In 1989, at the tender age of 16, Brooklynite Special Ed burst on the scene with enough talent and swagger to stake his claim among hip-hop's big boys. For Special Ed, MC stands for master of cleverness, and Youngest in Charge is replete with it. The gifted manchild boasts a versatile repertoire, using various lyrical styles and rhymes spiked with punchlines and metaphors that indicate wisdom beyond his 16 years. The meat of the album lies in its first three tracks. The opening cut, "Taxing," is Ed's coming-out party as he kicks entertaining verses over a slickly produced, squealing guitar-riff-laced track produced by Howie Tee. The following track is a masterpiece, Ed's claim to hip-hop immortality, "I Got It Made." It's four-plus minutes of artful arrogance, an instant hip-hop classic and anthem for all precocious hip-hop-heads of the era. To round out the trio comes "I'm the Magnificent," a continuation of Ed's bragging rights over a sample from "Shantytown" (off Jimmy Cliff's The Harder They Come soundtrack). Because the first three tracks are so stellar, the rest of the album seems to be something of an afterthought; however, the remainder of the album does contain a few jewels. "The Bush," Ed's ode to his stomping grounds of Flatbush, features a sample of Al Green's "Love and Happiness," while "Think About It" is Ed's warning to those who wish to test his supremacy on the mic. On "Heds and Dreds," Ed flips a dancehall cadence to show his West Indian heritage. Youngest in Charge is a delightful release from a young hip-hop pioneer, a demonstration of the Edenic age of hip-hop when youthful exuberance and expression were highly valued.
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AllMusic Review by M.F. DiBella