When West Coast rapper Aminé dropped his single “Caroline,” it was unclear whether or not he’d be a one-hit wonder. The infectious, unorthodox love song praising the woman it’s named for seemingly came out of nowhere, taking over the country, peaking at number 11 on the Billboard 100. We weren’t sure what to expect going forward from the Portland, Oregon musician. But at his sold out show in at Emo’s in Austin, Texas, Aminé showed us he’s here to stay.
There are a few things that make a rapper loveable, but among the most popular is the ability to make people dance. When performing live, Aminé accomplishes this and much more. He’s witty, he’s positive, and he has a dedication to fun that we don’t always see from musicians who are more concerned with being taken seriously. But Aminé doesn’t pigeonhole himself into his approachability. From triumphant, melodic songs like “Veggies” to catchy, desire-laden songs like “Spice Girl,” to introspective, slower songs like “Turf,” he offers a variety of tunes that can guarantee one thing: You won’t be bored.
But above all else, Aminé wants to make you feel good about life, about the present, and most importantly, about yourself. In a world where positivity often feels lacking or forced, he presents simple ways to make his fans smile. Between songs, he presented a call-and-response. “When I say ‘You’re beautiful,’ you say, ‘I know.’” There were no audience members left unsmiling.
The tour itself is called the “Good For You” tour, named after his debut studio album which dropped in July, with the phrase displayed in giant, color-changing bubble letters center-stage. He gets his energy from this connection with the crowd, and you can tell the tour really is for the fans. He was on stage rocking his “tour pants,” a pair of jeans with a patch for every city he visits. Toward the end of the show, he invites a fan on stage to write the name of the city, and a phrase chanted by the audience. For Austin, predictably, the crowd voted on “Keep Austin Weird,” to which he replied, “It’s funny you said that, because ‘Keep Portland Weird’ came first.” (It didn’t, but the crowd laughed anyway.)
Aminé continued his commitment to making people dance by performing songs other than his own, as well. He executed a fantastic mash-up of TLC’s iconic “No Scrubs” and Kanye West’s anthem “Gold Digger” just a few songs into his set, and toward the end, after performing his hit “Spice Girl,” paid homage to the Spice Girls themselves by covering “Tell Me What You Want.” Aminé is, fundamentally, a pretty silly dude. He manages to make a fool of himself by shaking his ass to the song onstage, while looking really damn good doing it. He’s mastered this persona, a crossroad between goofy and suave, which truly seems like him just being himself.
He closed the show with “Caroline,” as many people expected, but switched the instrumental of the first half of the song to a more orchestral, musical sound. This shows that he is growing as an artist past the song that blew his career out of the water; that he has more to give than that which made him famous. After returning for an encore to play “Spice Girl” again, this time shirtless, he made sure the DJ kept spinning, ensuring his fans could keep dancing even after he left the building.