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Standout Track: No. 2, “Planet Paradise,” a highly percussive audio overload from Virginia rapper GoldLink’s superb debut project, The God Complex. The song is a musical sprint that rides the same Minnie Ripperton sample A Tribe Called Quest used on “Lyrics to Go” all the way to the finish line. Along the way, GoldLink splashes uptempo rhymes across Louie Lastic’s beat like he’s Jackson Pollock.
Musical Motivation: The song has a more somber meaning than its sunny vibe and frenetic pace suggest. “I wrote a street record you could to dance to,” the 20-year-old explains. “The hook [“Oh God, shout out to the squad/ Real niggas die and every day we pray to God”] is kind of a gang chant, on the low. So it’s honestly a story about gang banging.” The dancehall-worthy drums in the last 20 seconds of the song, which Goldlink says are the joint result of his and Lastic’s love of percussion, hint at what might come from future collaborations. “I like instrumentation,” he says. “We kind of put little teasers of something we might work on or might not work on to keep people guessing.”
GoldLink’s Mystique: Images of GoldLink are scarce, and he wore a mask at the beginning of his album release performance at U Street Music Hall on April 12. The rapper says he wants to keep the focus on his music. “I really didn’t want people to associate the music with an entity,” he says. “I wanted them to associate the music with [its] quality…Then I came up with this ‘God Complex’ theme: you don’t really see his face. You can’t figure him out; he won’t let you. You have to go off pure trust.”