Naughty by Nature
Revolution Live, Fort Lauderdale
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Expecting spontaneous freestyles, special guests and tons of new material at a Naughty by Nature show? After a 15-year wait since my last opportunity to see the New Jersey rap act who got big via heavy MTV rotation of "O.P.P." and "Hip Hop Hooray," I wasn't either. Judging by online accounts like this one circulating about recent performances, Treach, Vinnie, and KayGee have their current set list programmed down to the second, and it's tight. Nothing less (or more) should be expected from three guys who each have two-plus decades of experience as performers.
That said, the current crop of hip-hop fans might not appreciate a show
that felt more like a truncated, 45-minute party performance than an
anything-goes, bang-out rap concert. Treach, donning shades, got the
relatively small crowd moving immediately, with most of "O.P.P." leading
off the show. "Most of" would set the tone for the rest of the night.
Medleys and interludes, and snippets of the back catalog kept the tempo
moving. With Vinnie backing him up, Treach gave short but convincing
runs through "Uptown Anthem" and "Craziest."
As showmen, Naughty by Nature did build a decent party atmosphere and
even called out Haitian-Creole greeting "sak pase" to the crowd.
However, at a certain point, the whole evening hit the Hot Tub Time
Machine. Just as many songs by other hip-hop artists who hit it big
on the pop charts -- DMX, Kanye West, and 2Pac -- figured into the set.
In what seemed like an instant, Treach tore off his wife-beater, poured
out some Henny for 2Pac, and "Hip Hop Hooray" closed it out.
If newish, slinky single "Get to Know Me Better"
is any indication, Naughty by Nature could have some decent material on
their hands for a long-awaited comeback album, Anthem Inc.,
(maybe) this summer. Although, if they want a new generation to get to
know them, they should stick to performing more of their own, arguably solid, material.
P.S. Now I have two Naughty by Nature tickets, one redeemed.