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It only took one viewing of GoldLink’s video for “When I Die” for me to know that the young Virginia rapper was bringing something out of the ordinary to the table. With the release of his debut project, The God Complex, GoldLink presents a breath of musical fresh air that arrived out of left field. It’s a much-needed new ingredient that’s been cast into the melting pot that is the DMV music scene.
The God Complex’s strongest characteristic is its distinct approach to song-making. “Ay Ay,” the opening track, mixes a double-time pace, spaced-out breakdown and an unexpected “Men in Black” sample that sets a playful tone. “Planet Paradise” is a musical sprint, with producer Louie Lastic deploying multiple forms of percussion along the way. “Divine” uses a Dazz Band lyric as the foundation and builds into a brilliant ode to the opposite sex.
Though it’s an interlude, “Hip-Hop” is a brief but impressive coming-of-age recollection, featuring producer Teklun doing a stellar Just Blaze impression, Pharcyde sample and all. Meanwhile, GoldLink fondly recalls growing up on hip-hop: “That old radio music had us feelin’ older than what we actually were, but I love that.” The mixtape ends with the aforementioned, equally short “When I Die,” which will leave you valuing life more than you did before.
With The God Complex, GoldLink has created one of the year’s more enthralling projects on both the local and national scenes. With only nine tracks that clock in at a combined 26 minutes, the project breezes from beginning to end, disarming the listener with a dizzying array of sounds.
Enjoy the project in its entirety below. If it’s to your liking, you can see GoldLink live when he headlines a show at U Street Music Hall on April 12.