LIVE: Hot 97 Presents Naughty By Nature – “Hip Hop Hooray” Tour · Gramercy Theatre, New York, NY

On the first night of their “Hip Hop Hooray” tour Naughty By Nature hit the stage a little after 11pm. The ageless duo of Treach and Vinnie worked the crowd like seasoned MC’s while Kay Gee played the beats; they kept the energy high while working through favorites like “OPP”. While it was a great performance you couldn’t help but feel that they rushed through the first half of their set (and for good reason).  The tour has been marketed as a greatest hit set but it turned out to be guest filled tribute to the era of hip-hop that they came from.

The first performer Naughty By Nature brought up was Dres from Black Sheep who performed the classic, “The Choice is Your’s”.  Then Jarobi from A Tribe Called Quest joined him on stage where they rapped a few tracks from their Evitan project.  Next up was Hakim Green from Channel Live who came out for a performance of their hit ‘Mad Ism’.  Mr. Funke showed up and did a quick medley of Lord of the Underground hits, which lead to Mr.Cheeks of Lost Boyz fame to come out and do a few songs.  Eventually Freddie Fox emerged from the back of the stage alternating between rapping and scowling while wearing a Big L t-shirt.   Ed Lover and Erick Sermon made guest appearances to thank the crowd for being long time hip-hop fans while Kool Herc looked on from the side of the stage.

The night capped off with Naughty By Nature leading sing-alongs of songs by golden era artists like Slick Rick and Audio Two.  In a room filled with their fans Naughty By Nature could easily played their greatest hits and bounced leaving the crowd satisfied.  Instead they chose to pay homage to their peers that influenced them. One can’t help but think that still being humble twenty-five years into their career is why they are still around, still beloved, and still a great live act to go see.