prince, James Brown, and The Beatles, it was apparent that the trio purposely took a groundbreaking route with the conception of the project and knew that to reach the masses they would have to bring an artistic spin to the table. Appealing to women and men in the hood and the suburbs, the album was raw and welcomed listeners to an exuberant, yet telltale story of inner city life and youthful struggle with cuts like “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.”

Not losing sight of their hip-hop influence, the trio transmitted their versatility through engaging and decisive lyricism, ranging from old-school battle flows on “Pin the Tail on the Donkey,” and “Strike a Nerve,” to a confrontational synth on “Guard Your Grill.” As pop-esque as the album may be, Treach, Vinnie, and Kay Gee constantly held on to their reality of street etiquette while bridging the gap between deprivation and happiness. Any and every one could relate to their artistry, and that is what hip-hop was missing.

Naughty by Nature’s musical influence still flows seamlessly throughout hip-hop culture and entertainment. After being mentored by the legendary Queen Latifah, under her Flavor Unit crew that housed such acts as OutKast, Faith Evans, and LL Cool J, the triad would go on to deliver further hits on their third and fourth albums 19 Naughty III and Poverty’s Paradise. After over two decades of landing movie soundtracks and countless shows, the Grammy-winning group’s mega hit single “O.P.P.” can still set a dance floor on fire, and that is what instantaneously validates Naughty by Nature as one of the most significant crossover records of all time –Asia Burris

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