Aminé Takes his Sound in a Bold, New Direction with Surprise Album,
Evan Dale // Aug 16, 2018
How does an artist respond when their debut single becomes one of the most popular tracks of the year?
They put together a stacked, influential, and excitingly unexpected debut album.
And what happens when that album becomes a staple project setting up not only the artist’s exciting future, but also helping to define a new musical movement?
There is an expectation that they follow it up with a sophomore album somehow living up to and hopefully creatively surpassing their debut.
Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly
Frank Ocean’s Blond
A$AP Rocky’s Testing
But that’s easier said than done. Obstacles meet any artist in the aftermath of their debut full-length. The honeymoon phase of boundless creativity and early fame has ended. In its place, the expectation of critics and the hope of an audience arise. So, when that debut is as defining, innovative, and downright fun as Aminé’s Good For You, expectations aren’t only big, they’re strangely specific. Just look at Rolling Stone’s way of labeling Aminé without even saying his name.
‘Caroline’ rapper returns with his first project since last year’s ‘Good For You’
To be fair, Aminé seems to be blatantly pointing to the fact that ONEPOINTFIVE is not album number two or even that it’s an album specifically, instead calling it a, EP/LP/mixtape/album. Apparently, he doesn’t like labels or distinctions between them.
And that’s a good stance for him to take because though ONEPOINTFIVE very much belongs to his auditory aesthetic, it’s a bold new direction. At first listen, the biggest difference is that it simply feels less fun. There are fewer danceable moments, less bubbly production, a more serious, angsty, at times even angry tone. And again, that’s something he seems to point towards tweeting with the release:
‘tis the season to flex. my humblability (not a word, i know) is out the window
and i don’t care how u feel (but if you feel good, do yo thang, my bad)’
So, with a new attitude and a new direction, Aminé embarks on ONEPOINTFIVE. And we have to be honest. We kind of prefer it.
The playground of the bubble rap spectrum doesn’t quite allow for Aminé to fully exhibit his lyrical prowess, but with ONEPOINTFIVE and its dark, moody texture, lyricism comes first. In fact, it shows him in a light we never knew he had. Good For You was well-penned, but ONEPOINTFIVE is built firmly on his ability to write songs.
But, for fans of Aminé’s earlier work, ONEPOINTFIVE still provides somethings reminiscent. It’s not unfun per se, it just boasts of different energies. CANTU’s foundation is as bouncy as anything he’s ever made. RATCHET SATURN GIRL brings back his lovey-dovey endeavors. But it’s different. Darker, louder, more poignant.
Where ONEPOINTFIVE really thrives is in its existence as a 34-minute anthem. Every track feels like the theme-song to a specific vibe. Every hook is a mood. Every song, even the intro which he clearly explains as not, is a banger. That specific direction must have been purposeful. Caroline was great. It was defining and vibrant and new and fun. But it also had the ability to be incredibly type-casting of an artist with such a broader stretch of strokes to offer.
ONEPOINTFIVE is a new direction because Aminé is sick of being referred to as ‘Caroline’ rapper. And from that lens, ONEPOINTFIVE is a driving success.
From a lyrical lens, it surpasses most everything else being released by a harmony-driven generation of hip-hop artists.
Productively, it’s energetic, swinging, and largely experimental.
As a project, it’s cohesive and a firm step in his creative progression.
Truly, it’s great and we’ll be vibing to it for a while. But, it’s also a reminder that every artist has something more to offer, and that as fans and critics, expectation and hope are both selfish mindsets.
Thankfully, expectation and hope are both met with ONEPOINTFIVE and Aminé’s future is brighter than ever.
Can’t wait to hear what TWOPOINT-O has to offer.