• Kwamé Featuring A New Beginning
  • The Boy Genius (Atlantic) 1989 
  • Kwamé and A New Beginning
  • A Day in the Life: A Pokadelick Adventure (Atlantic) 1990 

With one foot in the old school (courtesy of producer Hurby “Luv Bug” Azor) and an easy feel for daisy-age soul-pop, this bright young New York rapper — whose middle-class values aren’t so different from the overtly Afrocentric Native Tongue crew — brings a neat nerdy element to his first album. On The Boy Genius, the 16-year-old Kwamé (Holland) comes off as the lovestruck overachiever next door, a goodnatured and upbeat rhymer with inventive ideas, lightweight beats and easy charm.

A Day in the Life is even better, a colorful and musically diverse self-willed world of polka-dots in the freewheeling “Bone Age.” Although posited as a concept album about the high-schooler’s quotidian existence, the record largely relies on phone messages to connect some of the oh-so-vaguely related autobiographical tales and boasts. If A Day in the Life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, Kwamé’s youthful exuberance and imaginative tracks still make it uncommonly entertaining.

[Paul Nash]