Following his 2020 releases of both “Limbo” and “Limbo (Deluxe),” Portland rapper Aminé returns with the playfully light “TWOPOINTFIVE.” It’s unclear whether the album’s buoyancy is due to its lightness or its hollowness.
Beginning the album, a snippet from comedian and collaborator Ricky Thompson: “F— all the bulls— you’re going through right now. You’re feeling sad, alone, depressed, upset…F— that! It’s time to get up — go have some fun! Shake some ass!”
Aminé follows his friend’s advice. Opening track “YiPiYaY” is a playfully buoyant mission statement of hottie-wooing, grill-shining and broke-boy-shunning.
The brightly chiming “Colors” playfully riffs on its name, but sacrifices complexity for cohesion. Lines such as “I been getting green, but somehow, I can’t find no happiness” are lost to lines on the same track (“I wanna be happy, like when I find a starburst that’s colored pink”). Its bright production makes it feel like a carnival ride but, beneath its flashiness, the prizes for listening are slim.
“NEO” is elastic and easy. Surrounded by fluttering hi-hats, Aminé skips around talking about threesomes, Deebo and getting an erection when his lover sits on his lap (“That’s not a Glock, baby, that’s my pickle”). Sometimes, the album’s obscenities lend itself to a bizarre pop-up ad magnetism when paired with Aminé’s charismatic approach. Yet, when his charm falters, the album’s shallow lewdness becomes glaringly evident.
“OKWME” is entirely too short until it’s entirely too long. The song is propelled forward by an earworm of a chorus complete with handclaps and neatly pocketed vocals. However, the groove, along with any AUX cord viability, is killed by Rickey Thompson’s greatly uncomfortable outro, in which he describes his urge to “get real nasty.” Thompson often embodies an id-like persona and is at once redeeming in his abandon and annoying in his intrusion.
“Dididumduhduh” is smoother than its onomatopoeia title might indicate. Night drivers may rejoice at the drowsy piano loop Aminé supplies and ignore the lines he drops while gliding. With lines like “Beating on the box like dididumduhduh,” the ad-libs are about as substantial as the lines preceding them. It’s a flow track at its core, but enjoyably so. Though his Young Thug lacks conviction, Aminé’s punchy flow on the outro is invigorating.
The following track “Twisted!” finds propulsion in trancey, electronic production. Aminé spits from the haze: “Talkin’ bout me like I care, but I’m at Disney doin’ acid.” The track indicates there may be truth to his statement.
Yet, from such a hedonistic source, listeners would hope to find more daring lines than: “I got a b—-, she’s bad (She’s hot) / And a b—- that’s super freaky, she got hella ass (goddamn).” With lyrics so masturbatory, it’s a genuine surprise Aminé brags about liking to return the favor.
The single “Charmander” loops a helium-voiced sample to hallucinatory effect. Aminé introspects: “I’m a quiet motherf—er, but I like to talk my s—.” But, the trash-talking he ultimately spews from his gumdrop podium is that of demanding respect from fashion mood board pages. Ultimately, the talk is entertaining and the track, while not necessarily spirit-lifting, is certainly burden-lightening.
The following “Mad Funny Freestyle” doesn’t live up to its name. When the beat’s energy plateaus, the remainder is distasteful. For one, the chorus is Aminé’s sexual grunts. This takes a silver medal only to the bar, “Got a free facial ‘cause we us, we gettin’ Jordan peels.” Jordan Peele, anybody? The setup is exhausting, and the punchline is only partially alleviatory.
“Van Gogh” is scored by the twinkling church bells of Candyland. With pitched up vocals, Aminé sounds like Swae Lee as he irredeemably sings, “Don’t be on no funny s—, like your elbow (‘Bow) / Rich young n—-, f— her on the van Gogh.” It’s doubtful van Gogh was particularly happy about the posthumous celebration of his work — may death grant him the relief of ever knowing this track exists.
“Between the Lines” marks a shift towards recovery from sugar crash as the pixie dust settles. Drumkit juts out into the soundscape, granting Aminé a ledge from which to lament. Glazed production fails to mask his vain critique of a lover unwilling to settle for his shallowness.
Aminé’s dejected tone persists in the following “Sh!t2Luv” as he butts between boyband choruses: “Scratch on my back ‘cause you miss me like that / Cannot do that ‘cause the city on that.”
In a literal sense, Aminé’s tattoo, reading “RIPCITY,” pays homage to his birthplace of Portland, Oregon. Carrying the weight of representing his city prevents him from meaningful connection. In this light, the dismissal of a lover’s gentle caress for the titanic responsibility of city-repping becomes deeply tragic. The tattoo is still healing.
“TWOPOINTFIVE” is available on Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming services.