Bop Or Not: Naughty By Nature’s “Feel Me Flow”
Naughty By Nature made bigger songs. “OPP” thrust* the group onto the national stage, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” reworked Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry,” and “Hip, Hop, Hooray” remains one of the all-time fun tracks.
Here’s the thing: music is really, really hard. So many groups have come and gone without ever recording a single hit, let alone ones that achieve the enormity of both “OPP” and “Hip Hop Hooray.” It is practically impossible to gin up any sympathy for a group that achieves this level of greatness. And yet the pressure that comes after must be enormous. Not only are you expected to keep churning out music, but you are expected to keep churning out huge music that sells. Anything less -- regardless of its quality -- is considered less than, and in some cases, it is considered an outright failure. NBN damned themselves by hitting it big with “OPP” and “Hip Hop Hooray.”
Which isn’t to say that NBN wasn’t trying. “Feel Me Flow” was from Poverty’s Paradise group’s fourth album and, like NBN’s previous hits, it went for a big chorus designed to keep listeners hanging around. Poverty’s Paradise even won a Grammy, for whatever that’s worth, but sales were lagging considerably. Whereas albums with “OPP” and “Hip Hop Hooray” had each gone platinum, “Feel Me Flow” only went gold. And that, as it is so often is, was that.
One wonders if the response to “Feel Me Flow” is ever anything more substantive than an, “Oh, yeah, I guess they did that one too.” It probably isn’t, and that assumes that anybody remembers the track at all. With each passing day, it becomes that much harder to remember music that is now -- *gulps hard* -- more than twenty years old.
This though isn’t simply about long-ago music. This is an analysis of a song’s relative Bop, a measure of a song that isn’t quite a banger, but one that makes you want to get up out of your seat (even if you do not actually end up doing so). And by that measure, “Feel Me Flow” is absolutely a bop. Say what you want about manipulative music specifically designed to get us to sing along with the chorus, but, done right, those are the kinds of songs that worm their way into our consciousness.
Furthermore, this song has one additional quality that has to be accounted for: it is perfect driving-in-the-car-on-a-summer-evening-with-the-windows-down music. If that seems like a very specific measure of a song, that is because it is, but that also happens to be the perfect time to listen to music.
So then, a conclusion: Naughty By Nature’s “Feel Me Flow” is a definite bop.
*If you’re thinking, “That is a clever play on words, given the song’s subject matter,” then yes, you are correct.