Goldlink Has Best Trait Has Muted

Stevenson Altidor

During a conversation with GQ in 2019, a then 26-year-old GoldLink stated that he had no sense of identity once he went through his belongings, buying clothes, cars, and jewelry solely to own them.

Throughout At What Cost, you hear a man who knows himself better than anyone else. The album outro track “Pray Everyday,” the D.C. rapper said something that made it very plain of the traits that make him polarizing. At the end of the verse, he stated, “I don’t have any industry friends, ’cause I’m rude,” setting off alarms in my head. The distinct feature that sets him apart from his peers is evident.

However, something changed after 2019. When Mac Miller passed away, fans and artists alike were shocked. A man beloved by many, dropping what was universally considered his best album, was gone too soon. For fans, we can only mourn with the music. As a friend, there’s a sense of obligation to do more. Even more so in today’s social media world. On its merits, highlighting a brief moment of tension to display a mutual love for one another sounds sincere. However, GoldLink’s execution was poor at best and narcissistic at worst.

Relentlessly attacked by social media and blasted by some in the industry, Link went AWOL. Besides a stellar guest verse on Kaytranda’s “Vex Oh,” a voice that breathed assuredness went silent. Out of nowhere, on November 7, 2020, a thinly veiled song titled “Best Rapper In The Fucking World.” coated in arrogance, dropped on all streaming platforms. Hip-house-inspired production containing strutting synths and intoxicating drums, different from his previous works. The production prescribed to make the listener tolerate the harsh vocals was not enough.

No longer can we hear that hypnotic voice that makes heads swing from side to side. No longer can we hear one of the best flows and deliveries in the game clearly. Instead, GoldLink sounds agitated. Doubling down on his post, saying, “About your friends/about my post/about my man, Mac/ yeah he gone/ And he did, what he did.” Instead of explaining his thought process and intentions, the D.C. rapper didn’t acknowledge how harmful his tribute is.

What followed was an album that can be explained in both being out of touch and forward-thinking. In HARAM!, that magnetic voice that made fans swing to his voice shrieked into a $10 microphone. The man who said what he wanted, whenever he wanted, distorted the volume. However, the production is extraordinary. The features outshined the main act consistently. The producers paved the way for a psychedelic adventure, only for the pilot to disembark from its route. Link is the weakest part of the album.

He’s still as confident and arrogant as ever in his rhymes. Refusing to let disrespect go uncontested, the audience in front of the podium doesn’t believe the act anymore. Diaspora offered a realm of safety behind the braggadocious rhymes. Add in a few with themes on relationships, fame, and his upbringing. HARAM! Is raspy with violent intent. A creative outlet for his pent-up anger.

This could have been his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The formula Kanye laid down by one of his peers is available. Kanye doubled down his traits and created a classic. Taking a drastic turn sonically, embracing himself in both lyrics and theme while accepting the actions that turn him into a villain. GoldLink only accomplished one of these feats.

On his debut project Diaspora, GoldLink once again embraced his role as the anti-hero. Stating on the single “No Lie,” that “Yeah, GoldLink is a good example for the assholes and the adolescent.” However, is this the example he wants to set now? Being self-aware of who you are but unable to fully comprehend the effect of those actions. No one questioned the intent, which came from the place of love. We criticized how he said it. For GoldLink to grab our ear once again, he has to clear up his mixes first.