A+ “Hempstead High”

A+ “Hempstead High”: Andre Levins better known to us as A+ was born in August 1982 in Hempstead, NY. He won a national talent competition sponsored by Def Jam Records in 1995. Kedar Massenburg’s recording label Kedar Entertainment signed A+ as their first artist before signing other big artists like Erykah Badu, Freestyle Fellowship & D’Angelo, . He explained that the name A+ stood for striving for perfection since he was not really talking about the same things as other young rappers. His debut album “The Latch-Key Child” was released in 1996 when he was just 14 years old. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be 14 years old and recording songs for your debut album with AZ, Mobb Deep & Q-Tip. The album gained him popularity topping the charts at #36 on the Top US Hip-Hop Billboard and #17 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. He followed up with his sophomore album “Hempstead High” named after his local High School in NY. The album dropped on February 9th,1999 and displayed his growth from his debut album 3 years prior.

His biggest single of his career was on “Hempstead High” called “Enjoy Yourself”. It peaked at #63 on billboard Hot 100 and #50 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & tracks chart. The song was instantly familiar since it sampled “A Fifth of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy, and “Enjoy Yourself” by the Jackson 5. It reached the top 5 in the UK Singles chart and also received some attention in Germany & Japan. The album was produced by Bink! & featured guest appearances from Lawrence Page, Mr. Cheeks, Lost Boyz, Canibus, MJG, Chico DeBarge, Carden, Psycho Drama & Erykah Badu. The album peaked at #60 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and #19 on the Top Heatseekers chart. February 9th celebrates the 17th anniversary of the album release.

Johnny V

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