Review Summary: Leave 'em in the dust and then we tell 'em see you later.
There’s a precedent for rappers like Amine: relentlessly positive, upbeat, in tune with indie rock and dance as much as coastal or southern hip-hop. He relies on hi-hats, foghorns, and ad-libs a bit too much, and his lyrics are as prone to crutched one-liners as they are anything too deeply introspective or intelligent (“Caroline,” though sickly sweet, is filled with so many bad double-entendres that smirks quickly become snig
gers that quickly devolve into sighs.) Moreover, you can place his influences readily throughout the goodtime that is Good for You
. There’s trappin’, there’s drillin’, there’s boom bap, there’s g-funk, there’s rap, there’s Frank… it’s all smelted down into a giddy little whole, and, irrespective of the source material, able to sound uniquely like Amine. That’s Good for You’s
best asset. Released on the same day as Vic Mensa’s dire The Autobiography
, an ill-advised victory lap through all of J. Cole and Travi$ Scott’s worst habits, Amine reminds me of how it can feel so good to be
Not many other rappers are really in that wheelhouse, considering the receding of Chance the Rapper from the limelight and Lil Yachty’s desire to just be inane instead of happy. Amine’s taken the niche and owned it, doubling down on his unwavering goofiness for the sake of a good song. Indeed, compare Good for You
to Mensa's The Autobiography
, and it’s a rort. Mensa, though admirable, lyrically relies on grievances and ham-fisted threats to communicate his worldview. It’s not very self-aware and it’s not fun to listen to. Comparatively, Amine is talking about different things, but he’s got more of a grip of his life and its trajectory so that he doesn’t feel the desire to crash headlong into blathering commentary. It also helps his cause that he’s so lyrically precise that he litters his songs with niceties. Minus some light misogyny, “Wedding Crashers” manages to avoid too much wallowing in insults to focus on a jilted narrative of resentment and jealousy (‘I said peace, please / hurry up and kiss so I can eat, mmm.
’) The same goes for “Caroline,” despite aforementioned misgivings, and “Turf,” proudly boasting of how it is to be, ‘Innocent and young / Reckless and […] dumb
.’ His production, equally unassuming as it indulges in PC Music reverence, hits a sickly sweet spot that manages to avoid immediacy for drawn-out, subtle and soothing infectiousness. It takes Amine to that other level, his croon, already a cross between Andre 3000’s southern baritone drawl and Chance's chipper squawk, made gossamer in combination with the tightly paired back bops and pops of the production.
Amine’s a good kid, if that much wasn’t already apparent in his XXL freshmen class, up against the perpetual hatefulness of the likes of XXXTentacion, or the foul-mouthed punchlines of Ugly God. It’s not a virtue of his greatness but it is an uplifting quality, enough to have it stick out against a mainstream rap scene bent on popularising the gothic synth stabs and lurch of Mike Will Made-It and Metro Boomin. Again, Good for You
isn’t a pleasant listen because Amine is so gosh darn happy, it’s because it appears so out of step with a relentlessly negative and dour mood. We could all do with just that much more happiness in our lives.