Today in 1970 in “Illtown” New Jersey, the king of “OPP”, better known as Treach, was born. For those who don’t know, Treach was the frontman for the New Jersey rap collective Naughty By Nature. Born Anthony Criss in East Orange, New Jersey, Treach got his musical start in his hometown. He, Vin Rock, and DJ Kay Gee came together as the group New Style and released an album called Independent Leaders in 1989. Treach and Naughty by Nature saw the majority of their success with their 1991 single “O.P.P”. This song featured a sample from The Jackson 5’s “ABC” and debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200 chart making it one of the most popular crossover songs in rap history. The success of this single opened the doors for Treach to venture into other elements of Hip Hop culture in the 90s. Starting with a guest appearance in the 1992 cult classic Juice, Treach began the next wave of his career as an actor. His biggest role came in 194 when he starred as “A-1” in Jason’s Lyric.
In honor of his birthday, we have put together a list of the six degrees of success that put Treach in the room with other influential voices in Hip Hop and popular culture.
1. Sandra ‘Pepa’ Denton-First on this list is “Pepa” of the legendary Salt N Pepa. From 1998 to 2001, the two were joined together in holy matrimony. They share a daughter beautifully named Egypt Jahnari Criss born September 2, 1998.
2. Tupac Shakur-In his first big-screen appearance, Tupac played the role of “Bishop” in the cult classic Juice. If you remember correctly, Bishop was not a character who made friends easily. At the beginning of the movie, Bishop has beef with a character named Radames and if you pay attention, you can see Treach standing behind Radames as he and Bishop have one of their many verbal altercations.
3. James Gandolfini-Who doesn’t love a good mob story? In 2006, Treach’s TV acting prowess landed him a gig on an episode of The Sopranos as the character “Marvin”. His role was short-lived, but not many are able to say they played opposite of the infamous Tony Soprano.
4. Queen Latifah-This fellow New Jersey rapper was in and out of Treach’s musical and acting career. She was one of the first successful artists to give Naughty By Nature the attention they deserved. She has featured Treach on songs throughout her discography. She was even cast alongside Treach in his first big-screen appearance (although they were never on screen together).
5. Leonardo DiCaprio-Although this relationship may be more loosely based than the rest, it’s important none the less. Naughty’s track “Hip Hop Hooray” was featured on the soundtrack of the very successful film Wolf of Wall Street starring Leo DiCaprio in 2013.
6. Michael Jackson – This maybe his connection with the most star power. In 1995, Treach was recruited to get on the remix to the brother-sister hit single “Scream” featuring Janet Jackson. Probably in part due to the success of O.P.P. which sampled one of the most famous Michael Jackson tracks.