NAUGHTY BY NATURE – Strike A Nerve

ONE OF THE BIGGEST BREAK OUT ACTS IN HIP HOP, NAUGHTY BY NATURE HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABLE TO STRIKE A NERVE, HOLDING DOWN THEIR TRUE IDENTITY WHILE TAKING IT TO MAINSTREAM NOTORIETY WITHOUT HAVING THEIR GHETTO PASSES REVOKED. TWENTY YEARS AFTER O.P.P. STICKERED THE CHARTS, THE NEW ALBUM ANTHEM INC. IS SET TO CEMENT THEM REAL RAP iiCONS. VINROCK TALKS TO RIP NICHOLSON.

19_Naughty_III

VINROCK interviewed @ 09.20 AEST – Thursday Aug 25, 2011
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press

Words by RIP NICHOLSON

[Full Q & A below]

Naughty By Nature went back to their gully, Illtown roots of New Jersey to shoot the video for a new single, but as Vinnie ‘Vin Rock’ Brown explains, they never left. Now fresh from a tour with Redman and Method Man stretching from France to Brasil (and Australia this month), the hardcore hip hop trio feel as young as ever on stage.

We been movin’ around so much lately. I can’t even tell,” Brown comments on the group reaching the age of fathers to some of today’s top hip hop talents. “We all still young and very youthful and we’re out there working on stage, jumping around and burnin’ them calories.” Retiring is not in the sums for Brown, either. “It’s just that in our culture where we have ageism running wild. But, the reality is do you wanna listen to a 21 year old for your whole life when you’re a forty and fifty year old? Or would you rather have your peer that you grew up on, still catering to your demographic?”

Recently, Naughty By Nature became part of the revitalisation of the original 90’s boy band movement which involved New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys on tour together last year. The mega-hit ‘Hip Hop Hooray’ has marked the New Jersey group as being early catalysts in the coexistence of hardcore rap and pop in the music charts, and Naughty By Nature was added as special guests to the bill. The screaming fans on tour welcomed the nostalgic throwback to one of hip hop’s early pop scores, just as Brown thought it was a clever idea from the NKOTB front man to invite them.

“Donnie Wahlberg was on the money on that call. He wanted us to come down to the Radio City Music Hall last year. We showed up and they called Backstreet and they showed up and from there he was able to put together the New Kids From The Black Street Boys tour. We have done dates with them back in the day and i think it was a brilliant call for Donnie to call us out, man. It was a great audience and we learned a lot from how [Donnie] deals with his fan base and we still on the lot – twenty years later.”

Such long service has only increased their credentials further and in a fickle industry that can close a career with one bad record, such esteemed recognition can sometimes falter expectations on veterans, but Brown shrugs off any such weight on his shoulders. “We have no real pressure and we don’t have to live up to those legacies. We just did it and the accolades came along with it. So we take it like, ‘hey we won this for hip hop.’ We doin’ this for a lot of the people and whatever is whatever on the back end, you know?”

“No matter if we live in L.A., if you’re active with your people, with your community period, you’ll always get love. You could still live right in the bowels of where you grew up and have people that hate you and wanna blow your head off, you know?”

No matter the awards cabinet being full or empty, around the world, through the medium of real hip hop music their legendary status is understood, as is the sentiment behind their classic records over a 20-year stretch. Brown insists that regardless of where they play, language holds no barriers.

“A lot of places we go the people don’t speak the language, fluently but they understand what the music is saying through hip hop and they understand what the record is saying and the meaning. So, although they can’t have a conversation with you, I’d say they’re definitely hearing everything we’re saying. Hanging out with Redman, we did Paris with him, and then we just did Sao Paulo, Brasil. We did that with Redman and Method Man and it was good seeing those guys.”

Back at what they do best, Naughty By Nature are returning with their 6th album, Anthem Inc.- the 20th anniversary collector’s edition. The album will be the first studio release from the rap trio since their ‘Jamboree’ and ‘Holiday’ hits album, Nineteen Naughty Nine: Nature’s Furyback when Kay Gee disbanded from the trio, citing financial disputes with lead MC, Treach. Since then, Naughty’s Vin Rock and Treach have gone on to release 2006’s IIcons without their original producer. Despite it doing reasonably well compared to the last, the album went without any radio play or notable singles, and many true fans felt disconnected from the signature Naughty By Nature they came to expect from the grimy hood-rap act. 2011’sAnthems Inc. will be produced, as it should be, entirely by Kay Gee, who returned to the group in 2006. Having their DJ/producer back, the original sound of Naughty By Nature promises to be the very same hot potato that they rapped about on 19 Naughty III.

“What we did was we re-recorded about six of our classics – ‘Jamboree’, ‘O.P.P.’, ‘Hip Hop Hooray’, you know,” says Brown, rattling off their many classic hits. The reproductions will strip the samples and tweak new life into them. “Then the other half of it is all brand new material so um, I believe we’ve just identified the first single off the album and we’re prepping for a video. It’s called the ‘Perfect Party’ it’s one of those classic Naughty By Nature feelgood summer party records.”

The recent video for ‘Gotta Lotta’ has their image stripped down to Timbs, Naughty-logo hoodies and chain remains, banging out rhymes on their stomping grounds of Illtown – East Orange, NJ to be precise. However, the new uptown anthem is not a homecoming of any sorts, but a typical summer day on the block, explains Brown.

“We are still based in the same area and we hang around the same guys we grew up with. And we’re active around the way like a lot of our friends, their kids play little league baseball in the same park we grew up on, Oval Park. So when we shot that video last summer it was based on hanging out in the neighbourhood. So it’s not like we’ve been gone for 20 years and we’re just coming back for old time’s sake. We’ve never lost our bases.

“But, no matter if we live in L.A.,if you’re active with your people, with your community period, you’ll always get love. You could still live right in the bowels of where you grow up and have people that hate you and blow your head off, you know?” he snickers.

[Full Q & A below]

east_broadbeach_gold_coast-560x784

NaughtyByNature - Drum [Oct 11]

A Conversation With VIN-ROCK

Naughty By Nature went back to their gully, Illtown roots of New Jersey to shoot the video for a new single, but as Vinnie ‘Vin Rock’ Brown explains, they never left. Now fresh from a tour with Redman and Method Man stretching from France to Brasil (and Australia this month), the hardcore hip hop trio feel as young as ever on stage.

RIP – 20 years in the game now! Congratulations. Are you guys feeling that legacy on your shoulders now?

VINROCK – We been movin’ around so much lately… i can’t even tell. We all still young and very youthful and we’re out there working on stage, jumping around and burnin’ them calories.

Does it put pressure on your new work?

Yeah, I believe that we have no real pressure and we don’t have to live up to those legacies. We just did it and the accolades came along with it. So we take it like, ‘hey we won this for hip hop.’ We doin’ this for a lot of the people and whatever is whatever on the back end, you know?

Recently, you performed with New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys. Along with those two acts, ‘Hip Hop Hooray’ marks a period in popular music, that must feel pretty special for you guys?

Donnie Wahlberg was on the money on that call. He wanted us to come down to the Radio City Music Hall which was last year. We showed up and they called Backstreet and they showed up and from there he was able to put together the New Kids From The Black Street Boys tour. We have done dates with them back in the day, and i think it was a brilliant call for Donnie to call us out, man. it was a great audience and we learned a lot from how (Donnie) deals with his fan base and we still on the lot – 20 years later.

With Redman in Paris – that sounds more like your kinda crowd. How do you like the international shows, do you feel that you’re rapping in a language that everybody understands with your hip hop?

A lot of places we go the people don’t speak the language, fluently. but they understand what the music is saying through hip hop and they understand what the record is saying and the meaning.  So, although they can’t have a conversation with you, I’d say they definitely hearing everything we’re saying. Hanging out with Redman, we did Paris with him, and then we just did, Sao Paulo Brasil was it?” he thinks hard, like it wasn’t just last week. “I believe it was Sao Paulo, Brasil – we did that with Redman and Method Man and it was good seeing those guys.

Apart from KayGee producing outside the group, you and Treach never felt the urge to do other projects, solo records?

Treach works around the way with a group called Garden State Greats featuring a bunch of underground Jersey MCs and we put out a mixtape download around this time last year. And he’s working on a solo record right now, too. So when it comes to new direction he’s definitely the one to branch out to do more future solo projects.

naughty-by-nature-juan-epstein-interview-lead

New album, Anthem Inc – what can you tell us about it?

Well, we have the 20th anniversary collector’s edition. What we did was we re-recorded  about six of our classics – ‘Jamboree’, ‘O.P.P.’, ‘Hip Hop Hooray’ you know. What we’re doing is stripping all the samples out and we’re putting a new twist to ‘em, so lyrically the same content but a different performance and twist on the production. We did it for creative purposes and we did it for business. Now we own the master recording and when it comes to film and TV placement we’ll be the ones managing that. Then the other half of it is all brand new material so um, i believe we’ve just identified the first single off the album and we’re prepping for a video. It’s called the ‘Perfect Party’ it’s one of those classic Naughty By Nature feel-good summer party records.

KayGee will produce the new tracks for the album?

Yeah, everything will be KayGee and his production team’s

‘I Gotta Lotta’ is that the new song from the album?

Yes and it will be included on the album.

You went back to East Orange and got real gully on that video. Did it bring you back to your beginnings?

Yes definitely and again we still based in the same area and we hang around the same guys we grew up with. And we’re active around the way like a lot of and a lot of our friends, there kids play little league baseball in the same park we grew up on, Oval Park. So when we shot that video last summer it was based on being around in the neighbourhood. So it’s not like we been gone for 20 years and we’re just coming back for old time’s sake. We’ve never lost our bases.

pictured you guys living up in Manhattan or maybe Connecticut?

We definitely live in nice places but it’s still in Jersey, you know. We’re 15 minutes from our old neighbourhood. And no matter if we live in L.A. if you active with your people, with your community period, you’ll always get love. You could live right in the bowels of where you grow up and have people that hate you and blow your head off, you know?” he jokes, with a snicker.

You guys put out an anti-gang violence video, with Ice-T recently. What compelled you to send this message out now?

Well in order to do this we knew we wanted to move into more television and film products so that was an incredible record and we knew we could create a great visual for it. And the point was to shoot it in a movie style in the hopes of getting a full feature film out of it. So that’s what happened, plus you know it’s a powerful message. So once we shot the video and came up with the project we knew we could shoot the film. And actually, that’s what we’re working on now. Shakim and Queen Latifah’s flavor Unit have a slot for us to do a feature film so we’re working on that right now.

missed you on that track, man.

I know, well I’ve never really been the MC. Treach has always been the MC and there was a verse open for me but i said you know what, Treach we need to finish that. And on our 20th anniversary album we wanna show everybody that Treach is really one of the GOATs of the game, you know? For me, i tell people all the time, being a writer, or even a producer or a musician that’s a gift, you know? So i appreciate KayGee and Treach’s gifts but I’ve always been a writer.

Part of the problem in the game of hip hop is anyone can pick up a mic and rhyme and everybody think they got beats,  it’s not that they shouldn’t attempt it but, a lot of people do it from a place like, oh I’m doing this to get paid and rarely understand that being that talented, you know it’s a gift. And if you should share it with the world then it should be from that space, not to get paid off it

With over 20 years, do you feel your age in the game now? Is there a retirement to Naughty By Nature, or can you grow old on stage?

I think so, as long as you stay active and remain interesting. I think a lot of rock guys do it, Jams Brown did it, look at what the Rolling Stones are doing, Paul McCartney. And i one of the guys at the forefront of sustaining in the game is Jay-Z he’s 40-41 now and he could be on stage at 50 years old and still rhyming. It’s just that in our culture where we have ageism running wild. But, the reality is do you wanna listen to a 21 year old for your whole life when you’re a 40 and 50 year old? Or would you rather have your peer that you grew up on still catering to your demographic?

When is Naughty By Nature venturing down to Australia, next?

I believe we’ll be coming down in October. We’re doing Japan and coming down after that I believe.

 Naughty-by-Nature-2-TourRouting-Dot-Com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s