Aminé is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter from Oregon, US. While most rappers frequently include the “sad” parts of their lives, including drugs, women, or violence, in their songs, Aminé has taken a different route with his music. Owing to his cheerful lyrics and peppy music, he is also known widely as “a joyful rapper.” He was inspired to make music in the mid-1990s, after his mother introduced him to Tupac Shakur’s music. He started rapping while in high school and made a number of friends who helped him realize his dream of making music. Aminé started getting popular with the fellow students. After graduating in marketing from ‘Portland State University,’ Aminé dropped everything to build a career in music. In March 2016, Aminé released his debut track, ‘Caroline,’ and directed the music video for the single, too. Aminé hit the bull’s eye with his debut track, as it made its place among the top 15 tracks on the ‘Billboard 200’ in 2017. In July 2017, Aminé released his debut studio album, ‘Good for You,’ which turned out to be a commercial and critical hit.
Childhood & Early Life
Aminé was born Adam Aminé Daniel, on April 18, 1994, in Portland, Oregon, to Ethiopian immigrant parents. His father was a teacher, and his mother worked at a post office. His father also worked as a part-time translator. His parents moved from Ethiopia to the US in the early 1990s and settled in Portland, an all-white neighborhood.
As a black kid, who was also an immigrant, life was not easy for Aminé at first, but his charm and quirk helped him make some friends quickly. However, he still felt like an outsider. His family loved music, but they mostly listened to Ethiopian native music. They spoke Amharic at home. His mother listened to Tupac Shakur at times, which got Aminé extremely interested in the rapper’s works.
Other musicians that Aminé grew up listening to were Kanye West and Michael Jackson. He credits Kanye’s ‘The College Dropout’ as one of his biggest inspirations to get into rap music. When he reached high school, his love for rapping had him making beats of his own and writing raps.
He attended the ‘Benson Polytechnic High School,’ where he also found a few friends who were as musically inclined as him. What made him famous as a teenager were the diss tracks that he recorded as part of the playful rivalry between his and other high schools in the region. In 2012, he was awarded with the ‘Kevin Reilly Award’ in high school for his leadership abilities.
After graduating from high school, Aminé attended the ‘Portland State University’ to study marketing. However, his love for music took him to New York during every summer break. Thus, in the summers, he stayed with his aunt in New York and did internships. He also spent a few months interning with ‘Complex,’ a hip-hop music publication.
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Aminé started working on his debut mixtape in 2013. Titled ‘Odyssey to Me,’ its production was handled by multi-instrumentalist Irvin Mejia. Most of the album was recorded in Portland. Aminé later dismissed it as an “amateur attempt with mismatch sounds.”
The album’s tracks were mostly emotional and sexually explicit, and although the album remained obscure due to lack of marketing and promotions, it earned Aminé a number of local admirers. One such admirer was Mac Smiff, who worked as a blogger for ‘We Out Here.’ He was a respected writer, and when he heard Aminé’s music, he fell in love with it. He started promoting Aminé through his blogs. Gradually, people began recognizing Aminé.
Inspired by the solid reception, Aminé spent his student-loan money to make sure that his album got highlighted on the popular music website ‘Datpiff.com.’ By mid-2014, ‘Odyssey to Me’ registered 20 thousand downloads, which was a great deal for a beginner such as Aminé.
Aminé then met a top manager from New York named Justin Lehmann, who tried to get significant song-writing jobs for Aminé and his friend and cohort Josh Hickman. Aminé and Hickman then released an EP titled ‘En Vogue.’ However, when Hickman observed Aminé getting closer to the mainstream music scene, he got insecure and pulled out the EP from the internet. He then began running a campaign to urge bloggers and fans to do the same.
After parting ways with Hickman, Aminé produced and released his second mixtape, ‘Calling Brío.’ Aminé delved into his Ethiopian routes to draw inspiration for the album. He used R&B, electronic, and hip-hop music and combined it with Afrofuturist sounds. He further used native African chants and other signature African sounds, which appealed to fans in a major way, making Aminé more famous.
In March 2016, Aminé released his debut single, ‘Caroline,’ which became an overnight success and brought him more success than all his previous efforts combined. Aminé also directed the music video for the song and released it on June 1, 2016, on ‘YouTube.’ The song started slow, attaining the 96th spot on the ‘Billboard 200’ but made it to the 11th spot within a few months. The track was later certified “three times platinum” by the ‘Recording Industry Association of America’ (RIAA).
‘Republic Records’ was the first record label to sign an official deal with Aminé, and the partnership resulted in another single titled ‘Baba,’ which was released in November 2016. His stint at ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,’ where he performed ‘Caroline,’ further helped him pave his path toward mainstream popularity.
In March 2017, Aminé released another single, ‘REDMERCEDES,’ inspired by the rap music of the early 2000s. His fans loved this unique blend of old-school beats and modern hip-hop. The music video for the song was released in early April and became a success. He then collaborated with Kehlani to record a single titled ‘Heebiejeebies.’ In June 2017, Aminé released another single titled ‘Turf.’
Aminé slowly developed a very loyal fan base. He did not follow any rule of music and continued experimenting with the lyrics and the structure of his songs, thereby earning the moniker “a joyful rapper.” In June 2017, Aminé finally announced his debut studio album, ‘Good for You.’ He soon released two singles, ‘Blinds’ and ‘Wedding Crashers,’ which created further anticipation for his debut studio album.
The album was released on July 28, to overwhelmingly positive reviews, and debuted at the 31st spot on the ‘Billboard 200’ chart. It sold 13 thousand copies in the first week of its release. Riding high on the success of his debut album, Aminé released another single, ‘Squeeze,’ in October 2017.
Aminé happens to be a major fan of Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino and states that he wishes to get into film direction and fashion someday.
Aminé is a very harsh critic of US President Donald Trump, primarily because of Trump’s highly controversial and conservative views on migrants and colored people.