The last we heard from Amine was on the hilarious, irreverent ‘Caroline‘. Only after reading a bunch of literature on the phenomenon of Spotify seeding have I come to realize that the track I thought I discovered in early 2016 was in fact placed for me to be found by an algorithm, a human, or both. Whatever the fact of the matter, there was no denying the staying power of ‘Caroline’, which crept to an unlikely #11 on the Billboard chart here and spawned a nationwide hit of a pickup line – ‘let’s get gory, like a Tarantino movie’ (or was that just me). The perfect storm that was ‘Caroline’ meant it seemed unlikely that Amine would strike again.
Now, though, we have ‘Turf’. While nowhere near as fun or ridiculous as ‘Caroline’, ‘Turf’ shows in the aftermath of the stop-gap single ‘REDMERCEDES‘ that Amine, 23 of Portland, Oregon (the town that produces so much goodness, should we have expected any less?) is not only worthy of his place among the 2017 XXL Freshmen but may well be among the one or two rappers each year who shrug off the hype to embrace a more serious career. There is a maturity to ‘Turf’ that indicates that Amine may have already cemented his spot in the graduating class. As with all great new tracks, I have rinsed this one of repeat for a few weeks now and continue, happily, to stumble upon nuances and depth.
This song’s opening verse is legitimate poetry, in a way that not much else is these days. But then, Amine is something of an anachronism, too: a rapper who sings, a kid with the perspective of someone far older, an artist in the hip hop game but not in the annoyingly supercilious way so many of his peers are, no capital A. Watch his performance of ‘Caroline’ late last year on Fallon for proof. Or better yet, forget the raucous good times of ‘Caroline’ and open up to the tortured 20-something, at once nostalgic and resentful, hopeful and lonely, played out across ‘Turf’. Charlie Wilson hasn’t sounded this earnest in decades. There’s some importance to being earnest when you’re employed by a kid as impressive as Amine.
Amine – Turf