We’ve seen it all before when a group or band gets reunited specifically for an anniversary tour. They usually haven’t written any new material for years and certainly wouldn’t have done much in the live performances department recently either. And whilst there’s that element of excitement that one of your old favourite bands has made the big announcement to tour, you can’t help but wonder if the gig is just going to be one huge flop.
I must admit – I was definitely thinking the same for Naughty by Nature. Bursting with enthusiasm to see the trio live and relive those 90’s memories, there was a big part of me that was hoping it wouldn’t be a let down.
But Naughty by Nature wasn’t one of those groups you wished hadn’t gotten back together. Returning to Australia as part of their 25th Anniversary tour, the Astor Theatre in Mt Lawley came alive with old-school hip hop beats and a killer fan-based crowd that were more than ready to get their groove on. And it didn’t even come close to being a let down.
The vibe was set with supports from DJ Slick and DJ Skobby who warmed the crowd up with some classic hip hop tracks. Perfect for getting everyone amped, the crowd were treated to a typical flavoured soundtrack on the decks with Notorious B.I.G, Grandmaster Flash and even a super funky rendition of The Fresh Prince of Belair theme song. By this stage the d-floor was really starting to heat up.
But nothing could’ve quite prepared you for the explosive entry from Naughty by Nature. The man responsible for their sound, super producer DJ Kay Gee was on stage first to spin some beats and you knew the remaining two weren’t far off. Next thing you know; Naughty by Nature’s MCs Treach and Vin Rock came out to their time-honoured hit O.P.P and everyone just lost their shit. What a start to the show!
I definitely didn’t expect to see them perform their most popular song first – but boy was it good to get the fans lapping up the vibe. The hype and energy in the room was simple contagious with the New Jersey trio working the crowd hard. Cruising through a few hip hop classics, they busted out Clap Yo Hands and Guard Your Grill, as well as a few other crowd favourites. Whilst their vocals could’ve been turned up a lot louder, these boys certainly know how to put on a show.
Naughty by Nature’s set incorporated a few covers too, including DMX Party Up which had all hands in the air and Snoop Dogg’s Gin and Juice for all the true hip hop fans. A special rendition of Land Down Under also went off with Vin Rock and Treach giving shoutouts to Perth amplifying the support for the Aussie By Nature tour.
Between tracks Vin Rock asked the crowd how many people had seen Naughty by Nature live previously. There was a huge roar from fans before he went onto point out those 80’s and 90’s ‘kids’. It was their interaction fuelled by those hit anthems that evidently got you reminiscing those 90’s hip hop days.
But for the really old school fans out there, Treach made a point of taking the audience back in time to the Golden Era of hip hop with their 1991 hit Everything’s Gonna Be Alright before shooting forward in time to their 1999 album Nineteen Naughty Nine with Jamboree.
The trio kept the party going – still bursting with energy and ultra-cool charisma, with a track off their Grammy award-winning Poverty’s Paradise, Feel Me Flow. The finale went off with a bang as they wrapped up the show with the classic hit Hip Hop Hooray – a 1993 anthem that forever cemented the group in pop-culture. And just when you thought it couldn’t get much better, Vin Rock and Treach encouraged a good part of the crowd up on stage to chant the last of the lyrics with a last rush of intensity, good vibes and one hell of a dance party.
Between spitting out timeless rhymes and busting out moves, Naughty By Nature would have to be one of the most solid breakout acts in hip hop. Initially mentored by the Queen of Hip Hop herself, Queen Latifah, it’s no wonder these guys have been crowned the legendary giants of their genre. And still, 25 years on, their credibility as a hip hop powerhouse has certainly earned them a reputation as one of the premier live hip hop groups of all time.
Photo Credits: Special thanks to Matt at Krüeger Imaging. For more Naughty By Nature gig photos, check out the Toward Music gallery.