Over the past few years I’ve kinda disconnected from the more popular, ‘mainstream’ hip-hop scene for the simple reason that I usually find most releases to be too underwhelming for my liking. Portland-based artist Aminé unfortunately fell into the same category with projects like 2017’s Good For You and 2018s ONEPOINTFIVE. Of course I recognise his talent as one of the most interesting voices of this current new wave of artists, the music simply wasn’t for me. However, I decided to give his brand new sophomore album release a shot, and to my surprise Limbo exceeded all expectations to the point where it might be one of the more memorable releases I’ve heard this year. It’s a sonically diverse and dynamic project that sees the young 26 year old push his artistry further than he ever has.
It was the opener that hooked me. The boom-bap sound and incredible sample on “Burden” immediately hit, and he flowed effortlessly throughout, using quirky wordplay and a wonderfully composed introspective verse. “Woodlawn” is a cool, jumpy and dynamic track, while on the short skit “Kobe” he reflects on Kobe Bryant’s passing and how that changed his perspective on life. He left a big part of his childhood with him, valuing his maturity and needing to continue to grow as a human being. It’s one of many introspective thoughts he gives throughout this album, and the way he goes about conveying these thoughts and messages within his music is super relatable and inspiring. “Roots” featuring JID and Charlie Wilson is one of the many highlights for me. Aminé’s introspective verse is crazy and both features, especially the subdued yet poignant contribution from JID showcases the extent of his talents. Reflecting on the root of their being and how love has shaped their being. “Pressure in my Palms” featuring slowthai and Vince Staples is another highlight, a dark and menacing track that flows into a colourful, soulful cut in which Aminé talks about the dealings of pressure in his life and his evolution as an artists and a person. The single “Riri” is actually pretty amazing, a catchy cut that sees him flex his singing skills over a melodic cut that stands out. “Easy” featuring Summer Walker is another colourful cut, beautifully capturing the light and heart of the talented rapper. “Mama” is a sweet track dedicated to his mother, with another crisp and soulful instrumental. He talks about wanting to be a better person and better son on that track, and his self-awareness and love for the people closest to him is so relatable. “Becky” is my favourite track on the album. The beat is crazy, his singing is soulful and potent, while his self-reflective raps on the state of the world, politics and himself hitting so hard throughout the track. “Fetus” featuring Injury Reserve is another emotive moment on the album, especially considering it would be the last contribution from late Injury Reserve member Jordan Alexander Groggs, who sadly passed away on the 29th June this year. Relatable lyricism about being truthful to self, making the most out of the small things in life and the value of it all. “My Reality” is a beautiful closer, with the potent lyrics “My reality is my fantasy” shaping the theme of the track. It’s a soulful and reflective closer to an incredibly cohesive and wildly enjoyable album.
I’m impressed with Aminé’s maturity as an artist, and I’m sure he’s grown a lot on a personal level over the last few years. Limbo is a cohesive and dynamic album showcasing Aminé’s eclecticism and range as an artist, bringing both intricate raps and beautiful vocals that are nothing short of inspiring and wholly impressive. Go support!