The Very Wise Math Behind Naughty By Nature’s ‘O.P.P.': August 24 in Hip-Hop History
1991: Naughty by Nature goes double platinum with "O.P.P."
On Aug. 24, 1991, Naughty by Nature released "O.P.P.," the lead single off their self-titled album for Tommy Boy Records. The song helped the New Jersey hip-hop trio make their name, hitting No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.
But they didn't know all it would bring when DJ Kay Gee started having some fun with a Jackson 5 classic. "I was just scratching that Jackson 5 'ABC' section one day, and Treach heard it and wanted to build on it," he told Brian Coleman for his book, Check the Technique, Volume 2. "Everybody is saying these days how sample clearance is so high, but we sampled that in 1991 and [Motown’s publishing arm] Jobete took 75 percent of the publishing on that song. But we knew that it made the record, so we had to have it. One hundred percent of nothing is nothing, and 25 percent of two million sold is a lot. We knew that it was gonna be huge, so we didn’t care. At that time there was so much hardcore stuff out, but people weren’t using pianos and melodic stuff like on 'O.P.P.' When we first did the demo, our people around the way knew it was a hit, and that’s all we needed to know."
For his part, Treach said its remarkable that the song received the radio airplay that it did. "That was recorded in the first quarter of our recording. We didn’t try to make a pop hit; it just happened it was the [Melvin Bliss 'Synthetic] Substitution' beat and a [Jackson 5] sample," he said. "It’s a call-and-response song and we’re talking about fuckin’ other niggas’ bitches. The record probably would have been banned if radio had known what we was talkin’ about. It took them a year or two to figure out what it meant. If you weren’t listening or weren’t really into hip-hop, it wasn’t easy."
1993: Child molestation investigation against Michael Jackson made public
On the day the third leg of Michael Jackson's Dangerous World Tour began in 1993, allegations against the King of Pop were made public after authorities searched his Neverland Ranch for evidence of pedophilia. Once the Los Angeles Police Department's Sexually Exploited Children's Unit set their sites on Jackson, the star canceled the remainder of the tour. "The only reason I am going on tour is to raise funds for the newly-formed Heal the World Foundation, an international children's charity, that I am spearheading to assist children and the ecology," Jackson said at the outset. "My goal is to gross $100,000,000 by Christmas 1993. I urge every corporation and individual who cares about this planet and the future of the children to help raise money for the charity."
1993: Babyface steps into the spotlight with For the Cool in You
Around the time one-half of LaFace Records, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, creatively split with his business partner L.A. Reid, the singer-songwriter and producer dropped his third record, For the Cool In You. Known for generating hits for other artists like Toni Braxton, TLC and Usher, Whitney Houston and Boyz II Men, his own record hit No. 16 on the Billboard 200 and No. 2 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and gave him another Top 10 hit with "When Can I See You." The record also earned Edmonds a Grammy nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, but he instead won for Producer of the Year.
Despite all that, Babyface continued to view his most important role as being behind the scenes. "I never was that star,” he said in 2013. “I was never the Bobby Brown or the Johnny Gill, the Boyz II Men. I had records and I did well, but I was never that big. It was me producing people that had the biggest impact, and being a writer and producer is just as important to my artistry as being Babyface the solo artist. … If I hadn’t become a producer, I don’t know that I would still be relevant.”
1993: Shaggy gos for Pure Pleasure
Orville Burell, better known as the Jamaican artist Shaggy, released his debut album Pure Pleasure on Aug. 24, 1993. "Pure Pleasure contains Jamaican patois lyrics that are indecipherable to the untrained ear; the rhythms are, for the most part, aggressive and pounding; and the subject matter seems more suited to a Brooklyn dancehall than MTV," wrote Micah Locilento in his 2002 book Shaggy: Dogamuffin Style. Though many have credited the former U.S. Marine who served in the Gulf War with reintroducing the masses to reggae music, others have taken a less positive attitude. "I’ve been criticized for doing so-called crossover music,” Shaggy said in 2001. "But I never claimed to be a pure dancehall artist. I just do what sounds good to me, and people seem to like it. I want to take it as far as I can.”
1994: Tupac Drops "Pour Out a Little Liquor"
A month ahead of what turned out to be both Thug Life's debut and farewell record, Thug Life: Volume 1, and two years before member Tupac Shakur was killed, the foursome released their first single and video. A solo track by Shakur, the song, "Pour Out a Little Liquor," hit the streets, also appearing on the soundtrack to the film Above the Rim, in which he also starred. (In 2018, the contract Tupac signed to make that record went up for auction). The song was laced with the word "nigga," the usage of which he explained in a 1991 interview.
"I wanted to make [the word 'nigga'] something that we can live by. I felt like there was no way I could stop calling myself a 'nigga,' just as sure as there was no way that motherfuckers was gonna stop calling me 'nigga,'" he said. "So instead of letting them take that away from me, I took it from them. 'Nigga' is now mine. And when they say 'nigga,' they give me strength... So say it! Say it!
And all those that say I'm wrong for saying it and wanna bleep it out, they wasn't bleeping the shit out 20 years ago, so don't bleep the shit out now," he continued. "I still see Tom and Jerry and Popeyes with [black Sambo babies] they ain't bleeping that shit out, so I'll be damned if I bleep out 'nigga.' And it's gon' be on just like that every time, and I'm gonna say it freely."
1999: Puff Daddy Drops Forever
The first album Sean Combs released under the name Puff Daddy, Forever — his second record overall — was released on this day in 1999. That was about six months before his much-publicized arrest, and later acquittal, on a weapons charge following a triple shooting outside a New York City nightclub. Like his uber-successful 1997 debut, Daddy's sophomore effort fared well, debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and achieving platinum sales certification but receiving critical reviews that focused on the heavy sampling. But there were other complaints as well. "Puffy's detractors have always fretted that a horde of merry samplers would arrive in his wake. Looking back, we would have found that preferable to the legacy hip-hop has inherited from him: a crude, almost religious worship of capitalism that champions 'realness' while ignoring the very real conditions that create the ghettos glorified by rappers," read a review in New York magazine.
1999: Ol' Dirty Bastard Drops Single "Got Your Money"
On Aug. 24, 1999, Ol' Dirty Bastard released "Got Your Money" from his second record, Nigga Please. The only single from an album that took four years to record between prison sentences, its chorus featured Kelis, and became the last Top 10 hit for ODB before his 2004 death.
Also on This Day in Hip-Hop History
Also on Aug. 24, Lumidee Cedeño, who, using only her first name, gave us the 2003 hit single "Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh)," was born in 1984. Her second album, 2007's Unexpected, gave us a minor hit with a cover of "She's Like the Wind," Patrick Swayze's song from Dirty Dancing. In 1993, Smooth put out You Been Played. Earlier that year, the title track appeared on the soundtrack to Menace II Society.
Meshell Ndegeocello's Bitter arrived in 1999. It featured contributions on keyboards and guitar by Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, who rose to fame through somebody else who, coincidentally, put out a record on that same day, Prince. His The Vault: Old Friends 4 Sale was a closet-cleaning effort that marked his last release of his first stint on Warner Bros., and was comprised of songs he had recorded between 1985 and 1994.
Aug. 24, 2004 was a big day for albums, with the debut efforts by Jim Jones (On My Way to Church), the Foreign Exchange (Connected) and Young Buck (Straight Outta Cashville) all dropping. Plus, Ma$e's third record, Welcome Back, came out, as did Boyz II Men's collection of covers of '70s and '80s soul songs, Throwback, Vol. 1.