June 26, 2016

A+ "The Latch-Key Child" (The Source, 10/96)

"In general, I feel that emcees who aren't tall enough to ride a rollercoaster shouldn't wield microphones. Far too many infants of hip-hop past have proven to be one-hit wonders, but if 13-year old A+ represents the future of hip-hop, then there's hope. A+ brings no cotton candy rhyme, no walk-in-the-park r&b hooks, no glocks, no blunts, no lies, no curses and no bullshit, just semi-tight tracks and believable lyrics from what may be one of the future's finest. Don't let the fact that he's only 13 prohibit you from giving the album a chance. A+ makes more sense on one track than many of today's more "mature' mic holders do on a whole album. Songs like "Me and my Microphone," featuring Q-Tip on the hook, and "A to Z," featuring the once lyrical AZ, prove this adolescent has caught the attention of today's headliners. To further illustrate the point, listen to "Gusto," the tight album pick featuring Prodigy of Mobb Deep doing a your-turn-my-turn routines with A+ over an eerie bass-n-drum track." Check out the visuals to "All I See," cont'd below...

"The most radio friendly joints on her have to be "Party Joint" and "All I See," both of which ultilize the sample-an-old-school-beat-and-sing-a-hook trend that's been killing hip-hop and R&B; however, an exceptional hook from 14-year old newcomer Shakira on "All I See" should have that joint rocking at its intended targets: parties, clubs... Tracks like "Alpha to Omega," "Parkside Coalition" and "Wannabe Rich" give this album an extra lift towards the "must-have" status. Question: If this kid has caught the attention and respect of today's hip-hop luminaries, will he be able to catch yours? Probably. With a no-nonsense appeal and a no-bullshit rhyme flow, he'll definitely be giving the average 20+ emcee a run for his props. The phrase "age ain't nothing but a number" kicks in throughout this entire album. A+ isn't amazing, but he is impressive. Funny how this kid might just teach some older cats how to properly possess a mic and kick it." - The Source, October 1996.