Naughty By Nature Cultivate Garden State Greats

Official release to follow mixtape introducing more than 30 unsigned

SANTA MONICA, California — Unsigned rappers from all over New Jersey are singing, “Hooray! Ho!”

Naughty by Nature, one of New Jersey’s most successful hip-hop
exports, have recorded more than 30 local rappers they hope will further put the
state on the rap map.

The Garden State Greats, as they are collectively called, have already
hit the mixtape circuit on an eponymous 40-song CD and DVD expected to
be released officially early this year.

Treach, who co-produced The Garden State Greats with fellow
Naughty by Nature member Vinnie, says the idea came from Fam, a member
of Naughty touring partners Rottin Razkals. “He was like, ’Yo, there’s
so much heat in Jersey right now, but it’s so hard to get out in the
music industry. We need to use our juice and put it all together on one
project. No discrimination, as long as they’re from Jersey.’ ”

Each track on the double album features a different unreleased artist,
including DTH Mob, Larry-O and Haz the Rippa. Treach and Vinnie appear
only as producers.

“We picked the hottest songs and gave everyone the opportunity to get
out there and tear something up,” Treach said.

The DVD includes two videos, production footage and studio outtakes,
said Vinnie, who manages the Garden State Greats’ business.

Treach, meanwhile, is finishing a solo album, beginning another Naughty
by Nature record and expanding his film career. He has four movies due
in 2004 — “The Orphan King,” “Playas Ball,” “Face” and “Smooth
’Till the Game is Dead” — and is talking with former manager
Queen Latifah about a starring project for her production company.

“We’re looking at some scripts for the next year,” he said. “We’re gonna put out three to four a year, even if it’s just independent.”

As for his solo project, tentatively titled Odiology, Treach
would like to collaborate with friends from the hip-hop community
— but doesn’t count on it.

“A lot of people see you, shake your hand, say we’re gonna make it happen, but never make it happen,” he said. “Whoever comes to the studio, that’s the one that’s gonna be on our album.”

Naughty by Nature’s last album, 2002’s Iicons, featured
Pink, Method Man and 3LW (see “Treach Calls Naughty By Nature’s Track
With Pink ’A Smoker’ “