“Hip Hop Hooray” by Naughty by Nature
Naughty by Nature may not be the best rappers in the world. But what they were good at during their heyday was putting together catchy songs such as this one (“Hip Hop Hooray”), which an entire crowd could easily get into.
And doing so not only served them well in not only “Hip-Hop Hooray” but also other classics such as “O.P.P.” (1991) and to a lesser degree “Feel Me Flow” (1995). In fact this track is so catchy that the chorus sort of makes the lyrics irrelevant.
But there is in fact a whole lotta rapping going on therein. And at the onset of the song, what Vin Rock and Treach are doing is using the opportunity to throw jabs at different types of opps. For instance, in the first verse, Vin is obviously addressing some type of musical rival.
And he’s saying something like his rapping skills are so superior that he’s even making out with dude’s girlfriend.
The next two verses are similar thematically. Indeed with this track coming out in 1992, it was sort of at a crossroad between the genre’s transition from the old school – which focused on a rapper’s lyrical superiority to others – and the new school, which is highlighted more by actual threats.
So that’s why for instance in a song largely about celebrating music, Treach can make a reference to the “triggers”, i.e. shooters, from his ‘hood. But he brings it all home in the fourth verse by asserting that what he actually ‘lives and dies for’ is in fact hip-hop. So this song serves as a shoutout to the genre/culture more so than anything else.
And yes, there’s a lot more than that going down. For instance, the fifth verse centers on Treach’s sexual conquests. And the song is in fact quite lengthy in terms of the amount of actual rapping being rendered. But at the end of the day, once again, Naughty by Nature is biggin’ up hip-hop.
Back then during the early 90s, as implied by the sixth verse, was when many people really began to recognize that rap music was not a passing fad. And we can say that such is what Naughty by Nature is celebrating, the viability of the art form.
Moreover in doing so, they rely partially on the ubiquitous ‘hip hip hooray’ cheer. And the way they were able to effectively do so is why this tune has enjoyed such a widespread pop media usage even outside of the realms of hip-hop.
What “Hip Hop Hooray” is all about
So it’s like yes, Naughty by Nature are spittin’ on this track. But as implied earlier, you could probably find better examples of early-1990s rap. However, as far as universal party anthems from that era go, you aren’t likely to come across any other rap songs from that era comparable to Hip-Hop Hurray besides maybe “O.P.P.”, for what it’s worth. In fact even now, some several decades later, most rappers still can’t create songs as catchy as this one.
This track was produced by Naughty by Nature, presumably with the crew’s DJ, Kay Gee, at the helm. And it relies heavily on sampling, with five different songs being acknowledged therein. First and foremost would likely be the Isley Brothers’ “Make Me Say It Again, Girl” (1975).
And the other sampled tracks include the following:
- Five Stairsteps’ “Don’t Change Your Love” (1968)
- James Brown’s “Funky President” (1974)
- Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” (1986)
- “You Can’t Turn Me Away” (1981) by Sylvia Striplin
The music video of this song was directed by none other than Spike Lee. And a number of hip-hop stars of the day made appearances, such as Queen Latifah, Run DMC and Monie Love.
In addition to the above, the late Tupac Shakur (1971-1996) and Eazy-E (1964-1995) also appear in the clip.
Also in terms of the lyrics themselves, Treach uses the eighth verse to acknowledge other rap acts of that era, some of whom time has more or less forgotten. And those are as follows:
- Leaders of the New School (aka “L.O.N.S.”)
- A Tribe Called “Quest”
- “Nice & Smooth”
- “Cypress Hill”
Achievements of “Hip Hop Hooray”
Naughty by Nature were the masters of 1990s’ hip-hop anthems, and this is one of the songs which helped establish them as such. For instance, “Hip-Hop Hooray” has been utilized by major sports’ organizations such as the MLB and NBA during live events.
And accordingly it has been regularly featured in videogames, primarily of the sports’ variety, throughout the decades. And it also made an appearance on “The Last Dance”, the hit 2020 documentary centered on Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls’ years.
Additionally the track has made the playlist of quite a few movies, including the below:
- “Who’s the Man?” (1993)
- “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013)
- “Dope” (2015)
In terms of its chart performance, “Hip Hop Hooray” was one of Naughty by Nature’s signature hits, topping Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales listings.
It also reached number 8 on the Hot 100 itself and number 5 on the UK Dance Chart. Additionally, the tune earned the crew a couple of number ones in Canada and platinum certification via the Recording Industry Association of America (aka RIAA).
“Hip Hop Hooray” in 2020
This classic made fresh headlines in 2020 when actress Rita Wilson (i.e. Tom Hank’s wife) posted a clip of herself, which went viral, jamming to the tune onto social media, while she was concurrently quarantining after contracting COVID-19.
The virality of the clip resulted in her officially remixing the song – in collaboration with Naughty by Nature – and releasing said remix in the name of generating funds for a COVID-19 charity. And the remix came about after Vin Rock contacted Wilson directly to thank her ‘for rocking to their song’.
Who wrote “Hip Hop Hooray”?
The writers of this song are the two rappers which belong to the trio known as Naughty by Nature, that being Treach and Vin Rock.