Albums: Nikka Costa

Everybody Got Their Something, Cheeba Sound/Virgin
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The Independent Culture

It's a good time for vintage Sly Stone-style funk grooves, with the Neptunes/NERD's "Run to the Sun" swiftly followed here by Nikka Costa's slinky "Everybody Got Their Something", on which burbling clavinet and loping bass ride the simplest of drum-machine patterns. It's just one of several highlights that mark out Costa as a name for the future – though given her pedigree, that's hardly a surprise. The daughter of the top producer/arranger Don Costa (Sinatra, Bennett), Nikka recorded her first single aged five, her first album two years later, and by the age of 15 she was a showbiz veteran with three albums under her belt. She even recorded a duet with Frank Sinatra for Nancy Reagan's children's foundation, but has since switched allegiances to the swingbeat-soul community, singing with the likes of Macy Gray, Erykah Badu and D'Angelo, and eventually signing to the latter's Cheeba Sound label. This adult debut showcases the embarrassment of riches at her disposal. Costa moves smoothly between a slow, gospel-blues ballad such as "Just Because" to the sterner stuff of "Hope It Felt Good", on which she sounds like an old-school soul belter with rock attitude, in the vein of Etta James. Mostly, though, Everybody Got Their Something features the infectious Soulquarian jazz-soul twitch, with the Roots's Anthony "Questlove" Thompson furthering his own reputation as one of the most distinctive new drummers around. Recommended.