Nikki D – Daddy’s Little Girl (September 3, 1991)

The subject of today’s post is yet another one hit wonder that also makes for a great hip-hop trivia question. Nikki D was born in Newark, NJ, but later migrated to Los Angeles where she would continue to hone her raps skills, eventually catching the attention of Russell Simmons, who would sign her to Def Jam in 1989, making her the first female artist signed to the legendary label (there’s your great trivia question). Two years later in 1991, Nikki D would release her debut album Daddy’s Little Girl.

Nikki would bring in a handful of producers to help sculpt the sound of Daddy’s Little Girl, including such names as: S.I.D.(Flavor Unit affiliate), Eric Sadler (Bomb Squad), Large Professor, The Leaders of the New School, Sam Sever and Prince Paul. Even with all those respected names behind it, the album would only produce one hit single (the title track), which would climb all the way to number 1 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles. But the album rendered dismal numbers, especially when you consider it was a Def Jam release.

According to a Nikki D interview I recently listened to, even after the commercial failure of Daddy’s Little Girl, Def Jam still wanted her to release a follow-up album. She said the album was fully produced by the Bomb Squad and completed, but would be shelved, never to see the light of day. She would eventually ask Russell to let her out of her contract, to which he obliged, and she would sign with Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit, where things wouldn’t get much better for her rap career. Nikki grew tired and frustrated by the politics and business of the industry and walked away from the mic to take on roles behind the scenes with both Def Jam and Flavor Unit through the years, but she would never release another album.

I came across a used CD copy of Daddy’s Little Girl at one of my frequents a few months ago for a couple bucks. Since I loved the lead single, I bought it and hoped to find some other hidden jewels. This marks my first time listening to the album, so let’s start diggin’.

Daddy’s Little Girl – Nikki kicks the album off with the title track, whose instrumental jacks, I mean, liberally borrows, from the classic DNA/Suzanne Vega record, “Tom’s Diner”. Nikki uses the dark backdrop to talk about being a young and very promiscuous girl, which ends with her getting into some trouble that she keeps a secret from her dad (even though the song is thirty years old, I won’t spoil the plot for you young bucks that may have never heard it before). I loved this song back in the day, mainly for S.I.D.’s dope instrumental, which still sounds amazing today, but now that I’m a dad with four daughters, Nikki’s rhymes sound like a nightmare.

Monday We’ll Be Together – Nikki’s content is a little too abstract to follow on this one, but I think she’s talking about finding the right man; at least she is for a portion of the song. The Leaders of the New School are credited for the mellow instrumental, and they lend a helping hand with the hook. I wasn’t crazy about Nikki’s rhymes, but the mellow jazzy instrumental was pleasant.

Hang On Kid – S.I.D. gets his second production credit of the night (he also produced “Daddy’s Little Girl”), as he builds this dope instrumental around an ill piano loop. Nikki uses it to talk about the trials, tribs and lessons she learned in her childhood, and S.I.D. joins in, spittin’ a rare verse as well (his vocal tone reminds me of Parrish Smith’s). This was dope.

The Beauty Shop – After a short interlude exchange between Busta Rhymes and Nikki, LONS gets their second production credit of the evening, as they slide Nikki a super dry backdrop that finds our hostess dissin’ chicks who get plastic surgery, use to much make-up or are just plain ugly. This was super corny.

All About You – Over a hard backdrop, Nikki shouts out a dude she’s feelin’, and he’s got her wide open. This is a great example of what a hardcore hip-hop love song can sound like without the r&b crooner and formulaic r&b chords. Well done, Nikki.

Sunny Daze – Nikki uses this one to celebrate relaxation, being outside and expresses her appreciation for the sunshine. It’s not a great track, but it makes for decent filler material.

Wasted P!*#Y – This one starts out sounding like it’s going to be an emotional soul stirring record, then the rough and raw beat drops (credited to Eric Sadler of the Bomb Squad, with a co-credit going to Epitome Of Scratch), and Nikki commences to call out all the loose Lakesha’s and Heidi hoes. It’s kind of like a hood PSA on the dangers of hoeing. I appreciate Nikki’s concern and effort, but there’s really no need to listen to this one more than once.

Your Man Is My Man – After scolding ladies for hoeing on the previous track, Nikki boasts about being a side chick on this one, which left me wanting to introduce the pot to the kettle. It was also strange to hear the uncredited male voice saying “You need to learn how to share, cause your man is her man” on the hook. The instrumental (which is credited to Smooth Ice and a “post-production and remix” credit going to Large Professor) is a banger that goes hard.

18 And Loves To Go – Nikki’s back to pointing fingers again. This time she takes aim at an eighteen-year-old girl who loves to get her freak on. You’d think that “Daddy’s Little Girl” would have a little more understanding and compassion, but instead, she comes off judgmental. Maybe Nikki’s message helped deter another young woman from going through her hoe phase, but whatever the case, S.I.D.’s instrumental is dope.

Another Man Is Beatin’ My Time – Now this is an interesting song idea. Nikki shares two stories about two different dudes that she dated, only to later find out they were on the down low. It was kind of funny to hear her say “I never had a clue of the fact, that another man was ridin’ his back” then in the very next line she says, “I guess I should have known when he acted like a bitch, wearing my clothes and walkin’ with a switch”. You “guess you should have known”? Sounds like crystal clear warning signs that hindsight wouldn’t even forgive you for missing. In this current state of ultra-sensitive political correctness, I’m sure people would have a problem with some of Nikki’s content, but the DL lifestyle is a real thing. S.I.D. serves up a decent dance track, but it sounds odd paired with Nikki’s X-rated content.

Gotta Up The Ante For The Panties – The song title pretty much sums this one up. Nikki lets the fellas know that if you want to taste her punani you must do more than wine and dine her and buy her gifts, but she never lets you know what that “more” is. This song did nothing for me. Next…

Freak Accident – Prince Paul gets his only production credit of the evening, as he slides Nikki a zany backdrop that she uses to spin a tale about infidelity and domestic violence. Nikki’s man is apparently on vacation without her for weeks (how he managed to go on vacation for that long without his lady is an impressive feat), so she decides to seek out some side dick. But her man returns unexpectedly, catching her in the act and commences to roughing her side dude up and beating her ass as well. Nikki’s storyline was semi-interesting, and it also felt a little uncomfortable to hear her make light of domestic abuse, but you can’t really spit serious bars over a bizarre instrumental like this.

Lettin’ Off Steam (Club Mix) – The final song of the evening finds Nikki in battle mode, “shootin’ the gift”, as she lets off a little steam, and Flavor Flav drops by to add some energetic adlibs for his labelmate. Sam Sever gets his only production credit of the night, hooking up a dope instrumental built around an ill bass line and a rough guitar loop. This is easily one of the strongest songs on the album.

On Daddy’s Little Girl, Nikki proves to be a decent lyricist with a strong voice, and she actually covers a variety of topics on her debut album, but most of her content tends to float aimlessly, never arriving anywhere, making most of her rhymes sound empty and incomplete. On the production side, there isn’t one terrible instrumental on the album, but when you consider the esteemed names that helped sculpt the album’s sound, I was left a bit disappointed by the overall output. Daddy’s Little Girl is a semi-decent album that shows some of Nikki’s potential; it’s unfortunate she never got a chance to build on it.

-Deedub

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