Amine’s Versatility Shines on ‘Good for You’ Album
It takes a lot to make an impression that's lasting in today's rap world, where a crop of new artists emerge daily, and while the verdict may still be out, West Coast rapper Aminé has managed to capture the public's attention seemingly overnight.
His debut single, "Caroline," an upbeat, festive display of the rapper's bubbly personality and knack for catchy refrains, made him one of the bigger crossover stars in music after shooting to No. 11 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. However, the product of Portland, Ore. began to blaze a trail of his own in 2014 with the first of a succession of mixtapes and EP releases, laying the foundation of what has become a budding fan base. His loyal supporters have helped him amass millions of views on YouTube and plays on streaming platforms, as well as a spot on this year's XXL Freshman cover.
With his buzz at a crescendo, Aminé unveils his debut album, Good for You, a vibrant effort that builds on the momentum of "Caroline" while simultaneously proving his waters run deeper than most would predict.
Plush violins and acoustic guitar riffs are employed on the album's introductory selection "Veggies," a breezy selection produced by Dernst "D'Mile" Emile II. "I was up in the night/It never was known/I wanted to try/But I wasn't sure," Aminé reflects, touching on the uncertainty that plagued him during his formative years, in addition to his affinity for the love below, the latter a topic that is prevalent throughout his debut.
Rap rooks have long been known to make favorable comparisons between legends and themselves, and Aminé referencing himself as an offspring of Andre 3000 may give some listeners cause to pause, but although he lacks the ATLien's prenatural lyrical chops, he compensates with his adventurous versatility.
Aminé's meteoric rise may be an improbable one under most circumstances, but given his hometown's lack of a standing within the fabric of hip-hop on a national level makes it reminiscent to that of St. Louis rep Nelly, who burst onto the scene with a multi-platinum single under similar circumstances nearly two decades ago. On the Metro Boomin, Frank Dukes, Murda and Pharrell Williams-produced "Yellow," Aminé drops clever couplets ("Black girls love me ’cause a nigga got some feta/And White girls love me like my first name Coachella") over a cherubic soundscape.
Girlpool contribute vocals and rollicking electric guitars on "Hero," a self-produced jam on which Aminé gives an enthralling performance that will be a pleasant surprise to anyone pegging the newcomer as a one-trick pony.
Good for You is a debut that mirrors Aminé's affable personality for the majority of its duration, but also includes a hefty serving of food for thought on standout deep cuts like "Sundays." Produced by Southside and Aminé, and featuring vocals courtesy of Leon Bridges, "Sundays" is a percussion-heavy number over which the rapper delivers a rhyme spill that is as intricate as it is zany, with mentions of nudists and Stanley Kubrick giving his opening stanza additional character.
"I look around and I see nothing in my neighborhood/Not satisfied, don't think I'll ever wanna stay for good," he delivers on the Malay-produced "Turf," a song which captures Aminé rhyming from the perspective of where nostalgia and sociopolitical matters intersect. Lamenting the effect gentrification has had on his neighborhood, he croons, "I look around and I see nothing in my neighborhood," later noting, "They kickin' out the Blacks and all the houses getting clones." These observations help make "Turf" among the more impactful salvos on Good for You.
Having made his name off the strength of his own artistry in an era when wins can be largely attributed to association, Aminé spreads the wealth on his debut, calling in a short, albeit diverse list of collaborators to add their own wrinkles to the proceedings. Charlie Wilson, who provides additional vocals on "Turf," pops up once more on "Dakota," while fellow West Coaster Kehlani swoops in for "Heebiejeebies," a syrupy duet produced by Jahaan Sweet. The track is a piano-laden groove that rivals "Caroline" in terms of replay factor. The third single released from Good for You, "Heebiejeebies," along with the Offset-assisted "Wedding Crashers," is indicative of Aminé's prowess and potential as a hitmaker, and closes the album on an explosive note.
Coming out of the gate with a hit record like “Caroline,” which has gone three-times platinum, without the buildup that comes from being lauded by critics and tastemakers may leave some hip-hop fans skeptical of whether Aminé is the real deal or not. But Good for You proves his meteoric rise up the charts is far from the start of the ending and more of precursor of what’s to come. His versatility shines as he offers feel-good moments with more thought-provoking material. Wielding his wide-ranging skillset throughout the album’s 15 songs, Portland’s great hope blazes his own trail with his debut, an expansive dive into the life and times of an underdog that has the makings of a star.
See Behind-the-Scenes Photos of Aminé at 2017 XXL Freshman Shoot