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Goldlink

Jan 05/2016
WORDS Erin Lowers PHOTOGRAPHY Jan-Michael Stasiuk

 

Shy, but bold. Eclectic, but tailored. Gifted, but still obstinate when it comes to his craft. These are a few of the characteristics that define DMV rapper and ‘future bounce’ artist GoldLink, leading him to the fork in the road between independent artist and soon-to-be household name. In just two years, GoldLink has embarked on a journey that took him from the shark tank of hip-hop upstarts to a coveted position on the 2015 XXL Freshman list, and finally to the attention of Rick Rubin, who executively produced his debut album, And After That, We Didn’t Talk.

It’s like Montell Jordan’s ‘This Is How We Do It’ on crack… It’s the sound I’m bringing out of the DMV, one heavily influenced by go-go.

Despite his quick rise to fame, when it comes to his music, GoldLink remains true to the path he wants to walk. “I started making music a little over two years ago because I was bored with the music that was coming out,” he explains. “Soulection connected with me on that – we collectively sought out other options this industry has to offer. ‘Future bounce’ was a term created by [Soulection’s] Lakim. It’s like Montell Jordan’s ‘This Is How We Do It’ on crack… It’s the sound I’m bringing out of the DMV, one heavily influenced by go-go.”

This sense of nostalgia mixed with modern-day elements of hip-hop music has created a distinct and potent sound in GoldLink’s music, most notably heard on recent singles “Dance On Me” or “Spectrum”.

With the support of the Soulection collective, GoldLink also worked actively in 2015 with hip-hop veteran and seasoned producer Rick Rubin, who shaped the careers of Frank Ocean, Johnny Cash and Kanye West, to name a few. “Rick’s taught me that what has gotten me here, will keep me here. He offers light suggestions here and there, but he’s like a spirit guide,” GoldLink says.

In an era of ‘microwave journalism’ – as click-bait headlines and gossip have come to be known – GoldLink strives to focus on personal connections: “I think, overall, if you speak with conviction and truly believe in it, that’s how you directly connect with anyone.” Holding on to artistic purity, GoldLink has found himself at the helm of critical praise, but reminds us that “you can either be told what to believe or listen and believe it for yourself.” So do accolades like ‘Album of the Year’ or even acclaimed awards such as the Grammys mean anything to him? “Maybe one day. But my biggest accolade is seeing my mom proud and supportive of me.”

GoldLink will be heading on an American tour later this spring.

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