Album Rating

GoldLink – At What Cost (Album Review)

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BY POPULAR DEMAND, I am reviewing GoldLink’s “At What Cost” album! You guys know I usually tweet out if I think a project is dope or not, and save the details for the review; I did not do so this time around, instead, I took to Twitter and simply said: “I have a few things to say about this GoldLink project” and left it at that. It’s been about a month now, so it’s time to speak up. I will not sugar coat shit here, and I will not say what you guys want me to say about this album; with that being said, I’ve always thought GoldLink was dope and had potential, but now I STRONGLY BELIEVE he could be something serious and is here to stay and shake up the game forever.

TRACKLIST

1. Opening Credit
2. Same Clothes As Yesterday ft. Ciscero
3. Have You Seen That Girl?
4. Hands On Your Knees ft. Kokayi
5. Meditation ft. Jazmine Sullivan and KAYTRANADA
6. Herside Story ft. Hare Squead 
7. Summatime ft. Wale and Radiant Children
8. Roll Call ft. Mya
9. The Parable of the Rich Man ft. April George
10. Crew ft. Brent Faiyaz and Shy Glizzy
11. We Will Never Die ft. Lil Dude
12. Kokamoe Freestyle
13. Some Girl ft. Steve Lacy
14. Pray Everyday (Survivor’s Guilt)

 

SUMMARY

I feel like GoldLink delivered a musical gem with “At What Cost.” GoldLink gives us an album that celebrates his city with excellence. Upon the album’s release, GoldLink told VIBE that “My biggest influence is my city.”, and this is easily seen throughout this project. GoldLink first started making his name in 2014 with the mixtape ‘The God Complex’, in which he immediately made an impact on audiences with his self-termed style called “future bounce”. 2015’s “And After That, We Didn’t Talk,” followed in the same sonic groove. “At What Cost” flips the script on his first two releases, moving away from “future bounce” and more towards the regional sounds of D.C.T. The two singles “Crew” and “Meditation” got us primed for the hip-hop and dancing energy that the album exudes across fourteen tracks.

The features on here were beyond impressive: The lineup included Jazmine Sullivan, Kaytranada, Steve Lacy, Radiant Children, Koyaki, Mya, Hare Squead, April George, Ciscero, Shy Glizzy, Brent Faiyaz, Lil Dude, and Wale (It is pretty dope that some of these featured artists hailed from the DMV.). None of the features on this album felt superfluous or unnecessary which is rare these days.

At What Cost opens up with “Opening Credit” which is an array and clash of sounds: It’s dark and scrambled because you can’t make out what’s going down and what nor the direction will be.  There is a scrambled message though towards the end. “I’ll will never rest in peace, Not even when I’m dead. My soul will be fighting. You don’t stop ’til all of us dead. ‘Til the old District of Columbia go up in gunsmoke.” Interesting right?

“Same Clothes As Yesterday” was definitely one of my favorite tracks on here! It features Ciscero who right out the gate speeds and splurges all over the track. This was a perfect match with the beat’s vibrancy and upbeat tempo. GoldLink follows up and as we expect smashes his verse. The song keeps the repetitive hook going to close out the song and that’s what grabs you, a catchy aspect to infect your brain and stay with you.

“Same Clothes As Yesterday” is followed up by the early contender for the song to top your summer playlists, “Have You Seen That Girl?” On here GoldLink does GoldLink and flexes his ability of storytelling. He talks to us through seeing his potential dream girl. This was a real dope track content wise of course but production on here stood out to me. A steady and maintained electronic beat that keeps the drums slamming throughout, never letting up. Gotta love it.

With “Hands On Your Knees” following up, for a second GoldLink takes us back to the spinning times of Disco and Soul Train with Kokayi acting as a DJ to encourage everyone to let loose and “do that shit!”. This track served as an interlude and it was great segway into “Meditation.” This Kaytranada production was too smooth and it accompanied with cool and rhythmic lyrics from both GoldLink and Jazmine Sullivan…. BANGER ALERT. GoldLink never lets up as he raps about romancing, loving the apple of his eye, and just enjoying life. Jazmine Sullivan comes in as a silk smooth voice providing the chorus and bridge. Kaytranada does an excellent job with changing the beat on a dime and retaining the original feel and sounds helping the song progress back and forth between GoldLink and Jazmine.

The next track up is “Herside Story”. Here GoldLink teams up with Hare Squead (Jessy Rose) for a track that has that “rough around the edges” feel. GoldLink is rapping in short burst here, and his rapping compliments the beat real well. Hare Squead did his thing on here too!

At this point, we have officially hit the halfway mark on the album, as the album slowly takes more of a personal and intimate sound on “Summatime”. ‘Summatime’ talks about love lost, and women relations populate the track. GoldLink and Wale come across as two poets speaking on past relationships and old tales, showing off their eye for details in a short and sweet track.  Radiant Children do the heavy lifting with the chorus, complimenting  Wale and GoldLink perfectly.

We got a real electronic bounce and jolt of energy with “Roll Call” featuring Mya…..(YES MYA. Y’ALL DONT UNDERSTAND HOW SYCED I WAS WHEN I SAW HER AS A FEATURE ON THIS ALBUM. I WANT HER SO MOTHA…. never mind.) Mya shows D.C major love, as she owns the hook, while GoldLink comes through rapping-wise. On Link’s part, he lightly talks about the day to day DMV life, showing how it goes down here from the  partying, to the bravado, to just speaking on the hood in general. The production here was masterful, with the instruments allowing them to be comfortable and accentuate  their fields on the track.

“The Parable of the Rich Man” is the most polarizing track on the entire album. Sonically, it’s the most distinctive, as both GoldLink and April George borderline sound like they’re coming through TV static or something. This was not really one of my faves, but it was a solid track.

Now we arrive with “Crew,” the smash single off the album that provided you with that feel good vibe that you can nod your head to.  GoldLink, Shy Glizzy, and Brent Faiyaz work in unison to create one of the the album’s many highlights. The blend of fast paced raps, Shy Glizzy attacking the track, and Brent assisting with a matter of fact voice for the hook plus the minimal sounds backing them up provides an insanely catchy track that’ll stick with you long after the song is over.

“We Will Never Die” displayed  a angry and ready to flex on anyone Goldlink, and I loved it! This track featured Lil Dude, someone I wasn’t too familiar with, but I vibed with on his verse. This track was definitely the most rap heavy and monotone. The production is very simplistic, which is a good thing, because it allows the two MC’s to speak their peace about gangs, youth, and letting violence happen if need be.

Okay now we talk about the “Kokamoe Freestyle.” GoldLink goes in on this very tough tribal futuristic sounding beat. He does not hold back on here what so ever! It’s hard hitting, funky, and maintains the bounce you’ve heard for most of the songs on the album. Basically, production on this track was “dumb lit.”! GoldLink takes advantage of this, by telling us a story about where he’s been, where he’s at now, violence in the streets, relations to gangs, and the relationship to the police. I love how this track ends with the closing vocals. Remember… “Trigger has no heart.”

On the second to last track called “Some Girl,” The production was heavy hitting, as the drums alone should grab your attention. . GoldLink brought on Steve Lacy on this track to sing the hook about searching for love (BY THE WAY, Get Hip to Steve Lacy). I liked these two pairing up on here a lot. Overall, we get two like-minded artists to create a unique sounding love song.

As we reach the closing track “Pray Everyday (Survivor’s Guilt)”, we are given a song that leaves GoldLink at a vulnerable place through the music. He hits us with bars discussing drinking, sexual lusts, and his position as a role model in the DMV. The choir in the background tugs at the religious feelings and sentiments he shares on the track before the outro of a prayer takes us out.

BEST SONGS

Favorite Tracks: I usually list my favorite tracks in the beginning but I would basically be listing every track (I loved this project that much). I probably could do without “The Parable of the Rich Man” , “Herside Story” and yeah that’s about it!

 

OVERALL RATING (10/10)

“At What Cost” IS the most complete project of the year so far (It may even be GoldLink’s best work.). My cousin KB and my boy Drew are some of the biggest GoldLink fans, and they were the ones who got me hip to him. I thought he was dope then, but after hearing this project I think it’s safe to say I’m a GoldLink SUPER FAN! With this project, GoldLink has created an album that is a blend of summertime popish feels, with that real rap story telling enjoyment, with sprinkles of GoldLink’s personal in depth look on what love, relationships, and life comes packaged with.

Production on this project was “A1.”, I was beyond impressed. This is a WIN FOR GOLDLINK and a WIN FOR GOLDLINK IS ALSO A WIN FOR THE DMV. I highly recommend you guys check out this project if you haven’t yet; You’re Welcome.

Also, I learned GoldLink and I go to the same barber as I was proofreading this whiles getting a haircut!!! Interview one day? We’ll see.

I’d Like to thank @RatingsGameGuy for allowing me to bring you this review of such a great project. You can check out some of my other reviews at insuavewetrust.wordpress.com and follow me on Twitter @SuaveMonatana . Thank you!

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