Blowing up is relatively easy. Sustaining momentum is the hard part.
Almost from the moment Aminé's "Caroline" went viral, the question became, what would he do to follow it up?
About a month ago, the Portland rapper dropped "Redmercedes," and aesthetically, it made sense. Where "Caroline" was buoyant and sunny, the new track was sleek and nocturnal, with thumping, minimal production reminiscent of classic Timbaland. It showed a different side of the 22-year-old prodigy, less playful and more seductive, and suggested that his upcoming major label debut won't just feature retreads of the single that first grabbed America's attention. Listening to it, you could almost see the video in your head: slo-mo club shots; popped bottles in the VIP; scantily-clad models draped over expensive-looking cars, etc.
Well, the video just dropped. And let's just say it's not what we expected.
Directed, as its predecessor, by Aminé himself, the "Redmercedes" video falls into the same bright, endearingly goofy category as "Caroline," albeit with a few, um, twists. In it, the rapper plays two roles: the manager of a fictional car dealership, and a prepster named DeAndre. Yep, that's him looking like the star of a gender-flipped sequel to White Chicks.
It's more than just a sight-gag. The video plays, humorously, with racial stereotypes, as the employees of the dealership eye DeAndre and crew with suspicion, until they threaten to contact the NWACP—the National White Association for Care and Pleasure. Like "Caroline," a lot of the performance takes place from the inside of a car, with Aminé rapping the whole thing in whiteface.
It's not the sort of move you'd anticipate from an artist whose just entered public consciousness, but it speaks to the confidence his label, Republic Records, must have in him, to let the dude execute his vision in the way he sees fit rather than forcing him to conform to the expectations of a potential mainstream star.