Republic Records· August 15, 2018
Aminé’s “EPLPMIXTAPEALBUM” is one step forward and two steps back.
The Republic Records signee known as Aminé hit it big with ‘Caroline’ in 2016 and received mostly positive reviews on his gold certified debut album Good for You in 2017. He’s also demonstrated a quirky creativity, evident in the music video for his single ‘REDMERCEDES,’ and a knack for political consciousness on his late night performance of ‘Caroline.’ Unfortunately, most of what lead to the above mentioned achievements – sticky ear-worm hits, out of the box artistic edge, and a finger on the pulse of modern issues – is nowhere to be found on ONEPOINTFIVE. The promotional video for what he dubs an “EPLPMIXTAPEALBUM,” Aminé pokes fun at the perplexing and often meaningless distinctions that rappers make between albums, mixtapes, and EPs (often to cover up a flop in their discography). But the self-awareness of this trend doesn’t change the fact that Aminé is essentially guilty of the same thing.
Aminé starts off fairly strong with the melancholy ‘DR. WHOEVER,’ where he laments about suicide, depression, and getting older. Aminé attempts to balance opening up and heartfelt lyrics with maintaining his braggadocios nature throughout ONEPOINTFIVE, and the opening track is a good example of how it doesn’t always work. Lines about how long Aminé’s paper is simply feel out of place on an otherwise downtrodden track. In fact, the amount of times that you can find Aminé flexing his wealth on this project is disappointing when you consider his commentary on consumerism ‘Money’ from his 2017 debut. Aminé must have forgotten about this song, since cuts like ‘REEL IT IN’ and ‘BLACKJACK’ serve essentially no purpose but to remind the audience that Aminé is rich. ‘CHINGY’ is not much more than a generic trap banger, as is ‘HICCUP,’ which is hardly elevated by the Gunna feature, who sounds like a discount 21 Savage. After a while, Aminé’s formula starts to show. Step one: talk about your money. Step two: insert a pop culture reference. Step three: do it all with a decent flow over tight production. Make more money, the cycle continues.
This isn’t to say the project is all bad, and that the things which made Aminé stand out from his contemporaries on Good for You aren’t completely absent. ‘WHY?’ takes us back to the more sensitive Aminé, and unlike ‘DR. WHOEVER,’ it manages to flex without sacrificing this sensitivity on lines like “I just bought my momma a new whip, straight cash / I pay my taxes, so it hurts my racks / I hate when n***as say, “chill out”, and they ain’t got no chill / They let me skip the DMV line, that’s when I knew it was real.” Then we go straight into another standout track with ‘SHINE’ which opens with what’s probably my favorite lyric: “I fuck up like everyday, I fuck up in every way / I fuck up like when I pull up on Sunday at Chick-Fil-A.” The track shows off Aminé’s decent vocal chops, and demonstrates his ability to flip from sympathetic to charismatic in a heartbeat.
Other enjoyable highlights come towards the end of the project like ‘SUGARPARENTS,’ where Rico Nasty takes the trophy for best feature, and Aminé puts a slight spin on his flexing by clarifying that although he does have a considerable amount of money, he will NOT be spending it on women. ‘STFU2’ is an update to ‘STFU’ from his first album, and whoever he was addressing there must not have shut up since the sequel is far more chaotic and energetic. Then we get the clever ‘RATCHET SATURN GIRL’ which has two halves, one “ratchet” and one “saturn” where Aminé shows he can dance around contemporary styles, switching from Tyler to Frank in a single track. But these highlights are guilty of a common sin on this project: they’re just too short, and rather than feeling like fun, bite sized song nuggets, they just come off as underwritten.
Overall, Aminé’s EPLPMIXTAPEALBUM is one step forward and two steps back. But as the title suggests, this is hopefully just a stepping stone from his freshman to sophomore project. I’ll be crossing my fingers that whatever he releases next will be more developed and showcase all of what Aminé has to offer.