Naughty By Nature Celebrates 10th Anniversary

With "iicons," due May 7, Naughty by Nature issues its first effort since the departure of DJ/producer KayGee and a move to TVT Records. But perhaps what is most notable to the venerable rap act's rem

With "iicons," due May 7, Naughty by Nature issues its first effort since the departure of DJ/producer KayGee and a move to TVT Records. But perhaps what is most notable to the venerable rap act's remaining members, Treach and Vinnie, is that the album marks the act's 10th anniversary -- one that they seemed unlikely to celebrate as a group.

And that's largely because of co-founder KayGee's departure in late summer 2000, which was followed by the group's dismissal from the Arista label.

With its lone Arista effort, 1999's "19 Naughty IX: Nature's Fury," going gold and spawning the gold single "Jamboree" -- after a four-year absence from the marketplace -- Vinnie says that he and Treach felt confident the label would "realize that [KayGee] was just the production and would want to move on with us, but they said, 'No,' and dropped us, which caught us off guard."

Treach adds, "That was one of the worst times in our career. I was going through a divorce, our homie [KayGee] just split out of nowhere, we were dropped from the label, and one of my closest friends was murdered. It was just unbearable. With the help of Vin and the crew, we just stayed out on the road and stayed busy. We knew we had an objective."

Upon signing with TVT, Naughty returned to the studio to begin work on "iicons." "We could have worked with outside producers, but we had an in-house loyalty," Vinnie notes. "I knew that once [KayGee] left, cats would think that we were through on a production tip. That was my mission -- the beats and the production. I knew that, lyrically, it was going to go down, but beat-wise I wanted to make sure that motherf***ers threw up when they heard this album."

Naughty enlisted the help of such producers as Da Beatminerz, Dream Team, and Allstar. In addition to bringing outside producers, Vinnie and Treach decided they would celebrate their 10 years in style.

"These collaborations are people we actually have love for and know," Treach says. "We were inviting people to the studio. They would come in, hear a track, and go from there."

"Iicons" features a range of guests, from Peter Gabriel to 3LW, who appear on lead single "Feels Good." "The reception to the record has been crazy, and that was our point," Vinnie says of the single. "People would think that because KayGee left he took his sound with him, but that's not his sound-that's Naughty's sound. With 'Feels Good,' people would think he had involvement, but hell no."