Born Andre Levins, 29 August 1982, Hempstead, New York, USA. Another in a long line of "child rappers", including Da Youngsta's and Shyheim, A+ was just 13 years old at the time of his debut, The Latch-Key Child. The first artist signed to Kedar Entertainment (headed by Kedar Massenburg, manager of D'Angelo), he stated his intention was to ". . . grab all the latch-key kids and bring them in. I want to let them know that they don't have to live like that." As a testament to this "far-sightedness", his record company provided a full-time tutor during the record's promotion. The album included contributions from Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest), Prodigy (Mobb Deep) and AZ. A+ initially fostered hopes of becoming a professional football player, but soon began imitating Leaders Of The New School and Onyx in high-school talent contests. He won a national competition sponsored by Def Jam Records in 1995, where he was spotted by Massenburg. His debut single, "All I See", saw many hip-hop commentators compare his lucid microphone skills to those of Method Man of the Wu-Tang Clan. After a two year hiatus, A+ returned with the international hit "Enjoy Yourself", which reached UK number 5 in February 1999. The single was an effective introduction to the rapper's adoption of a laid back, swingbeat-influenced style on Hempstead High.
The Latch-Key Child (Kedar/Universal 1996)***, Hempstead High (Kedar/Universal 1999)