Updated: Feb 7
Favorite Track: “Charmander” Least Favorite Track: “Between the Lines”
“Fuck all the bullshit you going through right now/If you feeling sad, alone, depressed, upset/Fuck that, it’s time to get up, go have some fun/Shake some ass!”. These are the first lines you hear when you press play on Aminé’s TWOPOINTFIVE, and they act as the most blatant guidebook to enjoying the record. Aminé, despite being quite popular, has never really seen consideration in the conversation of the best rappers of the last 5-10 years. His happy-go-lucky attitude and playfulness often give him the reputation that he doesn’t take himself seriously. However, when looking at his discography, it is relatively spotless. His music is consistently joyful and uplifting, he has never released a bad project, and on his previous release Limbo, he proved that not only was he capable of making catchy pop-rap songs, but also come up with some of the most emotional rap cuts of 2020 with tracks like “Fetus” and “Becky”. In fact, Limbo acts as a magnificent collage of Aminé’s many talents, and was easily his best artistic statement to date.
Now, in 2021, he has released the sequel to the fantastic 2018 mixtape ONEPOINTFIVE, TWOPOINTFIVE. This new record takes a lot of the ideas from the previous mixtape and builds on them with a new focus on pop appeal. Many of the songs are remarkably short, sweet, and explore new ground sonically while still staying true to the lovable charm that made the album’s predecessor so enjoyable. The sticky hooks, infectious beats, and suave and inviting voice that Aminé utilizes so well are here in spades, permeating a sense of immense fun throughout the mixtape on songs like “NEO” and “Charmander”. In fact, the updated pop leanings of TWOPOINTFIVE make for a record that is arguably Aminé’s most catchy and easily enjoyable project yet.
When going into TWOPOINTFIVE, it is pretty important to manage expectations. This record is not an intricate project, as each and every song is completely surface level and doesn’t stray far from Aminé’s typical pop-rap flair. The beats are short and sweet, the lyrics are cheeky and easily lovable, and the songs as a whole are affable and easy to listen to. Tracks like “Colors” and “Dididumduhduh” are simply structured, with the former of the two being one of the most lyrically entertaining on the whole project. During the first verse, Aminé manages to come off incredibly goofy while also portraying insane lyrical skill by listing color after color. “I been getting green, but somehow, I can’t find no happiness/Purple in the sky so I’m high but no sloppiness/Red eyes from my redeye but her red eyes from the industry” he raps on top of the bouncy, spaced out beat, showcasing his talent in writing bars that both have emotional impact but also a cheeky and lovable quality to them. The line “I wanna be happy like when I find a Starburst that’s colored pink” may be one of the most oddly relatable lines of the year, and is a wonderful addition to the slew of witty moments on the mixtape.
Strikingly fun and quirky moments continue to show up throughout, but it is impossible to talk about this record without mention of the magnificent centerpiece “Charmander”. This track is easily one of the best tracks of 2021, period. The pitched vocal samples on the chorus are a complete earworm, the beat is bouncy and somewhat hyper-pop influenced, and it also features one of Aminé’s best performances on any track to date. The way he floats over this beat is immensely satisfying to the ear, and the stickiness of the chorus and the infectious positivity of the verses rivals the enjoyability of any given pop song on the radio right now. In an interview with Apple Music, Aminé credits “Charmander” as one of the first unique musical experiments he came up with after the release of Limbo, and it is clear that the entire ethos of TWOPOINTFIVE is heavily influenced by “Charmander” and is all the better for it.
Where this record falls short are on some of the more R&B influenced deep cuts like “OKWME” and “Between the Lines”. The vibe of TWOPOINTFIVE is quite braggadocious and irreverent, and the times that the record deviates from this writing formula for songs about frustration in relationships and things of the sort feel somewhat out of place. “Between the Lines” is a musically bland track that focuses on a significant other not being able to respect the busy life Aminé leads, and it is far and away the most out-of-place track here. The obnoxious drums and dull synth chords add very little that feels danceable or comparable to the wittiness of the rest of the record. “Twisted!” is an alright moment in comparison, but also happens to be one of the weaker cuts on the record due to the sleepy chorus and the painfully one-dimensional beat.
At the end of the day, TWOPOINTFIVE isn’t really a record that is meant to be heavily scrutinized and studied. It’s a simple pop-rap album, and it definitely succeeds at that. The songs are short, sweet, and incredibly replayable, the performances from Aminé are solid across the board, and the record’s biggest sin is throwing out a few ideas that don’t really fit within the context of the mixtape. The newfound influences from pitchy hyperpop and goofy meme rap found on TWOPOINTFIVE stick the landing more often than not, and Aminé manages to come through with yet another strikingly lovable point in his career that will go down as one of the most fun rap projects of 2021.