Naughty by Nature is a hip-hop group from East Orange, New Jersey, known for their energetic beats, catchy hooks, and socially conscious lyrics. One of their most popular songs is “Daddy Was a Street Corner,” which tells the story of growing up in poverty and the struggles that come with it.
The song opens with a sample of a young girl speaking about her father, who was a drug dealer on the street corner. This sets the tone for the rest of the song, which is a reflection on the harsh realities of inner-city life. The lyrics are raw and honest, painting a vivid picture of the struggles faced by those living in poverty.
The first verse begins with the lines, “Mama always workin’, but the ends would never meet / Daddy’s on the corner, ain’t got nothin’ to eat.” These lines highlight the struggle of living in poverty, where even when both parents are working, it can be difficult to make ends meet. The reference to the father being on the corner is a clear indication that he is involved in the drug trade, a common source of income in many impoverished neighborhoods.
The verse goes on to describe the dangers of the streets, with lines like “Rats and roaches in the crib, listenin’ to the radio / Bees on my knees, prayin’ that the floor don’t give.” The imagery here is powerful, with the listener able to picture the squalid conditions in which the narrator is living.
The chorus of the song is a repetition of the lines, “Daddy was a street corner, hustlin’ ain’t dead / Mama used to tell me, ‘never let a boy in your bed.'” The contrast between the two lines is striking, with the first highlighting the reality of the streets, while the second represents the hope that the narrator’s mother has for her child.
The second verse continues with the theme of the dangers of the streets, with lines like “Muggin’ on the regular, hopin’ that the block stays hot / Bullets flyin’ through the air, duckin’ for the spot.” The narrator is constantly in danger, with violence always a possibility in their neighborhood.
The verse ends with a reference to the narrator’s dreams of escaping their circumstances, with the lines, “But dreams of bein’ rich, still dance in my head / Never would I let another rule my world.” The idea of being in control of one’s own destiny is a recurring theme in hip-hop, with many artists using their music to express their desire for success and upward mobility.
The final verse of the song is perhaps the most poignant, with the lines, “Strugglin’ and hustlin’, just to make ends meet / I’m livin’ on the edge, just tryin’ to keep my feet.” The narrator is still living in poverty, with their struggle to survive a daily reality.
The verse ends with a reference to the narrator’s mother, who is still working hard to support her family. The lines, “But Mama didn’t raise no fool, she taught me how to rule / That’s why I’m livin’ life by the golden rule,” highlight the resilience and determination of those living in poverty, who often have to rely on their own resourcefulness to survive.
In conclusion, “Daddy Was a Street Corner” is a powerful and honest reflection on the struggles faced by those living in poverty. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of life on the streets, with its dangers and harsh realities. However, the song also contains a message of hope, with the narrator expressing their desire for success and upward mobility. The song is a testament to the resilience and determination of those living in poverty, who often have to rely on their own resourcefulness to survive.