Two years after officially reuniting, Naughty By Nature is in the final stages of completing their first album as a trio in eight years.
Tentatively titled Anthem, Inc., the group exclusively tell AllHipHop.com that music from the album will be available to fans before the end of the year.
“It’s all about when the album is done, to be honest with you," revealed producer DJ Kay Gee, who departed from the group in 2000 over a financial disagreement.
“There’s no set date, but before this New Year comes in, you’re definitely gonna be hearing some exclusives, some appetizers to let them know we coming," added the group’s frontman Treach. “We’re gonna be giving the people stuff to let them know the music is there, the group is there."
According to Vin Rock, the three members of Naughty by Nature have been toying with the idea of releasing a new album for the last two summers, since Kay Gee publicly rejoined the group during a performance by Treach and Vin in New York.
While the album was delayed in coming, the three took the time to repair the fractured bond created by accusations of financial impropriety following the release of the group’s fourth major label release, Nineteen Naughty Nine: Nature’s Fury.
Despite the fact that it has been over five years since even Treach and Vinny released a studio project, the group continues to be as popular as ever, with the two continuing to perform over 100 shows a year.
It is that active touring schedule which makes Naughty by Nature confident that their return will be welcomed.
“When people are still willing to buy Naughty boxers from us, or wanting to buy Naughty By Nature t-shirts or Naughty By Nature hoodies to this day, that says that you’re still marketable in some type of way," Kay Gee told AllHipHop.com. “I haven’t been out there with them, but the fact that they’re able to do hundreds of shows per year still, without an album. That says that people are still into your music, people are still into your brand and people still wanna see you. So with that being said, it only makes sense to now feed the brand and give them something that’s current."
As they put the finishing touches on the music and lock in collaborators, Naughty By Nature is turning to the business side of their project.
The group has maintained control of their brand since first emerging on the scene in seventeen years ago.
Now they say that the release of the album will also hinge on finding the proper partner to make the release a success, an arrangement which will be far from the traditional record deal model.
“The industry is going through a little bit of changes," explained Kay Gee. “But for people like us that have some kind of brand, and where we feel like we could service to just our fans, you have more control over what you can do and what you can ask for. For better or worse, we can’t just go in and do your typical deal anymore."
Naughty By Nature is also currently preparing for next month’s taping of the fifth annual VH1 Hip-Hop Honors, which are set to air on October 6.
The New Jersey vets will be celebrated alongside Cypress Hill, De La Soul, Slick Rick and Too $hort with performances and appearances by artists including Big Boi, Biz Markie, Bun B, Ghostface Killa, Kid Rock, MC Lyte, Lil Jon, Lil’ Wayne, Q-Tip, Scarface and Wyclef Jean.
While some have wondered why it took so long for the group to be chosen for the VH1 tribute, Treach sees it as an untarnished milestone.
“Put it like this: we got Grammys, we got AMAs, we got everything else," he reflects. “Our folks ain’t seen us yet with none of them awards. So for a Hip-Hop Honors to come out and give us love like that man: I’m overwhelmed. I love it. It’s a Grammy to me. All the way, all day. It ain’t nothing like it’s just a TV show. It’s like a Super Bowl ring for me."