Naughty By Nature's Vin Rock on the Right to Bear Arms: "Along Comes the KKK with Guns, and All You Had Was a Bat?"
Who down with O.P.P.? Everybody.
For over 20 years now, Naughty By Nature has been touring the world off the strength of that crossover hit on its first album.
Now fully independent, with new album Anthem Inc in stores, and an upcoming show at LIV, we here at Crossfade caught up with Vin Rock to talk New Kids on the Block, assault weapons, and taking fans to King of Diamonds.
Congratulations on 20 years. That's a real accomplishment in music or any industry.
Awhright. It's been a long time, but it's been great.
What is Naughty Kids on the Block?
It's just a collaboration with us and Donnie Wahlberg. Around 2010, Donnie called us out to make a surprise appearance during a New Kids on the Block set. The marketer in me thought of combining our logos. I showed up in the Naughty Kids on the Block t-shirt and their fan base took to it and so it's kind of got a life of its own.
Has anybody given you shit for it?
We're comfortable in our skin. Like, if you too nervous in yourself or insecure, then you ain't gonna get it. But Naughty By Nature toured with Marky Mark back in the day, and with New Kids, we have a rougher edge, but we also got "Hip Hop Hooray," "Feel Me Flow," and that lends itself to the more crossover and pop side. When you nervous in yourself, you don't succeed. You got to believe in your fanbase. We always kept a real rapport with the guys. They're real hip-hop fans, and for them to reach out to us is a huge thing, and we're learning a lot from those guys, and the way they engage their fanbase.
What is your history with Miami?
It's been incredible. We used to do all the spring break parties in Daytona Beach. And after that, we would come down to Miami and get on South Beach and jet ski. Miami has always been a big market for us too. We toured a lot down there when 2 Live Crew was around, when "O.P.P." was red hot. I remember Luke brought us down there to his club, right there when you come over the bridge, we did "O.P.P." and the whole set. The whole crowd, they were like, "Bring out the girls!!!" and banging on the stage. I remember too, he had some of the best shrimp there I ever had in my life.
Sak Pase to the Haitians?
Sak Pase all the Haitians. We're from New Jersey and in my high school in the '80s, there was a heavy Haitian population. People used to tease the Haitians and say they smell, but I made friends with them. Some of my best friends to this day -- Oreo, Enoch, Reynaldo Vital. We had Wyclef and the whole Basement movement. And fast-forward to today, they been biggin' up the Haitians and DJ Whoo Kid. Now everybody wanna claim they Haitian.
What do you think about assault weapons in the streets?
It's a tricky situation, man. 'Cause we do have a lot of kids getting murdered on the streets. The inner-city areas suffer the most. I don't think it's a problem with gun control, but the mentality of the people. Some of them got mental problems. But I believe in protecting yourself. Back in the day, you could be in your own house and along comes the KKK with guns, and all you had was a bat? I believe that with gun control could there could be a bigger ploy at play to disarm Americans period.
What is your label situation now?
We're totally independent. We're self contained. We have a booking agent, management, viral video guys. We have website developers. That's the infrastructure. That's the team. Nowadays, you are the label, and you can operate as a label if you assemble the right team. Artists don't realize, they still cryin' and complaining. But for us, we're international, and we have have a lot of allies.
I saw something you did called a Tunezy Music experience?
That was incredible. Tunezy is a partner we have, a company in Toronto, Canada, and we have 360 deals getting in with artists and experiences around touring. We knew we had a big show up there. So we had a private steakhouse dinner with a merch pack, a meet-and-greet, and an afterparty. You could buy pieces or the total. The first one was a definite success, and a good creative way to engage fans.
So if you did a VIP fan experience in Miami with Naughty By Nature, what would it be?
We would do something with the Heat and King of Diamonds. And you got all that water, so we could do a yacht or something sexy. Miami's a beautiful playground.
Naughty by Nature. Wednesday, March 6. LIV Nightclub, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami. The party starts at 11 p.m. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-674-4680 or visit livnightclub.com.
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