Washington DC is “Chocolate City,” yet black culture is struggling to survive in the wake of rapid gentrification. District of Columbia rapper D’Anthony Carlos, aka GoldLink, makes bold bold statements and deep commentary on his old school home on his album “At What Cost.” His latest release, “Diaspora” is an even bolder statement combining a radical mix of cultures and styles reminiscent of DC roots.
The 23-year-old artist used “At What Cost” reinterpret go-go — a percussive, funk-inspired music and party culture indigenous to the DC. On his past tour promoting this album with indie electronic group Little Dragon, he flexed his diverse skills. Go-Go was was born in the 1970s and defined by artists like as late Chuck Brown, Rare Essence, Trouble Funk, Experience Unlimited. It is a sound rooted in Latin percussion, jazz, and African rhythms. At its foundation is a nonstop funk beat.
“It’s just that nobody’s ever told the story about D.C., ever. If they have, they’ve never told it correctly,” GoldLink said in a interview with LA Times. “Nobody really talks about the natives and what it means to them.” Goldlink went deep on D.C.’s culture to make his debut album. In “Have You Seen That Girl?” a lighthearted jam about admiring women around the DMV — a term that refers to D.C., Maryland and Virginia — GoldLink calls out the neighborhoods he roamed growing up, Landover, Fairmont Heights and Clay Terrace. “You gotta ride the bus, you gotta talk to the people,” he says. “You gotta get these stories, gather these experiences, gather your own experiences, dig deep within yourself, go to those places you don’t want to go.”
On the the back-to-back songs “Hands On Your Knees” and “Meditation” both songs are driven by strong percussion produced by the beatsmith Kaytranada. “Meditation,” in particular, features GoldLink’s spits over a dreamy beat, and rich vocals from R&B artist Jazmine Sullivan. GoldLink single “Got Friends” with Miguel was fire and his hit “Crew,” featuring Brent Faiyaz and Shy Glizzy, was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Performance at the 60th Grammy Awards as a testament to this artists skills.
On the first single to drop from the Diaspora album, “Zulu Screams”, Goldlink channels afrobeat energy with a futuristic dance banger. This album does not disappoint.
There’s this sci-fi element to “Zulu [Screams]” that makes the track infectious and draws you inward into hypnosis. The repeatability is the only one of its kind all year. The track is best understood with the body of work it belongs to. – Goldlink