DEFCON 1 Reviews Musical Special: ONEPOINTFIVE by Amine

The Ups, The Downs, and the Consequences of Conforming to a Musical Quota.

Republic Records

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Music is a universe of execution. If I’ve learned anything during my 16 years on Earth, it’s that a musician with minimal talent can make hits with style and uniqueness. Amine was a perfect example of this when he first dropped. He was funny, energetic, different and had a catchy vibe about him. I won’t lie and say I’m a huge fan, but I did like his breakout single “Caroline” when it dropped last year, and I actually enjoyed his full-length project “GoodForYou”. The feel on “ONEPOINTFIVE”, however, left me with some concerns for Amine’s musical identity. He seemed to maintain his personality, but he changed his execution, depreciating the value of his uniqueness and style.

But, as always, let’s start with the good stuff.

Good Vibes

My favorite part of this album was definitely the way I felt while jamming to it. Whether the song is good or not, Amine has a way of keeping an energy and tempo about him that remains entertaining at all times. Don’t understand? Well, for hip-hop fans, YBN Nahmir is a good example of this unwavering presence. For pop fans, Ariana Grande’s constant vocal dominance is a good representation of Amine’s natural power throughout the project. Simply by being a summer-y artist, he can switch from fast-paced rapping to crooning in seconds, and the transitions are all but smooth.

Reeling it In

Speaking of smooth transitions…the song ‘Reel It In’ perfectly captures the vibe that ‘Caroline’ created when it was released. The upbeat, staccato flow that Amine brought to the song made it a hit, and the same may prove to be the truth for this song. This is one of the best songs on “ONEPOINTFIVE” and it’s one of my favorite Amine songs.

Let My Hair Down

Cantu is my favorite Amine song ever. It’s not a lyrical masterpiece, but the concept it covers is almost a satirical racial commentary. He illustrates his ‘struggles’ with girls wanting to touch his nappy hair (especially girls of different races). For those who don’t follow him, Amine is a black man, and many black men are asked regularly to have their hair touched by strangers. I never thought I’d hear a song about Cantu (a line of hair products meant for African-American hair), much less from a mainstream artist, so I got a good laugh, as well as a good bump, out of it.

As I transition to the negative part of this review, I should mention that I honestly didn’t like this album. The pros I just mentioned were difficult to come up with because the project was haunted by a constant shadow of boredom. I’ll elaborate as the review goes on, but I felt like I was forced to listen to the project as the songs went by. There didn’t seem to be any flow or theme, so it’s not an album I’ll be coming back to.

Who Are You?

The downfall of ‘ONEPOINTFIVE’ is that it’s a case of mistaken identity. Amine has never been a rapper who perpetuated ‘street culture’ or claimed to be from ‘the hood’. Still, on songs like ‘HICCUP’, he boasts rambunctiously as if he’s been a shooter all along. He no longer emphasizes the parts that make him who he is. ‘Caroline’ was a hit because it’s a fun summer groove about a real-life situation, but Amine stops talking about real life on ‘ONEPOINTFIVE’. Music has always been the lie detector test of pop culture, so when Amine goes on about his enemies “not want[ing] no problems” and “pulling up” on people, it sounds insincere, even awkward at times. This leads me to probably the most painful flaw that this album holds: it isn’t unique.

“WHY?”

When I heard that Amine was dropping an album, I immediately couldn’t wait for the weird songs. I was excited to hear what strange melodies and amazing flows he would use that would counter the mainstream, because one of his talents has always been creating experimental music. Amine let me down. He made the same mistake that too many artists, especially in hip-hop, have made: he sacrificed his own sound to appear ‘current’ and remain relevant. He switched from the alternative flows he displayed on ‘GoodForYou’. Songs like ‘Veggies’ and ‘Sundays’ that sounded almost like hymnals were where he truly shined, but he replaced these kinds of songs with generic trap bangers like ‘BLACKJACK’. Now, ‘BLACKJACK’ is a good song, but it isn’t an Amine song. It was like if Drake stopped singing about girls and Ariana Grande started to rap full-time. Everything felt out of place, and this stopped ‘ONEPOINTFIVE’ from even resembling greatness.

The Wrap-Up

This was a difficult listen for me. I had a personal expectation of Amine after his pleasantly surprising performance on ‘GoodForYou’, but, in an attempt to remain relevant, Amine destroyed the very structure that he built to stand on. He lost his identity, and I didn’t save a single song after finishing this album. Amine’s style has never been about remaining ‘normal’; his weirdness was the foundation for his success. Unfortunately, until he remembers that, his scores will continue to reflect his album title.

Very Bad