As much as we hate to say it, we tend to feel captivated when celebrities carry themselves with heaping portions of hubris. From songwriters like Kanye West to John Lennon, artists have embraced pride and realized it can capture our attention like no other; up-and-comer GoldLink is starting to do just that.
In his debut mixtape The God Complex, the 20-year-old rapper from the DMV works hard to envelop listeners in a relatively novel sound archetype; by the nine-track project’s dark ending, his efforts comes to full fruition. What Complex lacks in length it more than makes up for in quality, catching the attention of rap heads everywhere since its early April release.
Atop his signature style of backdrop – aptly labeled “Future Bounce” – GoldLink rips apart lines at a fiery pace, seldom stopping for breaths and seamlessly transitioning from the spoken word to buttery vocals on songs like “Hip-Hop (Interlude)”. The animated, speedy deliveries match the electronic-heavy beats that come courtesy of a host of talented producers, including Fingalick, Louie Lastic, Teklun, Lakim, and JFK Jaylen!. Even as the tempo of each track bounces at a turbulent speed, GoldLink slides through his bars without batting an eye – listen to “Bedtime Story” for reference. Still only the beginning of a youthful career, such a formidable showcasing of skill makes you wonder how far this emcee will take his talents. As he states on the aforementioned “Hip-Hop” interlude, “I’m just warming up n***a / you get used to this shit/ no beginners luck, bitch”; he vocalizes his confidence in ability, validating a yearning for this so-called “God-Complex” status.
For the most part, this debut boasts a (paradoxically) futuristic-retro feel with a light-hearted tone and a slight edge. The God Complex attains its ultimate potential, though, with its closing and self-reflective song “When I Die”. Revelatory and foreshadowing, the track completes GoldLink’s freshman body of work in a fitting manner.
In this melancholic ending, he says, “I hope (sghtj) gonna take my throne” – the sole moment of apparent doubt and human vulnerability on the album. The backwards sounding, McCallaman-produced track provides listeners much needed insight into the deepest depths of GoldLink’s mind, expressing his troubled past with his father as well as the legacy he wishes to leave.
Some moments on the album are plagued by seemingly unwarranted usages of auto tune, moments that would stand to benefit from the quick-paced lyricism Goldlink has proven himself capable of executing. And while you can applaud him for pushing his artistic limits with the “Future Bounce” genre, a handful of tracks that preceded this album would have perfectly catered to his voice (“On & On” and “Creep”, for example). At points, a slight, distancing discord between his flow and the natural grove of the beat disappoint (Listen: “CNTRL”), but the jubilance of tracks such as “Ay Ay” lead to a healthy, nullifying recovery.
When taken altogether, Complex attaches gravity and power to an artist of epic potential. Charismatic, confidant and an effortless entertainer, GoldLink is destined to stride towards the stars.