GoldLink arrives in the new year fresh off a successful run in 2017 with his Grammy-nominated summer hit Crew (feat. Brent Faiyaz and Shy Glizzy) and the release of his acclaimed debut album At What Cost. GoldLink’s 2015 mixtape And After That, We Didn’t Talk steps out from the expected mixtape blueprint set out by past rap peers exploring genres such as Bounce, House, Electronic and Funk to create his cohesive and therapeutic diary that details on failed engagements, heartbreak and police brutality. Here are my 5 memorable moments from his critically acclaimed second mixtape.
5) ZIPPORAH (Track 2)
“What’s a nigga in America?” The level of depth in this question forces listeners to evaluate the relationship between America and its African American citizens – What does it mean to be a Black man in America? He refutes the idea of diluting himself for White Americas consumption, through lyrics like “Fuck America”. GoldLink changes the narrative in the second verse expressing regret at the breakup of his engagement. Ending the track reminiscing on how the couple hoped to raise a child together. If Solange’s A Seat at the Table is the Soundtrack to being unapologetically black then Zipporah is the soundtrack on how to survive in a system made against you.
4) AFTER YOU LEFT (Track 1)
In the space of a few minutes GoldLink manages to address topics that many of his rap peers struggle to. Laying himself bare from the first play he speaks on his accomplishments, the pressures of his new-found fame, homelessness, broken engagements and family feuds. After You Left showcases GoldLink at his best on a laid-back beat displaying a unique flow that many would find hard to imitate.
3) NEW BLACK (Track 10)
The most memorable feature of this song and probably the whole mixtape is the chilling but realistic line “Hip-Hop will die I promise that, if we keep the lies in our raps”. GoldLink pleads with his rap peers to stop romanticising gun violence as it leaves a negative influence on the Black community arguing that “Cops killing Blacks, Blacks killing Blacks but we gon’ die”. He poses the thought that the Black community is in a lose, lose situation because if the police don’t kill you, gun violence in your community will. GoldLink skilfully slides a sample from Outkast’s 1998 classic Rosa Parks in the background vocals as he scats over the wobbly instrumental. The social conscious track practically begs for an additional verse from Kendrick Lamar.
2) POLARIZED (Track 9)
The unsettling humming and gritty electronic bass are quite the strange pairing but what’s even more strange is when you realise this track is used as a chance to profess affection to a lover as GoldLink confesses “I have dreams about you”. Before describing what he would do for her with Demo Taped pleading with the mystery woman “Tell me what you really wanna say”. On paper Polarized is not meant to work but for some weird reason it not only works but Polarized executes its point across flawlessly.
1) DANCE ON ME (Track 5)
The nostalgic My Place sample taken from Tweet’s 2002 Southern Hummingbird instantly gives the track a vintage feel. Dance on Me is an action-packed breath of fresh air that is arguably the highlight of the mixtape. This track would fit perfectly on any mainstream radio playlist in 2018. GoldLink glides over the up-tempo beat with his fast-paced flow and even implements singing at times. If it wasn’t already obvious it’s extremely hard to deny his talent and versatility.
Stream And After That, We Didn’t Talk in full on Spotify below.