Naughty By Nature Speak on ‘Ageism’ in Hip-Hop
While some artists refuse to accept the changing times and the signs of wrinkles, rap trio Naughty By Nature welcome both with open arms. Treach, Vin Rock and DJ Kay Gee are well-aware of the fact that they are no longer young superstars, but that hasn’t stopped their will to succeed.
Since the rap group formed in 1989, they’ve witnessed many changes in the hip-hop landscape. One of the most astounding advancements being the emergence of social media platforms. “Last year with Facebook and Twitter, we really anchored on to social media as an outlet,” Vin Rock reveals. “We’ve had our first website up since 1996, and we stayed online with this thing the whole time. It’s very important to us. Right now, we’re getting the most important impact from people globally and a lot of people might not hear our records on the radio a million times a day, but [they] definitely [hear them] online.”
Naughty By Nature’s work ethic has earned the group the title of hip-hop icons. As 40-something rappers, they feel with age comes experience and a number does nothing to define their creative spirit. As long as there’s a warm reception from fans, celebrating another year older is no reason to put down the mic.
“I just think a lot of people are paranoid about age; ageism is big in hip-hop,” says Vin Rock. “As artists and business people, you shouldn’t be pigeon-holed in any given thing. Look at the growth of Queen Latifah and Will Smith… As artists you can do music, you can do television and film, you can do business ventures like you see Diddy and Jay-Z doing. So for people that get paranoid, some of your hottest rappers today are in the mid-30’s when people [used] to say once you’re 30 years old you shouldn’t be rapping.”
Treach also had similar sentiments to share. “Truthfully, some of the artists out there lose their love for it as they get older in the game and they don’t have that hunger and that fight [anymore],” he continues. “So they feel like they can’t keep up. In my book, it’s like this: Keep doing it until you know you’re wack. Good music is good music. If you keep throwing it at ’em and keep feeding the people, they gonna appreciate it and respect it.”