A-maz-on : Da Newest Kid on the Block: Freshman 101
Regardless of how you feel about 92Q's DJ K-Swift and the roster of young rappers on her Next Level label, they're tremendously popular with the radio-listening youth of Baltimore, selling out shows and blowing up request lines. But it remains to be seen whether the Next Level movement will succeed on a national scale, with Young Leek's career stalled after an initial wave of hype and a Def Jam deal that ultimately went nowhere. In the meantime, another teen MC from the camp, A-maz-on, has landed an Interscope contract. And while he's yet to hit with a single as infectious as Leek's "Jiggle It," A-maz-on is seeking to solidify his rising profile with this underground release.
Da Newest Kid on the Block is the kind of mixtape that just-signed major label artists tend to drop--the bulk of A-maz-on's original songs are being saved for the eventual album, so for now you get freestyles over tracks you already know. It's hard to judge A-maz-on's abilities based on his remakes of radio hits like "Lip Gloss" and "Walk It Out," where he mostly mimics the flows of the rappers who made the original tracks famous, but A-maz-on's own tracks like "Pose 4 Da Camera" at least prove he can write a sharp hook. And another young Baltimore rapper, Test-Me, handily steals the spotlight on the "This Is Why I'm Hot" freestyle with a raspy verse reminiscent of Lil Wayne.
Still, Da Newest Kid on the Block would be a perfectly average mixtape if not for one regrettable mixing decision. A sound bite of A-maz-on making a nasal "ayyyy" sound, mixed at incredibly high volume, is dropped into nearly every song at random intervals--roughly 50 times over the course of an hour. It lurks around every corner. It will haunt you in your sleep. And it renders A-maz-on's introduction virtually unlistenable.