In the space of three years, 23-year-old DC rapper GoldLink has reinvented the hip-hop sound, and been a part of a whole new wave. With the release of his latest album ‘At What Cost’, listeners have been privy to his life on the streets. With an expansive body of work like this, one can only hope that we’ll get to hear and experience it live one day soon.
I was thinking about your sound when I was watching a documentary on the evolution of hip-hop and it was exploring that movement between the 70s and 90s. I remember you saying in an interview that your mission was to bring upbeat energy back to hip-hop, and that dance music and hip-hop didn’t really have a common place anymore. Where do you fit in the mix now that’s it 2017 and beyond?
I feel like it’s probably gonna circle back around; it’s gonna go back to being more musical, more futuristic and more balanced.
With that in mind, your track ‘Hands On Your Knees’ has that 70s vibe going on, which is very reminiscent of ‘The Getdown’. Do you feel like your spirit was birthed in that era and that’s how it influences your sound today?
Na, I just think it’s more so that my parents are from that era so they brought that to me, brought that vibe to me, and so I played off both of them.
What is your earliest memory of hip-hop music?
Andre 3000 ‘Hey Ya’ for sure.
I know you had a special moment with him at your first show in London, and you’ve now worked with him. Is that a dream come true for you?
I wouldn’t say it was a dream. I can’t explain it. It was weird, but I feel like it was something that was definitely gonna happen.
I’d like to talk to you about the title of your album ‘At What Cost’. I think it’s really interesting to understand what it means in 2017. You’ve clearly made sacrifices along the way, but what feels the most real to you as a result of those sacrifices?
The love from the city itself is the most real. It’s the same streets where I was getting in trouble or I was getting kicked out of class; this is the realest spot.
I know it’s only been three or so years since your first album ‘The God Complex’, but how does your music today reflect where you are as an individual?
I feel like the music is more mature and more grown up. It’s simpler yet it’s still complicated so it’s still me. I still am I who I am when I did The God Complex when I was 20, so I still got that same energy; it’s just more controlled and focused.
What is your favourite way to listen to music?
I like to listen to it in the best speakers possible, unbiased and with nobody talking, period.
Australians obviously love you; you’ve come out here twice now, and your set at Laneway Festival last year was my favourite of the day so thank you for making my experience. What do you love about your Aussie fans and coming out here?
Every time I come it feels bigger & better. I feel appreciated so much; it’s almost like you guys preserve me. I always come to Australia last which to me is the best because it gives you time to listen to the music and understand what I was trying to say.
You have Coachella coming up. Is this the first time you’ll be performing ‘At What Cost’ in a live setting? What can the people expect?
Yeah it is actually, and you can expect a very DC experience.
I know you had a moment of luck when you posted your music to SoundCloud, and it had a strong trajectory. Do you think it’s all about luck and timing when it comes to independent artists making it to the big time?
Yeah it’s luck and timing but at the end of the day, it has to be good music. I know a lot of people who have really bad music but have good timing and make it really big. Even after the luck and timing wears off though, it has to be about the music.
GoldLink’s new album ‘At What Cost’ is available now through RCA Records, or you can just stream it here via Spotify.