• Michael M

In Limbo with Aminé

Ethiopian-Eritrean-American Portland rapper Aminé has released his ”official” sophomore album Limbo. The album follows up his 2017 debut Good For You, which featured the infectious multi-platinum single “Caroline,” and his 2018 mixtape/EP/LP/album, aptly named, ONEPOINTFIVE.

Good For You showed Aminé to the world, as a bright and promising young star, destined to make his own lane creating feel-good rap. ONEPOINTFIVE, by contrast, utilized experimental sounds while leaning into older-school braggadocio. It showed the rapper post “Caroline” and Good For You success, examining themes of fame and depression.

The ONEPOINTFIVE era came to an end with Aminé’s 2019 freestyle “Places + Faces” in which he mused on the whirlwind that comes with quickly becoming a bankable artist and established rapper, exploring his relationship with his native Portland and the people in it. 

Limbo is not exactly a return to form from Aminé, but it balances the two sides we’ve seen well. The singles “Shimmy,” “Riri,” and “Compensating” are songs destined to be sung on a night out with people you love, in the same way “Caroline,” “Spice Girl,” and “Wedding Crashers” served that purpose on Good For You. Reflection is emphasized on the track “Kobe,” which serves as a meditation on the passing of Kobe Bryant, and “Mama,” which is an ode to the rapper’s mother. 

The album features a diverse group of collaborators, made up of JID, Charlie Wilson, Young Thug, slowthai, Vince Staples, Summer Walker (with a particularly beautiful duet), and Injury Reserve. It's clear Aminé can attract A+ talent, but this album makes it clear that he does not need any assists to shine.