GoldLink (D’Anthony Carlos) from Washington D.C. has turned so many heads with his new fusion style (“future bounce”) and especially The God Complex mixtape (2014) that they’ve earn him a spot on XXL’s 2015 Class of Freshmen and the delight of a one Rick Rubin, the wizardly music mentor/producer who birthed Def Jam Recordings with Russell Simmons back in the ’80s. Together, Rubin and GoldLink have conceived GoldLink’s debut album And After That, We Didn’t Talk (released November 6). The short gangsta-less LP amalgamates several music genres and shows off GoldLink’s nimble chops on the mic, but the modest measure of hip-hop added is masked by the potency of its other elements.
The album is of course a blend of dance, r&b, go-go and pop music supported by GoldLink’s quick-fire, updated reggaeton-like delivery of romance rhymes and semi-melodic bars of amorous pop-rapping. He briefly talks about his rough childhood in the beginning “After You Left,” and then he goes straight to bed with his love/sex material. In his two singles, “Spectrum” and “Dance on Me,” he becomes tired of the usual courtship rituals (“Spectrum”) and dives down south for some p*ssy-eating (“Dance on Me”), but most of the time and elsewhere, he is more apt to praise his womanly subject than scratch his head because of her. The most impressionable moment comes in the penultimate track, “New Black,” where GoldLink repeats the line, “hip-hop will die I promise that, if we keep the lies in our raps [and] if we keep talking guns and gats in our raps.”
For good reason, GoldLink is obviously frustrated with how hip-hop is stuck in the ‘stone age’ of gangsterism and bling, but if he thinks that rap should address other topics (and it should), why would he spend most of his debut sounding off on relationships and sexual relations instead of speaking on more urgent problems like gross income inequality, corporate/governmental corruption, religious extremism that sometimes leads to violent conflict, the dumbing down of society or the adverse effects of the battle of the sexes? On And After That, We Didn’t Talk, GoldLink flaunts some impressive rapping skills over groovy beats, but in this project that is barely an LP and more like an EP with its eleven tracks consuming only thirty-three minutes, GoldLink sounds a little too much like his fellow Freshman K Camp with his only trademark feature being that he can rap fast. He has done well by establishing himself as anti gun violence here, but next time he should perhaps venture outside the box, or outside the party scene to be more accurate.