I’ll be honest, I feel a little weird when I tell people I like Aminé. And that’s not because of his music. Mostly it’s because, on no less than four separate occasions, people have looked at me weird thinking that I was really into Japanese anime.
The Portland rapper Aminé began making waves in mainstream music culture in early 2016 with his tongue and cheek hit “Caroline”, which would eventually go 3x platinum. His success garnered the attention of many in and outside of the music industry. Landing a spot on the 2017 XXL Freshman cover cemented the rapper as an up and coming force to be reckoned with. The XXL Freshman cover is a highly competitive collection of ten rappers generally in the beginnings of their careers. Some of modern hip hop’s most influential artists all appeared on XXL Freshman covers at one point or another, from Kendrick Lamar to Travis Scott. Just weeks after, Aminé would go on to release his first full length studio album Good for You, featuring Caroline, Spice Girls, and Veggies.
Fast forward to August 2018, and the release of Amine’s second studio project, OnePointFive, described by the rapper himself as an “LP/EP/Album/Mixtape.” While the project did not receive the same commercial success of its predecessor, the hit “REEL IT IN” amassed great popularity. Coinciding with ONEPOINTFIVE, Aminé began TOURPOINTFIVE along with fellow rappers Kayo Genesis and Buddy, both California natives. On Nov. 19, TOURPOINTFIVE made a stop at Downtown Minneapolis’ historic First Avenue and 7th Street Entry’s Mainroom.
Compared to other concert venues or stadiums, where being 50 feet from the stage and the artist would be considered a very good position, in the Mainroom, there seem to be very few places where you could be more than 50 feet from the stage. The stage itself is a quarter the size of EPAC, but don’t let the small size of the venue fool you; the sound, and the people, expand the room to feel greater than the sum of its parts.
The show began with a set from Kayo Genesis, an artist that I was fully unaware of before the concert began. Genesis is a native of Palmdale California, and at the time of the show, had released a litany of singles and EPs, most of which on his Soundcloud page. However, his first full length album, Bad Sushi, would release five days after the concert on Nov. 24. Because of the impending release date, much of the material played by Genesis was unreleased and taken from Bad Sushi. Songs like Rich Lives Matter, Edible, and Hometown all remain memorable, even to someone who had never heard any of them prior to the show. I would sum up Kayo Genesis’ energy as calm, cool, and collected, all while maintaining the high energy necessary to captivate a room full of people. He knew how to work a crowd, whether it be playful banter with his DJ, or getting the whole room to sing along with him on the hook of Rich Lives Matter, it definitely wasn’t his first rodeo.
After the crowd was thoroughly warmed up by Kayo Genesis, Compton rapper Buddy took the stage to deliver his set. The rapper came on stage dressed to take on Minnesota’s winter cold, not to perform at a rap concert, but I don’t think if he heard me saying that now he’d care that much. Once again, much like Kayo Genesis I found myself not really knowing all that much about the artist I was going to watch, but in the end, it didn’t matter all that much. Buddy’s musical style makes him more than just a rapper, he’s versatile. His singing and songwriting could place him just as easily on a soulful R&B album as it could be on a trap banger, and he clearly shows this in his show. I left thinking back to one of my favorite songs of the night Black, which was recorded with A$AP Ferg and when it played, the crowd roared.
While Kayo Genesis and Buddy elevated the crowd, nothing got everyone in attendance jumping and cheering like Aminé’s first appearance on stage. Aminé’s set began with a video of Rickey Thompson, famous Viner whose voice was sampled many times throughout ONEPOINTFIVE, including at the very beginning of the opening track DR. WHOEVER and the very end of the closing track TOGETHER. Thompson’s video appearance set the mood for the concert and in a way reflects the whole mood that Aminé puts off as a person, not overly serious and just there to have a good time.
Aminé’s entire setlist was a whopping 23 songs long and covers a wide range of differing moods. From a song titled BLACKJACK being performed while video clips of Jack Black from his film School of Rock play in the background, to a soulful rendition of TOGETHER performed in front of a banana sunset, there was a little bit of everything.