Aminé at the Metro
By Shenali Perera
Filled with dim sum and anticipation, I walked into the Metro thinking I was going to enjoy myself. Reminiscent of a warm pub, the pit in front of the stage was already filled with people. A2, a British rapper, was performing, words and words flowing from the stage. Continually, he asked, “Chicago, are you with me?” The audience, a little disengaged, continued to mill around. Everyone was waiting, bouncing on their toes and looking into the wings of the stage for Aminé, the main event of the night.
After A2 and DJ Ellz had finished, Pell entered. Young and bursting with energy, he had the crowd pumping their hands and echoing his words within minutes. He had a Chance The Rapper vibe with soft grooves and a solid bass. Also, he performed with a live drum and had people banging their heads and singing along to the chorus. Many times I turned to my friends and said, “Wow, I really like this guy.” By his last song, we were all yelling “Oh Pell Yeah!” back, and as the DJ returned, I couldn’t get his lyrics out of my head: Need to get off of the internet, searching for something more intimate. And obviously his shoutout to former president Barack Obama resonated with the audience. The wait between Pell and Aminé was absolutely tolerable. As we waited at the front of the stage they gave out free soft drinks. DJ Ellz played all the crowd favorites, from "Bodak Yellow" to "DNA" to "Gasolina."
Then Aminé ran on stage, in an orange and green striped tee and patched black pants, already rapping "Baba." Immediately the audience picked up the lyrics, singing along with him like backing choir vocals. It wasn’t one of his most popular songs, but I felt the energy around me rise as if he had started with the "YMCA." If you’re an Aminé fan, you’re an Aminé fan and you know all the words and cry when he touches your hand, like the group of girls next to me.
After "Baba," he took a moment to address the crowd. He said something along the lines of “We like to do a little self-empowerment here on this tour. So, when I say, "you’re beautiful" you say "I know. Okay?” He then continued to yell "you’re beautiful," and we yelled back "I know" as loud as possible. It was uplifting; everyone had smiles plastered across their faces. He didn’t let this good mood fade and continued with "Hero," during which everybody put their hands to the sky and forgot who they used to be. Also, he sang the classic "No Scrubs" by the iconic TLC, a nostalgic reference that brought me back to listening to the radio in the car. "Heebeejeebees," "Turf," "Money" and other songs followed, the audience echoing his deep and relaxed voice.
The set picked up with some crowd favorites like "Yellow" and "STFU." He ran back and forth across the stage, hopping on one leg and kept the audience rocking with the lyrics. Before "Slide," he told the audience about being a dumb teenager and liking a girl. “She thought I was really lame, a fuckboy really. And I was at the time. I would text her back really late, ‘cause I was petty. 'Cause I’m petty,” he said with a smile. These intimate moments made his performance personal and enjoyable, like a Friends episode.
Nearing the end of the show, he told us about his pants. Every city he toured, he asked the audience for something to write on them. Chicago, being his last stop, needed to be special. After much deliberation amongst audience members, they decided on “Obama Forever,” a fitting sentiment. He continued to ask the audience to put their flashlights on. He created a sea of lights in the Metro to sway with his slow rendition of "Caroline," the SoundCloud hit that put him on the map. The crowd became unbelievably loud, elbows were thrown into backs and a lot of garbled yelled lyrics. "Wedding Crashers," "Spice Girl" and "Red Mercedes," almost as equally popular, produced the same reaction and ended the show on a strong note. The live band, the love from the audience and overall excellent and genuine songs made this an unforgettable experience; especially when he surprised the audience and came out to do "Spice Girl" again.
If you see me walking around in bright yellow “Good For You” tour merch, you’ll know why.