INTERVIEW WITH NAUGHTY BY NATURE: 25TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR (2016)
Grammy Award winning, platinum-selling hip-hop trio Naughty By Nature are back in full force, announcing their 25th Anniversary Tour that is set to hit 26 major cities across the U.S. in 2016. Comprised of New Jersey natives Vin Rock, Treach and DJ Kay Gee, Naughty By Nature took the hip-hop scene by storm in 1991 with the release of their debut album. Since then, the group has maintained an undeniable track record — creating hits and party anthems that have become the soundtrack to our lives.
Naughty By Nature is also set to release a new EP and documentary in 2016 as part of the 25th Anniversary celebration. The American leg of their tour will be kicking off on January 27th in Greensboro, NC. The tour will hit Austin on Thursday, February 4th with a performance at Empire Control Room.
When asked about celebrating 25 years of their career as a trio, Naughty By Nature said: “We’re recording a new project, got that classic merchandise, we are a legendary brand and group. We put on one of the best live shows in the business, and after 25 years we are still here!”
Naughty By Nature: Vin Rock, Treach, and DJ Kay Gee
We recently interviewed Vin Rock to preview the 25th Anniversary tour and their trip to Austin.
Do512: I’m really interested in the reunion and the new EP. What would you say it means for Naughty By Nature to still be going after 25 years?
Vin Rock: Wow. Yeah, being together for 25 years — it’s more like 30, like 30 or more years if you count the pre-Naughty days. But it’s been a hell of a journey, man. Blood, sweat and tears. For the most part we pretty much got off easy, man, compared to what happens or what could happen in 25 years. So at the end of the day, we definitely feel blessed to be celebrating this silver anniversary. To this day, I still don’t know where all this time went! [laughs] It doesn’t feel that long.
Do512: From your recent tour dates, it looks like you’ve been all around the world. Like in New Zealand — has it been all business, or have you guys been having a lot of fun?
Vin Rock: Yeah! Definitely, we have fun out there. Of course we had some hiccups and terminal issues a couple of years ago, but as brothers do man — you know, we settled our differences and I think we’ve been goin’ out there for each show run in Australia, and New Zealand, kind of really solidified we’re really blessed to have each other.
Vin Rock: What we have is really special. Like, beyond the music or whatever, we’re brothers! We’ve been together since we were teenagers, like since ‘83 you know? You only get one lifetime, you only get ‘X’ amount of good friends and people in your life. So, we definitely have to count our blessings because of that.
Do512: For sure. So, you’ve been on the road lately — has there been any new writing come about?
Vin Rock: Yeah we’re just starting that process right now. As a matter of fact, December 2nd was Treach’s birthday, and he wanted to start his birthday at 11 a.m. in the studio with Kay Gee and Vin so that’s what we did — December 2nd we were in there, pulling up tracks, and we had lining up ideas, and concepts and stuff we want to knock out for this new EP. So it’s definitely gonna to be a good thing, it’s been a while since we really focused on studio, you know? I think the people deserve a nice musical project from us and so we’re going to give it to them.
Do512: That’s amazing to hear, I’m super stoked and know everyone else is too. Some of your work is really pioneering and stands the test of time. What do you think helps your music stand the test of time?
Vin Rock: Well, I think maybe the concept. For starters with ‘OPP’ we had a familiar track in there, you know Michael Jackson ‘ABC’ track, and then something people weren’t doing at the time — really sampling Michael Jackson. And then the content of ‘OPP’ — other people’s property — infidelity has been going on since humans, you know? I think that content helped out a lot and the question, “You down with OPP?” To this day people are still tryna to break down what this really means, you know? [laughs]
Vin Rock: And then with another one, like ‘Hip-Hop Hooray’, once we did surface and kind of blew up with ‘OPP’ our next single, our first single on our next album gave props to our forefathers, and the people who paved the way for us. It wasn’t like we came out with this attitude, you know — unlike most artists today — once they break, nothin’ came before ‘em nothin’ came after ‘em. So I think a lot of our peers and forefathers saw that, we gave them props with ‘Hip-Hop Hooray’. And you know, it just helps people cheer lead you on in a sense.
Do512: Speaking of modern rap, and modern hip-hop — you talk about OPP — it seems like some of this stuff being released now, it’s — you know they’re the victim. It just doesn’t have that energy. What do you make of the modern hip-hop landscape, and do you think guys in our generation pay enough respect to the guys that came before them, like you?
Vin Rock: I think first of all, a lot of our kids — they just don’t know, and being ignorant in that sense. Like, they don’t know shit. They don’t study American History or World History. Let alone this Hip-Hop Culture. So, I think we’re in a very selfish time and age right now. And it’s reflecting in today’s music, it’s reflecting in today’s actions such as Social Media. I just think it speaks to the times that we have right now.
Do512: I agree, and I think about like when that Missy Elliot video dropped a few weeks ago I thought, “Awe shit! This is the kind of stuff I fell in love with.” It seems like it’s been internalized, and maybe interpreted in a different way than maybe it used to.
Do512: Not to get off track here, I guess I want to know what we can expect from you guys here in Austin, and do you have maybe some great memories in Austin you can share with us?
Vin Rock: Well, I know South By Southwest is down there and we’ve never been to South By Southwest. Nothing in particular comes to mind because I think the landscape has changed — when we first came out in the early ‘90s, the Texas market was huge for us. And this is one of the reasons why we want to come back into the market and stimulate it again.
Vin Rock: But I guess with all these regional acts, and the landscape of Southern Hip-Hop, there wasn’t as much of a need, a lot of local artists got those props. So that means we’re looking forward to getting back into the market, showin’ ‘em what we brought to the table and how we brought it to the table, especially with the live show. And just basically, with all of our travels and with us being focused right now, no matter what today’s landscape is right now there’s a wide open lane for us to bring our style and our brand of hip-hop to the table. And we could definitely make an impact.
Vin Rock: On top of that, we definitely want to thank all of the people for 25 years of love and support! And we look forward to givin’ ’em 25 more years, because hip-hop is timeless, man! We’re gonna help prove that.
Do512: If there’s anything else you can share with us about your EP or what else we can expect, now’s your time to shoot, but we’re super glad to hear from you and we’re super stoked for your show here in February.
Vin Rock: Yeah, definitely man. We’re just now gettin’ started on the EP, so we just sent out a treat, we’re gonna shoot a video for this song, “God Is Us” that we have featuring Queen Latifah, so we’re gonna give back to The People while we knock out this tour and while we develop this EP, but it’s definitely gonna be heat rocks, man, definitely.
Don’t miss Naughty By Nature’s upcoming performance in Austin at Empire Control Room on Thursday, February 4th. Tickets are on sale now. You can also enter to win tickets on Do512. For more information visit: http://naughtybynature.com.