Review: Aminé’s “Shimmy” cements his legacy as Portland’s rapper


Daniel Benavides

Aminé performs at the South By Southwest Music Festival in 2017. Born and raised in Portland, Amine’s new single shows fans that he has not forgotten his hometown. Photo courtesty of Wikimedia Commons.

You might remember the big yellow billboard off of I5 on the East Side, proclaiming “Yes, there are Black people in Portland,” right next to a Black man’s face. If you’re living in 2020 and a Portlander, you might recognize this man as Aminé, Portland’s beloved hometown rapper. The first Portlander to make it mainstream in rap, he reps the city of Portland. 

After graduating from Benson High School, Aminé– born as Adam Aminé Daniel–, began pursuing music. In 2014 he released his first album, Odyssey to Me. In 2016, he released “Caroline,” which immediately blew up, making radio status and eventually hitting over 280 million views on Youtube.

Portlanders might have recognized the SE restaurant Mike’s Drive-In in the background of his “Caroline” music video, identifying him to his fellow Portlanders. Aminé delivers such an interesting style; it’s slightly poppy yet clearly hip hop. His smooth flow creates such a headbanging hook– and don’t even get me started on the verse. It’s a masterpiece. The production is so simple, yet provides the perfect backing for the vocals.

“Caroline” was followed by REDMERCEDES (an underrated song, highly recommended) and then his album, Good For You. As he grew more popular, he was featured on XXL’s freshman list and their cypher, which is traditionally an honor in the rap game. His verse on this was mediocre, but he made up for it with his next album, Onepointfive. Personally, I didn’t like this album as much as his previous ones, but it’s still great.

At the end of February 2020, Aminé popped back up out of nowhere (he is a very elusive man) and dropped his single, “Shimmy.” This was his first track since Good For You, one that I truly enjoy. The production is fantastic; it plays a soulful sample and really interesting bass. Aminé’s flow has clearly evolved quite a bit with this one, his voice is much deeper and has a much more relaxed energy. Overall, it doesn’t really feel like the Aminé I used to know and enjoy, but artists are supposed to evolve, and it still stands as an incredible track.

More important than the track, however, is the music video. The entire video was filmed in Portland as a tribute to the city. They shot at the Providence Park, Jefferson High School’s track, Portland International Airport, the Columbia River, on NE Alberta riding Biketown bikes with his entourage, the Moda Center, the illuminated “Portland, Oregon” White Stag sign, and finally, revisit Mike’s Drive-In. It’s both surprising and wonderful to see his return and repping Portland so hard. With the video, Aminé solidified himself as a representative of Portland to the entire rap world. It’s clear Aminé still loves his hometown.

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