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Aminé flexes his might at sold out Seasons Festival show

Aminé with Odie, Kid Filthy at Venue Nightclub, 03/28/18

Portland hip hop artist Aminé brought fire to Venue Nightclub last night (March 28) as part of this year’s Seasons Festival. The show sold out so quickly, another one was added the night before. Not bad for a Vancouver debut. Like with many hip hop shows within the past couple of years including Brockhampton, Kevin Abstract, and Lil Pump, ticket sales were helped by the fact that the shows were all-ages. And as usual, the all-ages crowd knew all the lyrics and couldn’t stand still.

All-ages crowds are usually eager to get to the venue. They’ll camp out if they have to, and they have the luxury of time to do so. Often, that means long lines and long processing times, even if doors open on schedule. So I missed all but two songs by opener Kid Filthy. All I can say is unlike Aminé, Kid Filthy was neither colourful nor fun. There’s nothing inherently wrong with either that or a diverse bill, but the crowd didn’t totally feel it, especially not as they were still riding the peaks of their pre-drink buzzes.

Nigerian-Canadian rapper Odie, who also made his Vancouver debut, lightened the mood with songs that made everyone bounce including “Penny”. He performed a new song from an album due next week, a more downbeat, almost sensual track. His final song, “Trance Dance”, also flowed at a slower tempo which called to mind one of his greatest inspirations, Kid Cudi.

The crowd bounced for Odie, but they couldn’t contain themselves even at the sight of stagehands bringing out blow-up letters that spelled out the name of Aminé’s debut studio album, Good for You.

Aminé dished out instructions early in his set. “When you come to an Aminé show, we wanna make you feel beautiful. When we say, ‘You’re beautiful,’ you say, ‘I know!’” And his fans felt beautiful as he paraded out hits (i.e. nearly every song) from Good for You as well as a couple of cross-generational chart-topping singles: “Veggies” segued into a cover of “No Scrubs” by TLC, and “Spice Girl” already got one of the loudest cheers of the night, but he brought everyone to another level when the song cut into the first verse and chorus of “Wannabe”.

Fans were also most hyped for the languid “Sunday” and the closest song Aminé has to a banger, “REDMERCEDES”. He noticed that some fans were more conscious than others when they sang along on his breakthrough hit, “Caroline”: “Make some noise for the motherfuckers who didn’t say ‘n—–.’”

No song was a bigger highlight for one fan named Janelle than when Aminé invited her onstage to sign his “tour pants.” The pants were covered by a blank patch for each city of his various tours – Europe, the United States, Canada – and he invited someone from each show to write something on the corresponding patch that represented their city. The Vancouver crowd shouted their unanimous nomination. “Y’all say weed? Weed! WEED!” And so the word was chosen.

Aminé isn’t shy about calling out politicians, police, the media, or anyone else, but his music is playful and humorous. He’s melodic and poppy and finds therapy in singing, but he raps with confidence too, even though he knows his skills don’t touch Kanye’s or André 3000’s. However, he will soak in the glory of a moment: Unlike so many other artists, Aminé called for everyone in the crowd to not only hold their cellphones in the air but to turn on their flashlights too, and he basked in the added glow. These are all reasons why XXL Magazine selected him as part of its 2017 Freshman Class of artists to watch, a yearly list whose alumni include Chance the Rapper, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak, and Vince Staples. With so much demand over back-to-back shows in a city he’d never played, it’s clear that Aminé is quickly attracting the eyes he deserves. Watch out.

Leslie Ken Chu

Leslie Ken Chu