You might not think you're in for the most serious performance, musically or otherwise, when the first thing you see is a guy playing a keyboard that is literally covered in bananas. It's probably safe to say Portland rapper Amine
disproved that idea with his appearance on The Tonight Show
last night. Amine used his banana-board to lay down the core of his catchy single "Caroline," which has blown up in the past few months with millions of streams. Clad in a pale yellow leather jacket, more tribute to the banana theme, the rapper bopped through "Caroline" backed by live guitar and drums, background singers, and even a string sextet. The unfortunate self-censorship that comes with TV performance slowed down the first refrain just a little, but couldn't stop Amine from having a good time with it.
Live instrumentation with hip-hop always brings interesting results, and it did not fail Amine on this one. "Caroline" takes on an unexpected quality of sophistication when you see live strings, but it doesn't take away from the bouncy energy that gives the song life. Amine also mentioned prior to the performance that everyone onstage other than the sextet was Portland-based, so we know he's not short on love for his hometown. Every part of the song came together beautifully for Amine's TV debut, but the real highlight came with something brand new at the very end of "Caroline." Amine took his chance to make a statement about the election and the environment of the country right now with an impassioned verse. There's no way we could cut this message, so here's the whole thing.
"9/11, a day that we never forgettin'
11/9, a day that we all regrettin'
If my president is Trump then it's relevant enough
to talk 'bout it on TV and not give a (fuck)
I'm black, and I'm proud
My skin is brown and I'm loud
Everybody love it when a rapper tell some lies
Well that ain't me homie, I guess that's a surprise
America wanna act all happy and holy
When deep down inside they like Brad and Jolie
Caroline divine and I won't get specific
Club Banana the illest and it's too terrific
You could never make America great again
All you ever did was make this country hate again."
If we had any doubts about Amine's serious side, he put them to rest real quick with this one. Right out of the gate, this young rapper isn't about to miss a chance to express himself. This is the kind of honesty and pride people need to be hearing from artists everywhere. Amine's beautiful symphony of joyful music and deep honesty hits home, as "Caroline" goes to the next level. Watch the performance above, and let the good vibes and the powerful words sink in.