Written By: Andrew Sedo
Originality: (3 / 5) Vocals/Flow: (3.5 / 5) Lyrics: (4 / 5) Production: (4.5 / 5) Average: (3.8 / 5)
Portland’s Aminé already has a triple platinum single with last year’s “Caroline”. You’ve probably heard this ode to a titular female that is equal parts entrancingly boppy stutter step, and R&B wave. On his full length debut, Good For You, Aminé shows his ability to flip from serious subject matter to harmless fun at a moment’s notice. A quick peek at the album’s cover art shows Aminé sitting, pants down, on a bright blue toilet reading the newspaper. At the risk of reading too much into a playful image, it satirizes the role of media in a post “fake news” ecosystem. Thus, the goal of Aminé’s debut is rightfully, first and foremost, to entertain. Over 14 tracks, the LA transplant does not disappoint.
On the opening “Veggies”, a grandiose score gives way to Aminé ’s transcendent ability to craft a sing along that reaches something deeper than just mindless entertainment. In an era where hip-hop is seemingly bifurcated between the willfully mindful, and the lovably mindless, Aminé finds a middle ground. As the respectful reminiscence of “Veggies” gives way to the joyous “Yellow”, we see Aminé ’s ability to formulate chuckle inducing punchlines over jumpy irresistible production as he says “Stuntin’ with my dogs, like my first name’s Crewella …./ White girls love me like my first name’s Coachella.” While it may not be the peak of contemporary lyricism, it takes a serious cynic to finish Good For You with firmly pursed lips.
“Hero” is a Chance the Rapper-lite ballad that Aminé , somehow, manages to push past one play status with wildly successful key changes and wordplay to match the duality of the difficult, yet relatable, subject matter. “Spice Girl” is a catchy reappropriation 90’s babies will appreciate, and will have serious rap purists running for cover. This is the beauty of Aminé’s use of style to overcome labels with ease. “STFU” is an auto-tuned R&B song, that simply works within it’s tried and true framework. So is the case with “Wedding Crashers”, a braggadocious middle finger to all of our exes that have moved on to matrimony. Back to back tracks “Dakota” and “Slide” have Aminé moving from classic funk, to bouncy electronic beats with almost no effort. All that being said, “Sundays”, “Turf”, and “Money” appropriately package aspects of life you’d expect on a much more self-serious record.
Good For You closes with “Beach Boy” which has Aminé reflecting on his eminently mortal nature, while maintaining a semblance of enjoyability. The nature of Good For You is contained in the multiple meanings of it’s title. It is assuredly good for you in the way it lifts your spirits. Also, moments of true introspection help to provide useful mental exercise. However, at its core it is also a sarcastic nod to Aminé’s disregard for those with strident opinions of what hip-hop music should be. As an artist he’s making the music he wants and has the ability to transcend genre while tackling a variety of serious issues. That should be good enough for everyone to give it a serious listen beyond the singles.