Track Meet: Aminé's "Limbo" Album Shares Personal Reflections With Fierce Competitive Nature
Updated: Jan 26
In the "Track Meet" series, we break down albums or projects track by track to show where sports and hip-hop meet.
Aminé has returned with his highly-anticipated album, "Limbo." The project follows up the Portland artist's "ONEPOINTFIVE," which dropped in 2018 and his successful debut album, "Good For You" from 2017. The latter featured the multiplatinum breakout single "Caroline," which put Aminé on radiowaves nationwide.
Aminé gets personal with "Limbo" where he details his struggles with fame, relationships and even dedicates a song to his mother. The sports references are plentiful as he expresses his experiences in the steep competition of the rap game. Let's break it down:
"You know I'm hailin' from that Rip City/Get busy"
Aminé opens up "Limbo" with a reflective track about his own journey in the rap game, how far he's come and how far he, and society, still have to go. He shouts out his hometown of Portland, Oregon with a reference to Rip City, the nickname associated with the Portland Trail Blazers.
"RIP Kobe/Nigga, RIP Kobe/You was like a dad to a nigga, so I'm sad, my nigga/Had to get you tatted on me"
Although Aminé reps Portland heavily, Kobe Bryant''s influence on him is great. This is the first of many references to the Black Mamba on "Limbo." Here, the rapper mourns Bryant's death and shares that he even got a tattoo to commemorate his life.
The most poignant sports reference on "Limbo" is an entire track dedicated to Kobe. Aminé now calls Los Angeles home and any '90s baby was influenced by the Black Mamba in one way or another. On this track, which is more like an interlude, the 26-year-old shares how he felt he lost his innocence when Bryant died. He describes the feeling of being shaken into maturity upon learning about the tragic news.
"It's all fun and games 'til it happens like a Based God curse"
All hail the almighty Based God. On "Roots," Aminé opens the track by giving a shoutout to Lil B, the backpack rapper who has an alter ego as The Based God. He's placed curses and blessings throughout the sports world, most notably on NBA star James Harden, who Lil B cursed for stealing his famous cooking dance.
"Compensating" ft. Young Thug
"I'm scoring by the 3/Steve Nash, baby"
Young Thug continues the reflective spirit that Aminé already built on the track with his verse as they contemplate the messiness of a non-authentic relationship. Thugger's proving to his girl (or to himself) that he deserves a second chance because of the fancy whips he's riding in and also because he's draining long shots like Phoenix Suns star Steve Nash. The two-time NBA All-Star is No.23 on the all-time three-point buckets list with a career total of 1,685.
"Pressure in my Palms" ft. slowthai and Vince Staples
This is by far the hardest song on "Limbo." Before the album even dropped, we were hyped at the idea of a collab with Vince Staples (any Vince song gets us excited, really) AND British sensation slowthai. It delivered.
"Matt Barnes versus Derek Fisher, caught you niggas ... /Malice at the Palace or Winona up in Saks Fifth/This is Metta World Peace before the peace came, bitch"
Aminé makes several sports references in his opening verse. He fuels the aggressive track by saying that he's filled with the same pressure that ignited the feud between NBA players Matt Barnes and Derek Fisher over Barnes' ex-wife. Messy. He continues the rage with a reference to the Malice at the Palace and promises he is Ron Artest. NOT Metta World Peace.
"I do it bigger, know I'm ballin', don't you see the ticker?/Feel like I'm Harden, I was shootin' on Artesia with him"
In his verse, Vince Staples shouts out James Harden and promises that he's clutch even though he's a shooter of a different kind. Vince always delivers. Always.
"I'm takin' the base, yeah, I'm takin' it home/I'm a young Jackie, nigga, if I hit it, it's gone"
"Pressure in my Palms" has a nice lil switchup as the beat changes from a menacing bass line to gentle piano keys. But Aminé stays on their neck, saying he's as good as Jackie Robinson hitting a home run every time he steps up to the plate. Robinson, recognized as the first Black player in Major League Baseball, had 137 home runs in his 10-year career.
"Fetus" ft. Injury Reserve
"Hope I can be half the father that the Mamba was"
"Limbo" continues its tribute to Kobe Bryant on the heartwrenching track "Fetus" with alternative rap trio Injury Reserve (RIP Stepa J. Groggs). It's a vivid story where all of them ponder fatherhood. Ritchie With a T says that he hopes he can be half the father that Kobe was. The Black Mamba died in January with his second daughter, Gigi. He had four daughters: Natalia, Gianna (Gigi), Bianka and Capri. After his passing, Bryant was memorialized as a "girl dad" for the way he celebrated fatherhood and advocated for women in sports.
"I'm steppin' over niggas and I'm skippin' the practice/AI, when it come to the checks, I'm like, 'Taxes? Taxes? Taxes?'"
Aminé concludes "Limbo" with a boastful track about making his dreams his reality. He recalls Allen Iverson's epic move stepping over Tyronn Lue in the 2001 Finals when the Philadelphia 76ers faced off against the Lakers. He also references AI's infamous interview where The Answer was questioned about skipping practice, practice?! The MC flips the response to convey his own flippant attitude toward financial burdens like paying taxes while he's just trying to live his life.