Limbo: Growth and Development in 2020

Max Jung, Staff Writer

 Although Aminé has had a handful of great songs in his past two projects, the best word to describe him would be inconsistent. Aminé’s songs vary from funny and clever with good vocals, to having awkward instrumentals that don’t fit his voice. Overall I would still  argue that Aminé has continued to be a good artist, and I was excited about his new album “Limbo”, especially after hearing some of the singles like “Shimmy,” “Riri,” and “Compensating.”  After listening, I would definitely say that “Limbo” is a more consistent and cohesive album but with few weak moments. 

The third song on the album is actually a 40-second interlude titled “Kobe” and it’s here where Aminé talks about how he was affected by the death of Kobe Bryant. In the song, he goes into detail about how the death “fast-forwarded” his development or maturity. One would assume that the whole album from this point then would be attempting to be more mature and thought-provoking, but honestly, most of the tracks still would have fit fine on Aminé’s earlier albums. Although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it definitely was a missed opportunity for others to take him more seriously by building a more coherent tone. That being said, there still are a few great songs that show Aminé’s growth and maturity.

The song “Fetus” featuring Injury Reserve is the best example of Amine’s growth because he talks about being a good parent. Notably, it asks if it would be wrong to bring someone into the world as a parent given its current state. The song includes a verse from J. Groggs of Injury Reserve, and he talks about trying to be a good parent in the limited time people have. His verse is not only compelling on its own but has an added sense of sadness since J. Groggs had died earlier this year. Lyrics like “At what point you hang the gloves up and put your tie on?” hit pretty hard as a result.

Two other great songs that show off Aminé’s growth are “Roots” and “Burden.” “Roots” uses its theme of plants and growth to make a fun song, mentioning giving “flowers to the world” and “photosynthesizing” to grow and improve using everything you have. It also has a great feature verse from JID, and gets it instrumental and ethereal vocals from Charlie Wilson. “Burden” uses its Kanye inspired instrumental and introspective lyrics and themes to be a great opener for the album. It mentions black culture, Aminé’s friend who had a baby at 25, and how disconnected Aminé’s been with his religion, just to name a few. Needless to say it’s a dense song. Two songs that are a bit more questionable are “Becky” and “Easy.” “Easy” suffers from being a lazy love song that feels awkward with Aminé’s performance, like it was meant for someone else. Most of the love songs Aminé has tried to make feel like they’re missing something important and this is no exception. The feature from Summer Walker doesn’t add too much, but the song would probably be worse without her, so it works. “Becky” is a song focused on Aminé’s relationship with his white girlfriend and the troubles with an interracial relationship. While it sounds interesting, it suffers from not really saying anything impactful, except for its idea of carrying a burden in a relationship that the other person doesn’t know about. This idea works, but it isn’t explored much and feels like an afterthought. Overall these songs aren’t even really bad, they just miss the mark a little bit.

Ultimately I think Limbo is a solid album and a good step forward for Aminé. Ever since he first started out with Good For You and being marked as a XXL freshman in 2017, it’s been clear that he has a lot of potentials, it’s now about him fully utilizing it. Limbo isn’t the best album in the world and there’s a lot of room to improve, but it’s definitely more consistent and shows that Aminé has room to grow. I’m looking forward to seeing what Animé has to offer next.