When a hero passes, a wave of sadness hits, then a deeper sense of purpose emerges. For those who grew up watching Kobe Bryant, the best way to pay homage is perfecting a craft to fully realize your potential. With his sophomore album Limbo, Portland rapper Aminé has harnessed the mamba mentality and created his best work yet.
At 26, Aminé finds himself between childhood and adulthood. He’s enjoyed early success with the hit single “Caroline”, a fun debut album Good For You, and a banging mixtape OnePointFive. Now, the rapper feels the pressure of becoming an artist that’s here to stay. As comedian Jak Knight explains in a skit on Limbo, Kobe’s death pushed Aminé to grow as an adult, evolve as an artist, and finish an album 2 years in the making that marks the biggest jump forward in his career.
Memorializing Kobe throughout the record with references to beloved teammates Metta World Peace, Derek Fisher, and Matt Barnes, Aminé delivers clever one liners and witty wordplay at every turn per usual. But the rapper has leveled up by expanding into different styles and balancing hard hitting verses with melodic R&B hooks. Features by Young Thug, Vince Staples, JID, Summer Walker, Charlie Wilson, slowthai, and Injury Reserve create a diverse project full of layers, sounds, and stories. The album as a whole feels like the product of a higher caliber artist with a more deliberate creative process.
On Limbo, Aminé sounds focused on expanding his game and taking his skills to another level. Kobe would be proud.
Editor’s Picks: “Woodlawn”, “Roots (ft. JID & Charlie Wilson)”, “Pressure In My Palms (ft. slowthai & Vince Staples)”
- Written by Kirk Reed