Certain Songs #1229: Naughty by Nature – “O.P.P”

Album: Naughty by Nature
Year: 1991

Has there ever been a more joyous song about being bad?

With Treach’s speedy-but-smooth flow riding a pitch-perfect sample of the Jackson 5’s “A.B.C,” lyrics that sometimes reached for quintuple entendres and a call-and-response chorus for the ages, “O.P.P” was a completely irresistible and utterly inescapable single in the fall of 1991.

The genius thing about “O.P.P.” was how it just assumed that everybody was down with O.P.P. — that we’ve all got with somebody who was officially with someone else — and somehow captured the electric thrill associated with that level of wrong. In 1991, it
definitely seemed like the right song at the right time — for all of the wrong reasons.

So the first verse was aimed at all of the guys who had fooled around with the wrong girl — dancing around the euphemism for that last “P” — and rationalizing rationalizing rationalizing all the while dismissing anybody who didn’t understand what he was on about as they leaned into the immortal chorus:

You down with O.P.P.? (Yeah, you know me!)
You down with O.P.P.? (Yeah, you know me!)
You down with O.P.P.? (Yeah, you know me!)
Who’s down with O.P.P.? (Every last homie!)

In the next verse, Treach addresses the ladies, making them equally as complicit in wanting Other People’s, um, er “Property” (and it’s part of the awesomeness of the song that he uses “property” instead of “penis” rather than using it instead of “pussy”), basically saying that they can’t resist being down with O.P.P under the right circumstances.

Finally — because what is a hip-hop song without a little braggadocio? — there is a verse where Treach allows (or “allows”) himself to be the “O.P.P”, but of course he is so much the longest, loveliest and leanest, she can’t help but fall for him, thereby violating one of the cardinal rules what he calls “this O.P.P. establishment.”

It all adds up to a single that peaked at #6 on the Billboard charts as well as is remembered as a classic from a year that featured such heavyweights as “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Losing My Religion” and “Mama Said Knock You Out.”


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