May 30, 2015

Naughty By Nature "Poverty's Paradise" (Billboard, 1995)

'Poverty's Paradise' was Naughty By Nature's third album, it was released on this day in 1995 through Tommy Boy Records. With a knack for writing hits, Treach, Vinnie & Kay Gee, had 'O.P.P.', 'Uptown Anthem,' 'Ghetto Bastard,' and 'Hip Hop Hooray' under their belt, but it was also weighing them down. When their sophomore album produced the one hit in 'Hip Hop Hooray,' the industry responded with 500k less in sales than their debut. With a 2 year gap to work on other ventures, Naughty returned with Poverty's Paradise and I'm certain the label was pushing for more hits. They pushed 'Craziest' and 'Feel Me Flow' heavy on national radio, I still remember the 'Hot 97 is the Craziest' campaign. To me, the best tracks on the album were 'Clap Yo Hands' and Treach's powerful meaning of the chain around his neck on 'Chain Remains.' In 1996, the Grammy Awards introduced the 'Best Rap Album' category and 'Poverty's Paradise' went up against 2Pac's 'Me Against The World,' Bone Thugs' 'E 1999 Eternal,' 'Return To The 36 Chambers' by Ol' Dirty Bastard & 'I Wish' by Skee-Lo - Naughty by Nature took home the first Grammy Award for Best Rap Album that year. With the exception of ODB, each was also nominated in additional rap categories, as well. Would you take 'Poverty's Paradise' over 'Me Against The World'? That's a tough one for me... both are solid.