After delivering two very solid mixtapes (The God Complex and After That We Didn't Talk), Goldlink has finally released his debut album At What Cost - a beautiful ode to his hometown, Washington, D.C.
The eerily glitchy commencement track "Opening Credit" perfectly sets the stage for what's to follow as the rapper admits that he will "never rest in peace, not even when [he's] dead" while his soul continues to fight "'til the old District of Columbia go up in gun smoke."
D.C.-born and Maryland-raised, Goldlink embarks on a sonic journey with his latest offering to emphasize the dazzling features peculiar to the region. With mentions of the city's exuberant night life on "Kokamoe Freestyle" or the specific neighborhood call-outs on "Have You Seen That Girl?" and "Roll Call," At What Cost provides both listeners very much so or not all familiar with D.C. vivid insight to its culture.
A notable element of the album is its strong influence from a genre native to the city: go-go. Pioneered by the renowned late musician Chuck Brown in the 1970s, go-go music emerged as a derivative of funk and quickly became the unofficial soundtrack for D.C. In an interview with Fader, Goldlink expressed his love for go-go, stating "It almost shapes us as a community and who we are. It’s like the music is the background for the entire city."
The rapper's explanation of the symbolic genre is no understatement. From top to bottom, the album is textured with lively go-go references. Even the vibrant album artwork - curated by D.C. artist Darius Moreno - is reminiscent of the photo booth backdrop's at go-go venues.
Representing a largely overlooked area, it is quite refreshing to see Goldlink putting on for D.C. with his latest album. The features with fellow D.C. based artists such as Mya, Wale, and Shy Glizzy doesn't hurt either.
Be sure to check out Goldlink's debut album At What Cost here.