A review of the sophomore album by Aminé
Limbo, was admittedly, my first in-depth introduction to Aminé. We’ve all heard the radio hits like “Caroline”, but this was the first project of his that I’ve indulged in. From here, we review the sophomore album from the Portland native.
This album certainly has a new school flow to it. Newer rap and hip hop artist tend to “mumble” (a debatable term) and conjoin with a melody in order to appeal to a generic sound rather than being precise in their approach. However, this album differs in the quality and control of the verses. It has this sort of “laziness” to the delivery in some instances but the message is clear and concise. I guess you could consider this a “safe” album given how simple the themes are but even so, I still haven’t stopped listening.
Aminé references several important themes throughout the album that ultimately tie back to the name of the album, Limbo. At first thought, the name could refer to a religious aspect or (by definition) could be a feeling of uncertainty while awaiting a decision. He also harps on Kobe Bryant (RIP), poverty, his roots, love, and sex.
In perhaps the most sentimental song of the album, the artist describes how thankful he is for his mother. Very similar to the theme of Tupac’s “Dear Mama” — no doubt a west coast influence — “Mama” is essentially a letter addressed to Aminé’s mother. How grateful he is and how important her support was is vital to the message of the song. Though it never seems like we can, he hopes to finally repay his mother as recompense for his success.
The tantalizing experimentation of flow and lyricism in this album is incredible. Almost every feature was necessary while also being complementary. JID perfectly complemented Aminé on “Roots”. His smooth lyricism combines with the engaging hook by Charlie Wilson made this one of the best songs on the album. The “Shimmy” sample is hit or miss among most music critics however, I love it. The Ol’ Dirty Bastard sample is so addicting and makes me wish the song was longer than a couple minutes.
I think that “Pressure In My Palms” (PIMP), is the unheralded best song on the album. Aminé speaks viciously on his verse threatening to commit crimes based on simple manners such as Steve Harvey pronouncing his name wrong. Plainly, he is coming for throats.Though short lived, slowthai’s verse was enticing and brought an up and coming name onto the track. Lastly, Vince Staples closed out the last verse with a similar vicious anger mixed with comedic relief.
This album has everything those classic albums contain: the radio bangers, the emotionally distressing songs, the perfect use of a 90’s sample, and layers upon layers of bars. The one knock I have on this project is the slight dip off in quality in the latter third of the album. If you were breaking down the album into sections of three or four songs, the last one would be the weakest. Regardless, I think this album will age incredibly well and I am excited to hear more from Aminé.