Music has never been so fluid, so nebulous, so undefined.
Artists can pilfer from whatever genre they please, with their magpie instincts unveiled in a constant digital tide of fresh innovation.
GoldLink has been at the fore of this. Fusing R&B with hip-hop, digital soul with elements of grime, his music is best summed up as, well, GoldLink.
New project 'At What Cost' is perhaps his most dynamic, daring release yet, a full length release that sits somewhere between an album and a mixtape.
Relentlessly sidestepping expectations, GoldLink breaks down 'At What Cost' in this exclusive guide.
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1. Opening Credit
This is the foreshadowing of what's to come and what to expect. A very quick glimpse into the most unique abstract city also known as the original murder capital. There’s a snippet of a news broadcast about Marion Berry, the mayor of DC, being arrested for possession of crack cocaine, as well as an interview with incarcerated teenagers from DC, speaking about how they’re a product of their environment.
2. Same Clothes As Yesterday ft. Ciscero
A slight commemoration to Nas' 'Life's A Bitch' with AZ where AZ starts off Nas' song with his own perspectives that later coexist with Nas' point of view on his mayday lifestyle. Ciscero plays the voice of reason being that he's the first person you hear and sets the entire tone for the album.
3. Have You Seen That Girl?
The most visually painted song on the album. It puts you in the seat of if you were to see a woman walk past you, and you have to try and swoon her in front of your homies and not get curved. Which the character tends to succeed, retrieve her number and meet her at the local party later on that evening.
4. Hands On Your Knees
The intro of the party scene. This is where you hear the main character arrive and the party chatter gets louder and the more the lead mic starts to command the crowd the rowdier it becomes.
The actual party. Now the party is jumping and the main character and his female muse are starting to interact. By the second verse he almost describes her persona as a figment of a prized possession and he's thankful he has her, as they're relationship begins to climax, a fight from the rivalling neighbourhood breaks out and someone gets shot. And the female muse is from the rivalling neighbourhood so she's upset with the main character that his people shot someone, hence the next song…
6. Herside Story
This song is about making things right with the female muse. She keeps ignoring him and blowing him off and eventually wins her over with smoothness and they're back together but warns the character that's there's danger headed his way so be careful.
7. Summatime ft. Wale
This is a summer wind down record. The vibe of the record is supposed to feel like summers peak where you know the end is near but you’re nowhere near fall/winter. More so, it was about a stripper who lives in the hills who ran from D.C. to "find herself". Wale delivers that message fully and bring the record all the way home.
8. Roll Call
This song is the most sunny record on the album, yet, its the most cynical in a way because it's all about hood stamps which is HUGE in gogo culture. This record was meant to give insight on what hood is which and ties into the narrative being built about the main characters slow build into power around the area since the shooting.
9. The Parable Of A Rich Man
This is a conversation with the devil about survivors guilt and sacrifice. This plays into the narrative as far as the devil speaking to the main character about saving him from near death encounters and now he wants to be paid back. The woman’s voice is not a suitor, but rather the devil.
This song ties the entire narrative together. This is the most powerful record in the album because it's a celebratory death record. The main character took the oath and he's the fuckin man now.
11. We Will Never Die
The main character is getting threats for his life but he believes he's immortal and nothing scares him nor can kill him.
12. Kokamoe Freestyle
It's an ode to a D.C. Legend named Kokamoe. He’s famously known to kick mindblowing freestyles on the X2 bus round Southeast DC to anyone who would listen. He’s a regular among bus drivers, police, and other people for the joy he brings to the community.
13. Some Girl
This song was about the main characters different encounters with women he was involved with, but how he ends up actually loving the girl he met at the party, and realizing she’s the one, instead of just some girl.
14. Pray Erryday
The most emotional evoking song was about survivors guilt and the main character dealing with retaliation and the death of those close to him, which he ultimately feels is all his fault.
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'At What Cost' is out now.