Throughout Limbo Aminé playfully raps about topics that are almost an obligatory part of every pop-rap album, especially since Drake’s Take Care (2011).
For example, on ‘Can’t Decide’ Aminé speaks about a complicated relationship he has with a girl, who he does not truly understand the intentions of. However, Aminé doesn’t simply stop at telling repetitive stories as other pop-rappers might. On the song ‘Becky’ he tackles issues he has faced in a past interracial relationship. He comes to the depressing conclusion that he can’t change the racist world he’s grown up in.
“And no, it’s not a law, but you know we ain’t the same
I’m fed up with a world that I know I can’t change”
He sets the tone for this type for the album perfectly in the first track, ‘Burden’. At the start of the first verse, he raps about two of the key themes of the album: racism and paying homage to classic hip-hop artists, albums and pop culture icons. Aminé does this by referencing Jay-Z by his real name, Shawn Carter and his classic album, The Black Album.
“When your skin darker, shit gets harder,
This a black album like Shawn Carter”
He goes on to pay tribute to Kanye West, Tupac and, most evidently, Kobe Bryant. The sole interlude in the album is titled ‘Kobe’ and is a monologue by comedian Jak Knight. He discusses the importance of Bryant to him and the effect of his death in January 2020.
Aminé does all this over immaculate beats. Pitched up soul samples, for example on the opener ‘Burden’ and closer ‘My Reality’, show the influence of Kanye West that he raps about. However, his beats aren’t one-note. ‘Fetus’, which is produced by Parker Corey of Injury Reserve, is a chilled yet incredibly interesting and intricate beat with attention to detail. For example, in the outro when Jak Knight mentions fast cars, the beat mirrors this, with sounds of car keys in the ignition of a car, and the sound of a drifting car. This beat selection shows Aminé’s versatility and keeps the album diverse enough to stay interesting.
‘Fetus’ also exemplifies Aminé’s great use of features. It is his third collaboration with Injury Reserve, and it also the first posthumous verse that has come out since Stepa J. Groggs of Injury Reserve tragically died in early July 2020. The song is, thus, very emotional as they rap about their current and future children. Stepa J. Groggs’ verse touches on the issue he had with drugs and hoping his six-year-old daughter avoids drugs – the most emotional part of the whole album.
Admittedly, the album isn’t perfect. Aminé does sometimes fall into a trap that lots of pop rappers do of over-repetitive hooks and boring, monotonous beats. This reduces the relisten-ability of ‘Riri’. The fact that ‘Riri’ was a single and quickly gets boring is not a good sign for the album, but the other tracks make up for it. Despite its downfalls, the album is definitely worth listening to. But it is not a contender for best rap album of the year when albums like Alfredo by Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist and RTJ4 by Run The Jewels have come out in 2020.
Listen to Limbo here: