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The music is based on the 1970 Jackson 5 song "ABC
This song is about cheating. If you're "Down with O.P.P.," it means you are willing to cheat on your boyfriend or girlfriend. Not exactly family values, but it's presented in a fun and clever way that never spells out exactly what the song means. There are no dirty words in the lyrics, although a ludicrous "clean" version was released with the words "cleanest," "meanest" and "kitten" edited out. This is most likely the first time the word "kitten" has ever been censured.
The lyrics explain that "O.P.P." stands for different things depending on your gender. The first two words are "Other People's," but for guys, the last P is a "5-letter word rhyming with cleanest and meanest." For girls, it's "Another way to call a cat a kitten." In the end, they keep it clean by saying the last P stands for "Property."
"Down Wit' OPP" became a catch phrase in many cities where this song was popular. In New York, people wore T-shirts saying "Ya Down Wit OPP?"
Naughty by Nature was rappers Treach and Vinnie, and DJ Kay Gee. Treach, who was 20 when this came out, wrote the lyrics and was lead rapper on this.
Treach got the idea for the lyrics from a drug dealer in his neighborhood that used to move in on other dealer's territory and say he was "Down With O.P.M. - Other People's Money." Treach liked the phrase but decided to change the meaning of the last P. The year this was released, a Danny DeVito movie came out called Other People's Money.
Treach has had several acting roles, including the movie Juice and the HBO series Oz. He was married to Sandra Denton for 2 years starting in 1999. She's "Pepa" from the group Salt-N-Pepa.
The group made sure the lyrics related to both men and women, which gave it a broader appeal. They also wanted to make sure the audience could participate in the song ("yeah, you know me...) so when they played it in clubs the audience wouldn't just stand there.
This was one of the first Rap songs that crossed over to Pop radio. Many Top 40 stations refused to play it because they thought it would drive listeners away, but many added it as it became a hit.
The video was a big hit on the show Yo! MTV Raps, which was where they played most rap videos at the time. MTV had a rapper named Todd 1 remake the song as "Down Wit' MTV," which also got a lot of airtime.
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