Melissa Jiménez has little room to fool around. And yes, sadly, in that way. The 22-year-old sugary spice has forever kept the company of protective men. During her teens, the Queens, New York-born, New Jersey-raised beauty rolled with two of hip-hop's most-storied and male-dominated - camps, Ruff Ryders and Roc-A-Fella. "If I had to go to the bathroom or to McDonald's for a burger," recalls the Mexican-Greek hybrid, "they'd be all jumping out of the car to come with me."

Things have hardly changed. These days, Jiménez keeps her father and manager, Horacio, within arm's reach. The familial partnership has proved fruitful; last year, Horacia's baby secured appearances on Latina-loving Wyclef Jean's Carnival Vol. II: Memoirs of an Immigrant. Now she's prepping her SRC/Universal debuted, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, a soulful affair that's equal parts two-step, balladry and catcalling. She's fond of saying, "Give it to me, Daddy," that's for sure.

Does your manager-father have any Joe Simpson-like, creepy stage-dad moments?
I was like, "Dad, I'm doing a magazine." He replied, "That's great! Which one?" "KING." Then silence. "No, Dad. I appreciate this opportunity. We're compromising and keeping it sexy and classy." Then we're on the set and I'm walking out the dressing room, and he's like, "Absolutely not! Over my dead body!" He had his back to me the whole time I was taking pictures.

Unlike every other man in attendance
At the end of the day, he was very happy. Now he's cool and so appreciative. He was just like, "Please don't show her cheeks - just the ones on her face."

The lack of backshot is his fault! That scoundrel!
I really am happy to say that my father is far from that typical, cliché manager dad. I call him "Popager," and everyone is used to him. He's on my side like a big brother, a bodyguard and a protector.

And you know all about imposing associates having hung with two of hip-hop's roughest cliques. Ruff Ryders and Roc-A-Fella. Which entourage did you prefer?
My first family, to the day I die, is Ruff Ryders all the way, seeing everything from the ground up and them treating me like a little sister. Just to get that tough love, be a studio rat and soak in everything - I couldn't have asked for a better first family where I actually broke bread. Even to this day, every tiime Swizz [Beatz] sees me, it's the same love.--Jesús Triviño Alarcón

jimenez1.jpgjimenez2.jpg