“When your skin darker, sh*t gets harder. This a black album, like Shawn Carter,” Aminé immediately sets the tone on “Burden,” a cut from his “sophomore-ish” album, “Limbo.” Navigating through Aminé’s mind processing the loss of childhood hero, basketball icon Kobe Bryant, reaching his mid-late twenties (& the crisis that comes with this chapter), and the overall pursuit of meaningful relationships, Limbo elevates the young, Portland rapper’s artistry furthermore.
Released on Friday (Aug. 7) the project holds 14 songs and runs for 45 minutes. Containing a decorative list of features, Aminé taps forces such as Young Thug, Summer Walker, J.I.D., Vince Staples, Charlie Wilson, and more. While still containing the charismatic, distinct flow that garnered him such success, Limbo is the embodiment of being stuck in a midlife crisis (or being in limbo if you will). Wrestling with finally reaching adulthood, goals for the person you want to be and the type of person you want to be with, Limbo is introspective at heart.
Following two years after 2018’s ONEPOINTFIVE project and three years after his 2017 debut album, Good For You, Limbo is in essence… darker. The album addresses Aminé’s pain and growth since his initial arrival. While heavier, it is still so very much enjoyable.
Evaluation and reflection are two big themes throughout the album. On “Woodlawn” Aminé raps about growing up in Portland, Oregon and his roots in his neighborhood of Woodlawn. While looking at how much he has grown and how successful he is now, he stays humble as he traces back to his earlier roots. As the album treks along, listeners hear various lyrics paying homage to the late Kobe Bryant. So, it’s only right that the album’s only interlude focuses on the iconic basketball star. “Kobe” describes every young man’s thoughts and feelings with the tragic loss of Kobe back in January. Here, Jak Knight gives a quick monologue sharing how the painful loss has generated much maturation and growth essentially.
It weirdly, like, fast-forwarded my maturityjak knight on “Kobe” by Aminé
It weirdly was like one of those things where, like
He died and I feel like my, like, a lot of my innocence
In, like, being a young person died with Kobe
And now, like, with him being gone, I’m like
Let me figure out how money works
Let me figure how, like, how to buy a house
And how to move…
Another standout from the album arrives at the classic-appealing “Roots.” Teaming with J.I.D. and the legendary Charlie Wilson, Aminé again reflects on his heritage. He looks back on the elements that make him… him. The three heavily compare their roots to that of a physical plant’s roots.
Multifaceted and versatile, Aminé’s ability to switch up the flow at any given moment is incredible. On records such as on the bass-booming lead single, “Shimmy,” and “Pressure In My Palms,” Aminé unleashes a level of teeth-gritting intensity. His bars are passionate and intentional. He makes it utterly clear that nobody is in his lane. However, in the next, he becomes gentle and light on the silky “Easy” duet with Summer Walker crooning about making relationships work even in dark times. Both his flow and choice of production commands each track.
He maintains his radio appeal with anthems like “Compensating” and the contagious, “RiRi.” Possessing a quality reminiscent of Drake, Aminé successfully creates whatever vibe he wants for himself.
The gentleness returns on one of the most cherished moments of Limbo. On the maternal-focused “Mama,” Aminé pulls at listeners heartstrings showing love to his biggest supporter and cheerleader, his mother. In a candid interview with Trey Alston & Vulture, Aminé actually shared that he hadn’t yet played this track for his mother in fear of making her cry (with joy).
“My number one fan, I’m your number one man. When I thought that I couldn’t you told me that I can.”Mama by Aminé
As Limbo ends,: Aminé’s flow grows even more tenacious. “Becky” tells the story of a young Aminé engaging in an interracial relationship with a white girl. From this, it brings conflict with both his and her families. To make matters worse, she really cannot relate to/understand him and he sees it not worth the stress. On “Fetus,” he battles with potential parenthood and all of the layers that come with it. The album’s final track, “My Reality” finds Aminé gracing an appreciative tone. He reflects on his life thus far, how much he’s accomplished, and making his dreams a true reality.
Overall, Limbo might be one of the most solid releases of the year (so far). Since releasing his debut album in 2017, Aminé has not missed yet. Each project showcases a perspective of the now 26-year-old. His growth shows in each release and he brings a memorable aspect to each of his works. Honestly, stop sleeping on Aminé because he truly is a force within the industry. Limbo is yet another spectacle within the young artist’s discography. It brings a higher level of seriousness and relatability that will resonate with young people (more specifically, young men). His flow, execution, and delivery place him in a lane that separates him from his competition.
Growing up can be scary and Aminé lets us know that we are not alone as we journey through life. He places his convictions, flaws, and insecurities throughout Limbo and shows us that even he has felt (or may still be feeling) stuck. Limbo brings about thought. It is insightful and very conscious but still very fun. With each song, listeners develop a new favorite on each play. Like a fine wine, every play gets better with time. Because of this, Limbo receives an 8/10.