Naughty By Nature's Vin Rock talks ahead of the "I Love the '90s Tour" stop at the Amphitheatre

The ‘90s are back — at least for one night. Some of the biggest names in rap, rock, hip hop and pop make their way to the Amphitheatre Friday evening as part of the “I Love The 90s Tour.”


One of the headliners of the bill is Naughty By Nature, a hip hop trio formed in New Jersey in 1991 and consisting of Treach, Vin Rock and DJ Kay Gee.

The group won a Grammy Award in 1996 for Best Rap Album for “Poverty’s Paradise” and an American Music Award in 1992 for Favorite New Artist in Rap and Hip Hop.

Naughty By Nature struck commercial success in the ‘90s with hits like “Feel Me Flow,” “Hip Hop Hooray” and “O.P.P.”

Compass caught up with member Vin Rock to find out how the tour’s been going and to take a look back at more than 25 years in the music industry. Here’s part of that conversation.

Compass: How’s the tour going?

Vin Rock: So far, so good. “I Love The 90s — The Party Continues Tour” officially starts July 7, but we’ve been doing some of the “I Love the 90s” dates with Vanilla Ice. We’ve done about four or five dates already this year.

Compass: Aside from Vanilla Ice, you’re also performing with Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath, Biz Markie, All-4-One and Young MC. Are these musicians that you have a history with?

V.R.: For one, Biz Markie, he’s our hip-hop mentor. He and his partner, Cool V, were always around the New Jersey area. Ever since we were in high school, we were privileged to have them as hip-hop mentors. They knew us ever since we were a group called The New Style — before we converted over to Naughty By Nature. The rest of the guys like Mark McGrath and Young MC, we grew up on them. Since we came out in 1991, we’ve done a ton of shows with those guys. It’s a happy family out there, for sure.

Compass: Is there a lot of onstage collaboration with the groups? Or do you all stick to your own set times?

V.R.: We pretty much stick to our own set times and whoever goes out before us, we always encourage them to come out when we play “Hip Hop Hooray.”

Compass: Do you play all of your hits at the shows?

V.R.: Oh, yeah. We definitely have to. We’ve been around for 26 years now and have about five or six albums. We try to fit in a 26-year history in about a 40- or 50-minute set. You gotta play the hits. You can’t get out of the building without playing “O.P.P.,” “Hip Hop Hooray” and “Feel Me Flow.”

Compass: Is it surreal to look back at the fact that you’ve been a group for more than 25 years?

V.R.: We just rung in the New Year in Miami for Pitbull’s New Year’s Eve and it was pretty much a mash-up of all of the artists that were on the “I Love The 90s Tour.” I remember talking to Rob Base. Base has been around since the ’80s and we first came out in ‘91. It’s like it’s strong as ever — the demand for this ’80s and ’90s hip hop. It’s crazy to see it. Music is the gift that keeps on giving.

Compass: Over that time, have you seen a big change in the demographic of your audience members? Do you see parents bringing their kids to the shows?

V.R.: I don’t necessarily see a lot of parents bringing their kids, but I do see a lot of younger kids in the crowd. We always ask, “Who was born in the ’90s? The ’80s?” There are a ton of ’80s babies. These kids, man, they probably couldn’t come outside when we first started. Now, they get a chance to come out and see us on their own.

Compass: There have been a lot of changes in the music industry since Naughty By Nature got started. Has there been a learning curve for you or have you always kept up with what’s going on?

V.R.: I’ve always kept up with what’s going on. I’m definitely blessed. We came out at a time where we had physical copies of our music. Whether it was an album or a cassette or a CD, we had that physical copy. Then once Napster and MySpace and all of that stuff came out, I knew what was about to happen with digital files. Naughty By Nature, we’ve had a website since 1996, so I’ve considered myself being ahead of the curve. Now that I see everything streaming and subscription services, I think it’s an advantage for veteran artists because we get a direct-to-fan relationship.

Compass: Aside from the sequel, “I Love The 90s — The Party Continues Tour,” coming up this summer, what else is the band up to?

V.R.: We are working on a couple of TV and film ideas, and we’re looking forward to knocking out a Naughty By Nature documentary — celebrating our music career. And that will definitely lend itself to new music. We’re trying to work that out now.

Compass: You’ve all had some pretty public riffs in the group. How are things going now?

V.R.: It’s wild. We’ve put that behind us. To think that all of that stuff happened in 2013, it’s crazy. It’s been like four years already, but that wound still feels a little bit fresh. But we’ve been all right. We’ve been on the road, handling business. I always say, “The band is bigger than the bull*$#@.”

“I Love The 90s Tour” featuring Vanilla Ice, Naughty By Nature, Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath, Biz Markie, All-4-One and Young MC is at 7 p.m. tonight at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre1340C State Road A1A South. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $53.50 for level 300 and obstructed view, $63.50 for level 200 and $73.50 for level 100 and standing pit.