Naughty By Nature Ring In The New Year: Wake-Up Video

When people discuss the best rap groups of all time, they usually bring up a handful of early adopters (Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Sugarhill Gang), some true gate-crashing visionaries (Run-DMC, Public Enemy) and a convention-defying collective or two (Wu-Tang Clan, OFWGKTA). Rarely do they bring up Naughty By Nature, but the group totally deserves a mention among the rest of those names. Like the game-changers of the late ’80s, Naughty By Nature managed to wed the worlds of hardcore rap and pop music for a fusion that became the absolute standard for rap music moving forward. Along the way, they notched a healthy roster of mainstream hits, and on this day in 1993, they released their second album 19 Naughty III, as strong a hip-hop album as you could find in the pre-Puffy ’90s.

Following the success of the group’s 1991 self-titled debut (which contained the crossover top 10 smash “O.P.P.”), Treach, Vin Rock and DJ Kay Gee returned to the studio to produce a second full-length that more thoroughly showed off their skills. The finished product is best known for the pop smash “Hip Hop Hooray” (which has a much more rugged lyric sheet than the chorus would suggest), but the deep cuts on 19 Naughty III make it a keeper.

It was a particularly great showcase for Treach, whose bouncy, deceptively speedy flow lend a sense of electric urgency to most of the tracks, highlighted by the punchy “The Hood Comes First” and the cheeky “Written On Ya Kitten.” But “It’s On” remains an unheralded gem, featuring one of Kay Gee’s greatest productions.