Aminé lets his personality shine with his latest project, “Limbo,” as his eccentric vocal delivery about real-world issues are emphasized by a smooth, genre-bending production.
Aminé is a rapper from Portland, Oregon, who first came to prominence in 2016 with his hit single, “Caroline.” The song became the lead single for his debut album, “Good For You,” which released the following year in 2017. That same year, Aminé was named as part of the XXL Freshman Class, exposing his music to an even wider audience.
Aminé followed up his debut album in 2018 with the mixtape, “OnePointFive,” which included the artist’s next viral single, “Reel It In,” among other commercially successful tracks.
Aminé had quite the impressive discography to follow up, and on his sophomore effort, “Limbo,” he does not disappoint.
The album starts strong right from the opening track, “Burden.” On the track, Aminé raps about the hardships of Black people living in the United States over a beat that features a haunting and soulful vocal riff that is repeated throughout the entire song.
Aminé makes references to the legalization of marijuana and the incarceration of Black people for recreational drug use. He even references systemic racism within the police system and the death of George Floyd.
“Man, I’d rather die before I give up / Keep my [expletive] foot on they necks and never let up,” he raps.
The standout production continues in the following track, “Woodlawn,” on which Aminé raps about his lavish lifestyle while also remembering his Portland roots. Aminé’s fast-paced vocal delivery on this track is strengthened by the fluttering flute instrumentation backing it.
The track, “Can’t Decide,” features lyrics in which Aminé speaks about a complicated relationship while being backed by smooth Latin guitar instrumentation.
Another track with memorable production is “Shimmy.” The song features a driving beat supported by a distorted vocal harmony singing the same two notes throughout the track. Lyrically, Aminé raps about his musical prowess and how he’s superior to other rappers. The impressive part of this is that he’s able to fit so many bars and disses into one of the shortest tracks on the entire album, clocking in at merely two minutes and 14 seconds long.
“Limbo” also contains plenty of memorable features from other contemporary hip-hop artists.
The track “Roots” is a much slower song where Aminé raps about his own origins and those of Black people in general, while also making clever puns between origin roots and literal roots of plants.
“I’m not a succulent or a sucker, baby girl / These roots made me, I bring my flowers to the world,” he raps.
The chorus of “Roots” features vocals from the legendary Charlie Wilson, who adds soul and passion behind Aminé’s vocals. The song also has a rap verse from Dreamville Records rapper, JID. Normally known for his fast-paced, tongue-twisting delivery, JID opts to go with a much slower and nuanced flow which pays off and shows his versatility as a rapper.
The track, “Compensating,” features a verse from rapper Young Thug, who provides a speedy, eccentric delivery that nicely juxtaposes Aminé’s relaxed, even-toned delivery on the opening verse.
“Pressure In My Palms” is one of my favorite songs on the entire record. Aminé opens the track by making numerous 2000s pop culture references. Some of those include Britney Spears shaving her head, Steve Harvey announcing the wrong winner at the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, Winona Ryder being convicted of shoplifting in 2001 and the infamous Malice at the Palace NBA brawl in 2004.
Aminé even uses the title of the track to reference the Internet meme of the cartoon Arthur’s clenched fist, saying he has, “more pressure in my palms than Arthur.”
The track is further strengthened by its guest verses. The first feature is from British rapper Slowthai, whose vocal delivery pairs perfectly with the song’s fast, bass-driven beat. The only thing wrong here is that his verse lasts a mere 10 seconds, ending almost as soon as it begins.
Vince Staples follows immediately after, and while his verse is longer than Slowthai’s contribution, Staples raps for just over 20 seconds. Although the track would have benefitted from longer verses from the pair, they still make their impact on the song.
R&B singer Summer Walker features prominently on the song, “Easy,” a slow track about a failing relationship, while rap group, Injury Reserve, perform with Aminé on the track, “Fetus,” where they talk about themes of having children, including unexpected teen pregnancy and whether they want to bring a child into the current state of the world.
Aminé presents an overall solid effort on “Limbo.” While the production may be what catches the attention of listeners at first, it’s the real issues presented in the lyrics that will hook them and get them to stay. Aminé presents a unique perspective on this album, and for that, “Limbo,” is well worth the listen.