Here we have the debut album from recent XXL freshman Aminé. A rapper who I’ve had mixed feelings about since he broke onto the scene in the last year. I was a huge fan of his single “Turf” which was released earlier this year, it’s a super chilled out song about memories of his hometown, with very nice acoustic, almost somber production across the track with Aminé flowing fast, and doing an amazing job singing on the hook. His voice is just so smooth, and raw, and unapologetically emotional throughout. It’s one of the best singles of the year easily. So I was pretty excited to hear what he had to offer on his first full length commercial effort.

I’m going to be real here this thing is really cheesy in the first half. Tracks like “Caroline” and “Yellow” just being so overwhelmingly corny, mostly because of Aminé’s lyricism. He’s definitely very pop influenced, without a doubt, but he refuses to channel that into any real sentiment throughout the first half of the record. It really just baffles me how bad some of it is at some points. Nelly is featured on the track “Yellow”, and good god almighty above why’d anyone think it was a good idea to try and pull Nelly into this decade because he can’t keep up and he just seems completely outside of his element here.

Aminé makes a couple of god awful references to children’s movies and television which I imagine some people might find endearing, but I just found it to be eyeroll worthy, and a little annoying. “Flyest under the sea, I’m gettin’ Krabby patties” being the worst offender here. It’s not only a poor show of reference in his lyricism, but it’s also a non-sequitur and has really no place in the verse. Metro Boomin co produced the track and it’s some of his worst work. “Caroline” makes me cringe. The lines “‘Cause great scenes might be great/But I love your bloopers” might be one of the worst things I’ve heard in a rap song this year. The whole first half of Good For You is like this, with its awful references and horrible trying-too-hard-to-be-on-some-teen-girl’s-workout-playlist pop production, it was an absolute struggle to get through these wannabe quirky left field pop tracks.

The second half of the album though does almost a 180 in terms of everything. Starting with the track “Sundays” it lays out the framework for the rest of the album, telling us: “Hey, you know those cheery idealistic pop tunes you were listening to a bit ago, those aren’t here anymore, buckle up”. While I wouldn’t call these tracks sad, they’re definitely darker and bluer than the first half. The track “Sundays” confronting the difficulties of finding love and the aforementioned “Turf” being about memories of his hometown, and how he doesn’t want to stick around anymore. The production on these later tracks is also an incredible improvement. Tracks like “Dakota” and “Slide” take what earlier tracks wanted to do production wise and does it right, with it’s electronic funk and weird sounds here and there, and “Blinds” and “Money” take a more traditional hip hop approach. Aminé’s performances on this half are fantastic as well. He shows off impressive flows and really presents how good his voice actually is. He has some of the smoothest vocal performances I’ve heard this year, and he’s able to switch between singing and rapping without error.

This album is one of the biggest mixed bags of the year. It has some really terrible songs starting out. The lyrics are terrible, the features are boring and clearly aren’t doing their best, and the production is the definition of wasted potential. The second half though, is a total overhaul and takes every single complaint I had with the first half and addresses it. Aminé’s lyrics and singing are at their height, the features bring so much energy, and the production is diverse, well made, and compliments Aminé magnificently. This is something that I think despite its poor first half, you should stick around for the second, and really take in what Aminé is bringing to the table.