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Goldlink, Masego, EarthGang

  • Majestic 115 King Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)
RS48866_GoldLink Press Pic.jpg

DC rapper GoldLink is on a bit of a sleeper's upswing these days. His wonderful single "Crew," featuring what may be one of the best hooks of the year from Brent Faiyaz and an exuberant guest verse from Shy Glizzy (the remix is even better, and features one of Gucci Mane's most locked-in verses since his comeback) was just the kind of mid-level commercial success that helps right careers. GoldLink's confident verse on the single is a good summary of how he could find himself appreciated and overlooked at the same time: His rapping is acrobatic, subtly charismatic and executed in flawless double-time, but his delivery is also low-key enough to seem a bit muted to people used to rappers with hugely outsized personalities. Add to that the sense that he was in danger of becoming an also-ran in the recent past, and the success of the single becomes even more gratifying. "Crew" comes from his musically ambitious new album At What Cost, released in March on RCA. Compared to the bleak, covertly despairing atmospherics of the best trap and the sometimes harshly electronic backing tracks that rappers like Lil Uzi Vert have turned into an aesthetic, At What Cost makes use of a softer, but still colorful, R&B-infused tonal palette. There's a far more noticeable sense of melody in the production on songs like "Same Clothes As Yesterday" and "Roll Call" (the latter featuring an out-of-nowhere cameo from Mya), along with some brave genre experimentation—true to his DC roots, "Hands On Your Knees" sounds like a mid-concert go-go snippet that actually conveys what being in a go-go crowd must feel like. Rather than seeming unfinished, it shows why go-go has been such a DC mainstay for decades. This all contributes to the kind of major-label debut that seemed to die out sometime in the mid-'90's, and the fact that GoldLink managed to make something on a major label that is so accessible, yet uncompromised and true to himself, is truly commendable. He appears here with the jazz-influenced trap rapper Masego. —Mike Noto

Earlier Event: October 7
Tanya Tagaq
Later Event: October 7
Carbon Bangle, JOBS, Cap Alan