You Down with O.P.P.?
Naughty by Nature was everyone’s favorite hardcore rap trio that landed big, catchy hits time and time again. MS Treach, Vinnie and DJ Kay Gee met in high school and started throwing down at talent shows until like NJ-native Queen Latifah discovered them and knew from the first moment that they were a gold mine.
Their self-titled debut album was released in 1991 and was an immediate Top Ten hit (remember O.P.P., I know you do). Their 1993 follow-up album, 19 Naughty III, was another smash hit (“Hip Hop Hooray”) and hit the Top Five, then went platinum.
Poverty’s Paradise was their last big album of the 90s. PP won a Grammy for Best Rap Album, but didn’t deliver the unforgettable anthems they were known for. The group took a hiatus, and most of us haven’t heard much of them since. But a lot has gone down for MS Treach, Vinnie and DJ Kay Gee and we’ve got all the deets of where the fiery trio is now.
Born Anthony Criss, we know this MC as Treach. Treach came up in East Orange, New Jersey where he met Vin Rock and DJ Kay Gee. He was the leader of the trio as they formed and performed. The frontman was the most prominent and often sole rapper, especially in earlier songs like “O.P.P.” and “Ghetto Bastard.”
As the group got bigger, he began to share the front of the stage with Vin Rock, and, then, famously married Sandra Denton better known as “Pepa” of Salt-n-Pepa. In addition to music, Treach had dreams of acting.
Treach did get his acting career going. He has a laundry list of small roles in TV and film, including a recurring role in HBO’s OZ. He showed up in Law & Order a few times (though who hasn’t), did you spot him? More recently he had a guest cameo in Love & Hip Hop.
He and Denton had a child named Egypt, who is currently working her way into the music industry. Unfortunately, Treach and Pepa divorced in 2001. In 2014, he got into a high-speed chase with the police, which lead to his arrest. He was released on a $15,000 bail and continues to pursue acting. He was most recently seen performing at this year’s VMAs.
Kay Gee: Before
Kay Gee, born Keir Lamont Gist, was Naughty by Nature’s backbeat. He was the DJ that set the table for Treach and Vinnie to perform to, without which, they would have been nothing. His signature beats and now-old-school record scratching became a staple of the industry.
He met Treach and Vinnie in school in New Jersey, but his parents were from the South. He recalls taking family trips in the summer time where they would drive south:
“My father would just play his tapes all the way on the long ride down there, the 12-14 hour drive, he would just play all of the classics. That introduced me to music from there from Sam Cooke to Marvin Gayne to The Sound of Philadelphia to Teddy Pendergrass to Luther Vandross to the Jackson 5, everybody. He would play all of the records. I just learned those records growing up.”