As pretentious as it may sound, sometimes it pays to be one of those people who knew about an artist "before they were popular." I'm not talking about having bragging rights, because we all know no one cares if you started listening to someone in 2012 when they didn't begin gaining mass popularity until 2017 and you wanted to keep them as your little secret. But rather, you get to see someone who you recognized immense potential in early on grow into an established artist. It's a nice feeling for you, and an even greater feeling for them because they've been their own fan since day one, along with the people in their corner who started at the very bottom with them.
On Friday, Portland, Oregon native rapper Aminé
(real name Adam Daniel) will be able to sit back with his day ones and reflect on all of the time and effort put into his debut album as his fans finally experience it in its entirety. So, if you aren't already familiar with Aminé and his art, you still have a few days to get acquainted and join the "I was a fan before the album dropped"
club. You might just be a little closer to the pretentious side than the "I watched them grow"
side. It's fine.
Our first order of business here is a quick pronunciation lesson. If you're out and about, trying to show off how "too cool for mainstream music" you are by plugging how you haven't heard the new Travis Scott track because you've been too busy listening to Aminé, the last thing you want to do is call him by the wrong name. When you go by a name that isn't simple to pronounce, no matter how easy and straightforward it may seem to you, you often experience your name being completely butchered. I've had way too many experiences of substitute teachers taking attendance to not be able to relate. Luckily, Aminé has provided essential content to prevent that very embarrassing moment that was sure to come for everyone who doesn't take accents into account when reading from happening–because Amine isn't the same thing as Aminé.
Now that we've got that out of the way, we can get into who Aminé is, beyond his name. The performer began his chapter as a rapper in high school, although he didn't take it too seriously at the time. In 2014, he got a bit more official with the release of his debut mixtape Odyssey to Me
, which I suppose everyone has collectively agreed to overlook due to the fact that it takes quite a bit of digging to get a hold of online. That project can be written off as Aminé trying to get a feel for his sound and what he wants to make out of his talent, and the true arrival of the performer we know today came in 2015 with Calling Brio,
his new and improved ten track mixtape. At this point, Aminé was still a fairly unknown artist to the world, but he certainly knew himself better as an artist than he previously did. His sound was finally heading in the direction he intended for it to, and he was pumped to take it even further.
Aminé's time as a discreet artist didn't last long once his debut single "Caroline" was released in March of 2016 and began attracting attention from listeners all over the world. Three short months later, Daniel's self-directed video for the track was posted to his Youtube channel and showcased himself and his friends in a genuine feel-good environment, which won over everyone who wasn't already on board. The video was aesthetically attracting, from its array of bright reds and yellows splattered throughout to its display of three carefree black boys screwing around in the backseat of their friends car. Aminé captured the energy of "Caroline" and channeled it into a four minute video that made you wish you had anything to do with the creation of it. The video now has over 178 millions views, which is insane even in comparison to the track's 224 million Spotify plays. When you're as genuine and talented as Aminé is, these numbers aren't difficult to achieve.
The creative results of everything Aminé creates is sure to leave you wondering what exactly is going on in his head, and how he's capable of coming up with so many great ideas in such a short period of time without burning himself out. As he did with "Caroline," Aminé also wrote and directed the music video for his track "REDMERCEDES," which was more reminiscent of a SNL
skit than anything else. You mean to tell me this man is an insanely talented rapper, director, and
he's funny? This gets me so excited for future visual projects that are to come from the artist, as well as the possibility of him being an actual performer or host on SNL
, that would be a truly memorable episode.
While watching the "REDMERCEDES" video, you may notice the stabs Aminé takes at racial perceptions, which isn't an uncommon feature in his work. He does it in a comedic, over-the-top way here, but when looking at "Turf," we see him emotionally stripped down as he looks back on the neighborhood he came from. He speaks here of his parents, his first kiss, and the people he grew up with who don't seem to be going anywhere fast. This shouldn't come as a surprise, as a lot of Aminé's work is oriented around the support he receives from those who have been with him from the very beginning. They all managed to shape his creative process in some way, shape, or form, and it shines through in his vocal and visual projects. His culture created by growing up in an Ethiopian household in Portland has also immensely impacted his work as an artist, which is to be expected when you have that much diversity around you as you're discovering who you are and what you want to be.
All in all, Aminé is a musical force to be reckoned with, and he's just getting started. His debut album, Good For You,
is set to be released on Friday July 28th, and features the aforementioned tracks "Caroline" and "Turf," as well as his collaborations with R&B artist Kehlani
, "Heebiejeebies." Following the album release, Aminé has an upcoming fall US tour
, his first ever headlining tour which Chicago rapper Towkio will be joining him on. I'm certain that everyone in attendance will be in for a good time and an unforgettable night. Now that you have all of this in mind you can jump on the Aminé bandwagon before it becomes a bandwagon.