This GoldLink article was written by Sam Forsdick, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Hazel Webster.
Only a year has passed since the release of GoldLink’s debut mix-tape ‘The God Complex’ yet his rise over the past twelve months has been meteoric, with accolades that include receiving a coveted spot in XXLs freshman class of 2015, signing to Black Butter Records, and receiving a co-sign from legendary producer Rick Rubin.
Yet as soon as GoldLink spits “I made a hundred thousand dollars this year, that still don’t mean shit” it’s clear that he has remained grounded despite his accelerated route to stardom. For GoldLink there are clearly more important things in life than money; more specifically it is the all-conquering emotion of love which seems to have been playing most prominently on the mind of the 22-year-old rapper whilst making ‘And After That We Didn’t Talk’.
GoldLink begins his debut album with the break up. ‘After You Left’ opens with the screech of tires on tarmac, the sound of a car crash and a recorded message from a past lover. It’s a rather cryptic opening to the album but it is by no means throwaway – after all GoldLink has claimed to have gone through 800 possible variations before settling on this. By dealing with the messy breakup first it leaves space on the rest of the album for GoldLink to reflect on the woman he so misses, on ‘Spectrum’ and ‘See I Miss’, and the mistakes he made, on ‘Dance On Me’ and ‘Late Night’.
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A large part of GoldLink’s appeal is due to the fact that the funky house music concoction that Louie Lastic and the Soulection producers have dreamt up is so upbeat and original. This fusion of hip hop and electronic music is difficult to pull off as hip hop is music traditionally used to impart a message or tell a story whilst dance music is more concerned with the immediate and getting people on their feet.
Despite a valiant effort ‘And After That, We Didn’t Talk’ ultimately fails to do both at once. At times the hooks feel forced in order to fit the production which in turn draws away from GoldLink’s lyricism. The best example of this is perhaps on ‘New Black’ which features a Kendrick Lamar-esque verse which discusses discrimination by the police before regressing to “Bibbity bibbity bop bop, New Black, the scat, dat beat box” on the hook – a classic case of style over substance.
This is echoed in GoldLink’s delivery that flits from fast rapping to smooth R&B vocals. It is perhaps going to be the most divisive element of the album as it is the type of flow you are either going to love or hate. On ‘Zipporah’, a standout track from the album, GoldLink’s delivery is at its best providing a lot of energy and urgency to his flow in spite of its musicality. However on ‘Palm Trees’ he reverts completely to the R&B vocals, which although not bad, seem somewhat lacking in comparison.
The album then ends simply with the word “repeat”; is this because the eternal tale of love and loss is destined to repeat itself, or maybe GoldLink is simply insisting you listen to those beats once more? It may be enough to make you press the repeat button once or twice but overall ‘And After That We Didn’t Talk’ lacks those standout moments to keep you coming back for more.
‘And After That, We Didn’t Talk’ is out now via Soulection.