Naughty By Nature's distinctive rhymer Treach has used his group's popularity to venture into other artistic areas. Treach's looks and charisma have made him a successful actor and model. His most recent film appearance was in a 1997 cable TV production, "First Time Felon."
Treach was born Anthony Criss 28 years ago today in East Orange, N.J. Along with fellow rapper Vinnie and DJ Kay Gee, Treach formed Naughty By Nature in 1986. The group recorded its song "O.P.P." in 1989, but it was unable to get a record company interested. The group soon met rapper Queen Latifah at a party, and she liked Naughty By Nature's sound enough to sign the group to her Flavor Unit Management Company and bring it to the attention of Tommy Boy Records.
Tommy Boy issued Naughty By Nature's 1991 self-titled debut, which featured "O.P.P." (RealAudio excerpt). The track, which mixed rap with samples from the Jackson 5's "A.B.C.," shot to #6 on Billboard magazine's Hot 100 and #5 on its R&B chart. Although supposedly meaning "other people's property," the lyrics of the record show one "P" stands for "penis" or "pu---."
The second single from Naughty By Nature's top-20 debut, "Ghetto Bastard," was retitled "Everything's Gonna Be Alright" for radio. The group also contributed "Ghetto Anthem" to the soundtrack to the movie "Juice."
The top-5 19 Naughty III followed in 1993, with the top-10 hit "Hip Hop Hooray." Spike Lee directed the cut's video and Naughty By Nature performed it in the film "Who's the Man?" (in which Treach acted). Treach also appeared in the 1994 movie "Jason's Lyric."
Poverty's Paradise (1995) made the top-5 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, but it was not as well regarded by critics as its predecessors. Naughty By Nature also contributed "Mourn You 'Till I Join You" to the I-95 soundtrack.
Last year, Treach and Vinnie were charged with illegal possession of a weapon, while driving in Harlem, N.Y. Treach also was charged with unlawfully wearing a body vest. The rappers maintained they were carrying pistols to protect themselves from death threats they'd received. They each were released on $1,000 bail.
Treach, who also has directed music videos, such as Zhane's "Hey, Mr. DJ," has said of his acting career: "I don't want to be stereotyped as the typical, so-called 'rap actor.' I'm looking to also play characters that aren't gangstas. I know I have a long way to go, but I'm sure I can do it."
Other birthdays: Roebuck "Pops" Staples (the Staples), 83; Tom McGuinness (Manfred Mann), 57; Dave Munden (Tremeloes), 55; and Rick Savage (Def Leppard), 38.