Aminé: OnePointFive Album Review

For anyone familiar with Aminé’s work beyond his viral (borderline meme) hit, “Caroline,” you should be able to recognize the young Oregon rapper’s artistic versatility. In a market oversaturated by pop rappers riding waves or desperately trying to create new ones, Aminé seems to have carved out his own lane as a charismatic rapper and capable singer.

Unfortunately for Aminé, pure technical ability as a rapper, passable vocal chops, and inconsistent production aren’t enough to keep even a 34 minute project interesting.

While not a tremendous step backwards for the artist, OnePointFive lacks the polished production, inspired performances, and attention to detail that made Good For You such a successful commercial debut. Aminé’s willingness to rap over unorthodox melodically complex instrumentals like  “STFU,” and “Veggies” on Good For You seems to have dissipated on OnePointFive.

Rather than hone in on production that ebbs and flows cohesively with Aminé’s hooks and verses, some instrumentals like “HICCUP” sound like hastily thrown together Playboi Carti type beats you could find for free on Youtube.

In all honesty, generic trap instrumentals with lazy synth leads and 808 patterns don’t necessarily make for boring music, but Aminé’s disinterested performance and Gunna’s incoherent mess of a feature made the barely three-minute track feel like an hour of mind-numbing auditory anesthesia.

Another lowlight in the project was the track “WHY?” Like “HICCUP,” the beat for this track sounded recycled. Aminé managed to deliver fiery verses with unpredictable flows, but it was somewhat grating sitting through what sounded like a slightly sped up throwaway Migos beat. Aminé’s auto-tune drenched delivery also came off somewhat awkward.

Beyond the monotony of “HICCUP,” and “WHY?” OnePointFive is a generally positive mixed bag of well-crafted melodies, genre-bending musical detours, and detail oriented performances.

A defining high point in the project and Aminé’s catalog as a whole is the opening track “DR. WHOEVER.” The minimal instrumental consists of a hypnotizing vocoder loop, a simple keyboard progression, and 16th note hi-hats to keep time for Aminé’s verse.

Lyrics like “Man, I’ve thought about suicide a hundred times/but I’d hate to disappoint and see my mama cry,” expose darkness and struggle that the 24-year-old artist seldom explores publicly.  Fittingly, Aminé’s vulnerability quickly shifts to unapologetic confidence once the bass and drums hit at around the 2:20 mark.

The brash cockiness and swagger that Aminé peppers throughout many of his verses and hooks can add infectious charisma and bounce to his music, but they also can feel out of place following moments of deep introspection.

Listening to Aminé passionately open up his soul with prodigious melodies and lyricism over angelic production on “TOGETHER,” is a beautiful example of what he’s capable of, but the track preceding it “RATCHET SATURN GIRL,” while unquestionably a banger, lands on the opposite end of the tonal spectrum, making the project’s conclusions somewhat disorientating and disjointed.

At only 24 years old and two full-length commercial projects in, Aminé has more than proven himself as a unique talent with much potential. While OnePointFive is a slight step backward for the young rapper artistically, I foresee a bright future in hip-hop for the Oregon native.

7.1/10

-Andrew

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