Born in the Bronx and raised between Altanta and Accra, Amaarae’s sound spans worlds, a genreless smörgåsbord that fuses African drums with the cadence of southern rap and flair of 90s punk. A player in the alté movement that emerged from West Africa in the late 2010s, the singer’s ascent to global pop ubiquity was propelled by the 2021 track “SAD GIRLZ LUV MONEY”, a slinky, Moliy-assisted smash with that earworm hook “I really like to party/I cannot control my body”. Once Kali Uchis hopped on the remix it was well and truly over, and the song’s hypnotic purrs still dominate TikTok to this day. Now, Amaarae delivers her long-awaited follow-up to 2020’s THE ANGEL YOU DON’T KNOW, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Like a summer solstice or the first festival of the season, Fountain Baby is here to make one thing clear: we back outside.
A surefire contender for soundtrack of the summer, Fountain Baby is an album of sexual liberation, sweaty hedonism, and relentless joy. On the aptly named “Co-Star” (iykyk), Amaarae recounts various rendezvous via astrological placements (“Cancer, must be nice/Scorpio at night/Fires what you like?”), while the brazen flexes of “Angels in Tibet” elevate bragging to its own art form. And though we’re spoilt for choice, “Counterfeit” may just be the album’s standout, with its chorus of “Rich bitch, rich bitch/Na na na na na/Ching-ching, ching-ching/La la la la la” proving that the best pop hooks are always snappy, funny, and a little bit dumb. But on an album filled with so many directives – “come get her”, “don’t waiver”, “tell me who you are” – it’s the singer’s confidence that shines through the most, carrying the entire record until its close. On Fountain Baby, Amaarae has truly stepped into the star she was destined to become.