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My obsessions with up and coming music artists have never lasted for more than two months, so choosing my favorite artist for a year was always quite daunting. Then, there was GoldLink. After hearing one of his early singles, “Fall in Love”, at an audition this fall, I consistently listened to him for months on end. Without hesitation, I can say that GoldLink was my artist of the year. Now, the Washington D.C. native is heading out on tour for his debut studio album, At What Cost, and it is definitely going to be an experience that needs proper preparation.
GoldLink, born D’Anthony Carlos, started his career in 2014 with The God Complex. The nine-track mixtape introduces his less-than-traditional rap/ electronic alternative R&B style. Despite this description, one thing GoldLink continues to prove is that his music cannot be placed in a box. It draws from a wide array of influences, from funk to go-go music. His distinct sound has taken him from SoundCloud regular to rising hip-hop legend.
Tedy Andreas is “Ominous” in New Music Video: Watch
Kayo Genesis Wakes the World Up with New Video, “Woke”: Watch
Now that you’ve got some background info, it’s time to get to the music. At What Cost is definitely not meant to be played as background noise. The dynamic collection requires active listening, telling a story with candid lyrics and eccentric offbeats. It only makes sense that the album depicts so much of GoldLink’s personal experiences, as it is an “ode to [his] hometown”. Just like the musical history of Washington D.C. GoldLink’s album is rich with various sounds and flavors. You’d be surprised at how well many of these sounds and flavors work together. Nonetheless, GoldLink somehow makes it all work.
Hints of classic hip-hop, raw sound bites, electronic effects and pristine production combine to create an album of modern nostalgia. The first four tracks alone emulate this theme. “Opening Credit” welcomes you to the whirlwind craft that is At What Cost with an intriguing (and maybe even unsettling) blend of synthesized noises and audio clips. The track effortlessly transitions into “Same Clothes as Yesterday” which maintains the same electro-vibe as “Opening Credit”. GoldLink and Ciscero’s lyrics are what begin to paint the whole picture. Songs like “Have You Seen That Girl” and “Hands on Your Knees” add the vibrant colors that make this picture complete, juxtaposing house music with afrobeats and every other style in between.
Since there isn’t much more I can do to adequately explain GoldLink’s artistry in At What Cost, I suggest you just listen to the album yourself. If you really want to prepare to hear it live come this fall, I suggest you do so several times. After all, this is a high-powered work full of culture and narrative. It’s compelling and thoughtful; the music makes you want to get up and dance but also chill in solitude. It definitely can’t be digested all at once.
My name is Ina and I'm an avid lover of fashion, food, friends, dance, music, and herb puns. I want to be as cool as Millie Bobby Brown when I grow up. Boston University Class of 2020.