Naughty By Nature
One-on-One with Naughty By Nature – Exclusive Interview
After years of steady touring, and itching to get back in the studio, both Treach and Vin agreed that in order for the next album to have the authentic sound and feel of Naughty By Nature, they had to include KayGee.Â
By Brandon I. Brooks
Sentinel Entertainment EditorÂ
Naughty By Nature has a near two-decade long track record of creating hits and party anthem’s. Few groups in music can boast a near twenty-year career that has been both consistent and history making.
Since the early 90’s, the Grammy Award winning, platinum-album selling trio has smashed through mainstream barriers and helped to forge an everlasting bound between American popular culture and hip-hop music.
When rap music was thought to just be a fly by night genre and was mainly appreciated by a cult underground following, in came the trio Naughty By Nature which brought rap music into living rooms across America and introduced the culture to an entire new audience.
“O.P.P.” was the first hit record and video to thrust the group to the forefront of rap music. And when the group later dropped “Hip Hop Hooray”, the anthem of all anthems, it seemed as though Naughty By Nature summarized rap music for all fans and critics.
VH1 certified this claim by bestowing the Hip Hop Honor tribute to the group in September 2008, joining the ranks of Big Daddy Kane, Rakim and Eazy E.
Naughty By Nature will forever be seen as ambassadors for hip-hop. If there is ever a certified panel of Hip-Hip judges and critics, Naughty By Nature would sit on the board because they represent the culture for generations old and new.
And now, Treach, Vinnie and KayGee are back in the studio, creating what they do best, undeniably classic, hand-raising, life-affirming, hip-hop music. These three kings of the hip-hop anthem have formally claimed their titles and named their forthcoming reunion album, Anthem Inc. to celebrate.
Fully in control and still setting-trends, the group recently struck up a deal with media giant Microsoft, to cross promote their new single “Get to Know me Better” with the release of the HTC Touch Pro 2 Windows Mobile device.
The Sentinel recently caught up with the trio while stopping through L.A. to perform a concert at the Nokia Live Theatre. Only two of the members were present (Vinnie and KayGee as Treach was delayed due to flight problems) but the group reassured us that they are together and stronger than ever.
Sentinel: Fans noticed that over the last few years you guys were not always together, can you clear up rumors of if you guys were feuding or broke up?
NBN (KayGee): We had our differences and everything as anybody go through but everybody has grown, we are all grown men, we’re family, it goes deeper than just music and like Rick Ross say’s its deeper than rap. So that’s why we here and we are back together doing this. It wasn’t nothing major just small differences, that’s it.
Sentinel: Your new project is titled “ANTHEM INC, how did the title of the new project come about?
NBN (Vinnie): People always say that Naughty is like the king of the hip-hop anthems and Treach he’s our word master. So as all of those attributes started coming and Treach was like, “Yo we should title the album Anthem Inc. and we just ran with it. It’s not nothing we came up with, its stuff that people bestow upon you. So they like, ya’ll are the kings of hip hop anthems so we just ran with it.
Sentinel: So on this album concept wise what did you guys try to come with?
NBN (KayGee): We just make records and what feels good to us. Like Vin just mentioned, the title didn’t come until later so it wasn’t like we were trying to live up to a title of Anthem Inc. and trying to make anthems. I mean even in our previous albums like “Hip-Hop Hooray”, it just came naturally we didn’t try to make an anthem to follow what people or what the fans felt like “O.P.P.” was a anthem. We didn’t try to make another anthem because like I said people thought we made one before, we just was making partying good feel good records. That’s the same thing with now “Get To Know Me Better” and all of the other records we are doing , its just good feel good records. They are party records about having fun and you know when you do those type of records they tend to become anthems at times.
Sentinel: It seems as though you guys now have more creative control, what’s going on specifically and what has changed since your last deal?
NBN (KayGee): It’s the greatest thing really right now. It’s not like we really never had no creative control because we always did. That’s one of the things we did because technically we were always on an indie label. Well I think now it’s just we have to put in a lot more hours and a lot more work because not only do we have to make the records but we have to make sure everything is followed out from A to Z because it’s our own label and we are running it. We are putting our own money behind it and everything right now. It’s a lot more detail. It’s a lot more work that has to come from us but nobody says it’s going to be easy and we kind of like it like that because we have always been hands on.
Sentinel: I know you’re here in L.A. performing at the Nokia Theatre, is there an up and coming tour we can look to see you on?
NBN (Vinnie): Our next major run will be with Microsoft and AT&T for the launch of this phone. So we stay touring all year around.
Sentinel: What’s going on individually? Acting, producing or maybe even directing?
NBN (Vinnie): Treach is the actor. Me, primarily I am more like the on-line guy and internet guy you know what I mean and marketing and merchandise for the group and KayGee is the music master. He is the man behind all of the production and the beats and he still is developing other artist and stuff like that so we are still the three-man threat.
Sentinel: Tell me about some of the artist you are working with?
NBN (KayGee): I got a young girl I’m working on now named Mila, a Brazilian girl. I’m working on her and I have another group that I actually hooked up with a guy out here (L.A.) and I just did a single song. It’s a little different, we are trying something different and it’s a dance record. It’s a record called the “Shower Song”, you can look out for that and the group is called LS1. It’s a boy band…and I have another cat named Chris Lawrence and most of the stuff I’ve been working on has been pop stuff and working on commercials and different stuff whenever. But the main focus now is Naughty.
Sentinel: What statement does NBN want to make this next go around?
NBN (KayGee): At the end of the day I think everybody always respected us not only for making records but being kind of like leaders and doing certain things. We started out always doing the Internet. We were one of the first groups to do our own merchandise and open up a store and do all the stuff like that and start film companies and productions companies and everything like that and I think we are going to continue with doing this phone stuff and dealing with corporate America and evolving as technology evolves. And show the people that classic artist because we don’t really like to call it old school or guys that have been around before aint up on the game and don’t know what’s going on and a lot of the questions or one of the first questions people will always ask is “with technology and with the game changing now, how do you guys adjust? And I think the question should be more or less how are the new guys going to adjust because we up on it (laughs), we’ve been doing this.
Sentinel: How do you feel about the game right now? Where is it?
NBN (Vinnie): I think a lot of cats that grew up on 90’s hip-hop, late 80’s and early to mid 90’s hip-hop, they miss that era, they miss that flow, they miss that style you know so I guess some of the younger rappers out there right now our generation really can’t get with it. But at the same token I have 16, 17, 13 year-old nephews and nieces, they love that. There is a lot of good hip-hop out there, from Lil Wayne to what Drake and them is doing right now and there are tons of underground kids outhere. You will always have your super successful Solja Boy type rappers and as long as they keeping it hip-hop alive, every generation and every era gets to enjoy their hip-hop artist. And then for us, the veteran artist, its up to us to keep servicing our crowd and then you always I guess educate the younger kids too and you keep getting new getnerations of fans. Its not about hatting on whats out there, you roll up your sleeves and keep rokcin and make sure you stay relevant.