Daughters (Nas song)
|Single by Nas|
|from the album Life Is Good|
|Released||July 17, 2012|
|Recorded||4220 Studios, Conway Recordings Studios, EastWest Studio
(Sherman Oaks, California)
|Writer(s)||Nasir Jones, Ernest D. Wilson, Patrick Adams, Gary DeCarlo, Dale Frashuer, Paul Leka|
"Daughters" is a song by American rapper Nas, released on July 17, 2012, by Def Jam Recordings as the third single from his 2012 album Life Is Good. He wrote it as a reflection on the growth of his daughter Destiny Jones. One of the first songs recorded for the album, Nas worked with producer No I.D. and recorded at several Los Angeles recording studios.
A highly personal song by Nas, "Daughters" features lyrics about raising a daughter and personal vignettes about fatherhood. Nas' lyrics address his daughter's behavioral problems and are self-critical of his parenting skills. The song draws on shimmering soul music and contains samples of Cloud One's 1979 song "Dust to Dust" and Wayne McGhie and the Sounds of Joy's 1970 song "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye". "Daughters" was released to positive reviews from music critics, who complimented its subject matter and Nas' honest lyrics, and earned Nas Grammy Awards nomination for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song.
Writing and recording
She's so important to me and she always has been. They grow so fast and time flies man. Before you know it, you’re looking at a little lady. She's my first kid, my first time watching a child become a teen and a little adult before my eyes. That's one of the most important things in my life. She is. I can’t get away from talking about it.
"Daughters" was one of the first songs Nas recorded for his 2012 album Life Is Good. Recording sessions for the song took place at 4220 Studios, Conway Recordings Studios, and EastWest Studio in Hollywood, and at Record One in Sherman Oaks, California. It was produced by No I.D., who incorporated live instrumentation, including guitar by Steve Wyreman and keyboards by James Poyser and Kevin Randolph. Kaye Fox sung additional vocals on the song.
Destiny Jones was in the studio when they were recording the song and, as Nas recalled in an interview for Vibe, "We were in a big studio so Destiny was doing other things, but she walked into the room where I was recording it and heard a few words and said, ‘What’s going on?’ The whole room just started laughing and she kind of smiled and walked backwards out of the room. She didn’t know what it was about and she didn’t want to listen to it, but later on she heard the song."
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Ken Capobianco of The Boston Globe describes "Daughters" as "an emotionally complex paean to raising a girl as he struggles to let her find her way." Pitchfork Media's Jayson Greene writes that the song "finds him examining the responsibilities of fatherhood with fond bewilderment." Jon Caramanica of The New York Times comments that Nas "tackles fatherhood, vacillating between forgiving his daughter her occasional transgressions and indicting himself for not being a stern enough parent." Erika Ramirez of Billboard views that he "opens up on the highs and lows of his relationship with his daughter, Destiny Jones, pulling on the tropes of all fathers."
On the song, Nas also addresses his daughter's risqué behavior and partly blames himself for not being a stricter parent. Nas makes reference to finding his daughter's letter to a man in jail and her controversy when she posted a photo of a box of condoms on Instagram. David Amidon of PopMatters comments that "he frankly discusses his daughters’ misdealings with incarcerated love interests and Instagram’d condoms". According to Kyle Ellison of Drowned in Sound, Nas also comments on gender expectations in his verses: "When he date, he straight, chip off his old papa / when she date, we wait behind the door with a sawed off / ‘Cause we think no one is good enough for our daughters."
Release and promotion
The song was premiered on DJ Prostyle's radio show on Power 105.1 on April 26, 2012. It was subsequently released as a digital download on iTunes on May 1. Def Jam Recordings released "Daughters" on July 17 as a single, the third from Life Is Good. Nas performed the song on the Late Show with David Letterman on July 17.
A music video for the song was directed on April 30 by Chris Robinson. The video was posted on YouTube on May 27. Nas also wanted to record a remix of the song with Eminem, but he turned the offer down, explaining that he had spoken enough on the subject throughout his recording career. He also reached out to Jay-Z, but they both had hectic schedules.
"Daughters" peaked at number 78 on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, on which it charted for nine weeks. It received positive reviews from music critics. Allmusic editor David Jeffries called the song "well written", and Robert Christgau cited it as a highlight on Life Is Good. Jayson Greene of Pitchfork Media commended it as a "sweetly reflective response" by Nas to his daughter's behavior. David Amidon of PopMatters praised its honesty as "intense" and found the song to be "probably the most honest we’re ever going to hear Nas". Alex Macpherson of Fact called it "a song that’s as likely to make fathers everywhere misty-eyed as it is to make teenage girls cringe in horror".
Nas' ex-wife Carmen Bryan criticized the song as a "disappointment" and asserted on her Twitter, "He had nothing positive to say about our daughter and his depiction of her is false!" In response, Common defended Nas for his personal songwriting and likened "Daughters" to his own 1997 song "Retrospect for Life", which he wrote about his girlfriend's abortion, saying in an interview for XXL, "I've had people come to me because of those type of songs and say it changed their life or somebody be like, "Man, that song made me decide to have my child instead of having an abortion. Something that Nas said in that song may inspire somebody to be a better father so I think it’s worth it." In an interview for Vibe, Nas elaborated on his daughter's reaction to the song, stating:
I think she understands where I was coming from. She can hear me saying that I wasn’t always around and I wasn’t always the best dad, but I care. And there are a lot of fathers like me. To me, ‘Daughters’ lets all those fathers out there know, ‘Hey, don’t end up like me in terms of not being there all the time.’ You should really pay attention to the most precious thing in the world. Destiny and I hang out all the time. She never beefs with me about it.
"Daughters" was nominated for Grammy Awards for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song, set to be presented at the 55th Grammy Awards in 2013. Complex named the song #39 of the best 50 songs of 2012.
- Digital single
|1.||"Daughters"||Nasir Jones, Ernest D. Wilson, Patrick Adams, Gary DeCarlo, Dale Frashuer, Paul Leka||No I.D.||3:20|
Credits adapted from liner notes.
- Kaye Fox – additional vocals
- Rob Kinelski – mixing, recording engineer
- Nas – composer, performer
- No I.D. – composer, producer
- James Poyser – keyboards
- Kevin Randolph – keyboards
- Brian Sumner – recording engineer
- Anna Ugarte – assistant engineer, mixing assistant
- Steve Wyreman – guitar
|US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)||78|
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