Amaarae – ‘Fountain Baby’ review: electric anthems from a fearless cultural disruptor

On her thrilling second album, the 28-year-old pushes the boundaries of African music to new, glorious highs

When Ghanaian-American singer Amaarae dropped her 2020 debut album ‘The Angel You Don’t Know’, she was immediately dubbed an alté-pop pioneer. After featuring Kali Uchis on the ‘Sad Girlz Luv Money’ remix the following year, the track became an internet sensation; its vibrant fusion of Latin and Afropop music catapulted Amaarae into mainstream consciousness, clocking up over 350 million Spotify streams along the way.

Using her expansive sonic approach as evidence, the 28-year-old has always been vocal about how genre categorisations for African artists are rigid and limiting, as she explained to The Guardian in 2021: “If it was left up to me, I wouldn’t even place a label on my music”. Returning with her second album ‘Fountain Baby’, her approach continues to be as fluid as the album’s title suggests. Rooted in a borderless sound that moves between orchestral strings on opener ‘All My Love’ to Senegalese rock rhythms throughout the hard-hitting ‘Counterfeit’, Amaarae highlights how diasporic living exposes one to a myriad of influences.

Since Amaarae released ‘The Angel You Don’t Know’, the popularity of African music has soared to new heights: Burna Boy became the first African artist to headline a UK stadium earlier this month; Wizkid sold out three consecutive O2 Arena shows in 2021. Looking to further establish her position in this constantly-evolving scene, Amaarae makes a significant shift as she progresses from a debut record that heavily relied on special guests, to a follow-up with no features.

The unbridled level of confidence required to take on such a feat is a testament to the singer trusting her unique approach to experimental pop. It’s a big risk – but one that instantly pays off. As the exhilarating ‘Angels In Tibet’ proves, Amaarae can carry an album independently, as her melodic rap style is underpinned by dynamic, percussion-heavy instrumentation.


On ‘Fountain Baby’, Amaarae pushes the boundaries of spirituality while exploring sexual desire. She’s developed a reputation for distinctive, sultry vocals that juxtapose her matter-of-fact lyricism, which she continues to lay down on ‘Sex, Violence, Suicide’, a thrashing punk-rock track. “Don’t care ‘bout what I’m asking you just fucking tell me yes,” she sings. “Tell me I’m the one, tell me I’m the best.”

Elsewhere, the astrology-themed anthem ‘Co-Star’ – an ode to the app used by much of Amaarae’s fanbase – details how spirituality in the diasporic community has moved away  from its Abrahamic origins, which older generations were influenced by. “Me and her it felt like a threesome / Must be Gemini”,” she sings.

On ‘Fountain Baby’, Amaarae doubles down on her role as a cultural disruptor – she continues to project a striking level of self-obsession that never feels obnoxious. The boundaries for African music are constantly moving, and across this album, Amaarae pushes them even further.


amaarae fountain baby

  • Release date: June 9
  • Record label: Golden Child/Interscope

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