Nov. 14, 2017 | Rodney Carmichael --
Considering all the unique monikers MCs have concocted throughout the history of rap, Aminé — Adam Daniel's middle name by birth — isn't all that strange. But that hasn't kept him from becoming the hip-hop artist with the hardest-to-pronounce name of the moment. He's been called everything from anime (as in Japanese animation) to amino (as in the acid). But after watching the Portland native perform three songs from his Good For You debut album, with a four-piece band and background singer crammed behind Bob Boilen's Tiny Desk, Aminé (pronounced ah-MEE-nay) should be hard to forget.
His debut single "Caroline" is definitely recognizable after peaking at No. 11 on Billboard's Hot 100 last year. Aminé followed it up one year later with an LP that expanded on his colorful pop chops with R&B-styled grooves and a mannish flow that's given his hometown more mainstream hip-hop cred than it's enjoyed since Fred Armisen fumbled through the history of rap on an old episode of Portlandia.
Despite openly criticizing Donald Trump during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the closest that Aminé — a son of Ethiopian immigrants — came to making a political statement here was a funny aside about the imposing gate in front of the White House. Instead, he made his music the focus, while taking occasional sips from a big red cup of tea.
As for the bananas that have become Aminé's well-known trademark, several NPR interns gifted him with a bunch right after his set. And with so many fans in the audience, he didn't even have a reason to pause and pronounce his name until it was time to say goodbye.
Aminé (vocals); Fahrelle Devine (vocals); Madison Stewart (electronics); Pasqué (guitar); Davon Jamison (keyboards); Cory Limuaco (drums)
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Bronson Arcuri, CJ Riculan, Alyse Young; Production Assistant: Salvatore Maicki; Photo: Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR
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