‘O.P.P.,’ Naughty by Nature

The cover of Naughty by Nature's 1991 hit, "O.P.P."

The cover of Naughty by Nature’s 1991 hit, “O.P.P.”

I’ve already included Naughty by Nature’s “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” in the 350 Jersey Songs series. And while there is more substance to that song than there is to “O.P.P.,” the latter was the East Orange group’s breakthrough, its biggest hit, and the one that, ultimately, most people are going to remember them by.

Its got several things that made people stand up and listen, in 1991 — risqué lyrics (about cheating), frontman Treach’s commanding delivery, a brilliant sample of The Jackson 5’s “ABC” — plus the video had a dark, gritty ambiance that surely boosted its popularity in ’91, when gangsta-rap was at or near its peak (other albums that came out that year included NWA’s Efil4zaggin, Ice Cube’s Death Certificate and Ice-T’s O.G. Original Gangster). Also, the fact that the group never spells out, in the song, what “O.P.P.” stands for, got people talking. (The official explanation was “other people’s property,” though no one really believed that.)

Check out the video below.

“Naughty by Nature” was a No. 6 hit, and was nominated for a Grammy in the Rap Duo or Group category, where it lost to DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince’s “Summertime.”

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.


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