Friday, April 14, 2017

Sky Box Sounds vol. 41 | At What Cost - GoldLink

An easy contender for my blooming list of  S U M M E R  2 K 1 7  favorites, D'Anthony Carlos, professionally known as GoldLink, has fully emerged on the music scene with the release of his debut studio album, At What Cost,  which is only years shy of his latest mix tape, And After that, We Didn't Talk. Ever since The God Complex mix tape in 2014, GoldLink has been giving us an earful with quality sound.

Hailing from the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area-casually referred to as the DMV-GoldLink's sonic profile seems to be progressively unique by default, given the solid traditions of where he was born. Infusing more of a go-go sound this time around, this album is rich with the culture of the rapper's hometown. It's not an upbeat tempo go-go like BackYard Band or New Impressions, but it does have an element that makes it feel like the humid summertime in Washington, D.C. Darius Moreno, the young illustrator who is responsible for the album artwork, adds a kind of playful and imagination ridden twist on the common vices of the industry (money, cars, and women). I like Moreno's use of an artistic style that is somewhat reminiscent of 90's hip-hop culture, an aesthetic I can definitely appreciate as someone who grew up in that era.

From the surprise cameo from 90's R&B icon, Mya, to that magnetic, ongoing bond he seems to have with Montreal producer/DJ, KAYTRANADA, the collaborative efforts on this album are stellar and probably is the backbone of what makes this album so great. A host of mainstream and underground names in the industry came together to confirm the press play value of the whole compilation. It's also amazing that he was able to hunt down artists, some of whom have literally been in hiding for decades, and like the findings pure Egyptian gold, resurrect the voices of the dead to create a masterpiece.

Not quite mid point on the track list, the interlude on track 4, Hands On Your Knees ft. Koyayi, sets the tone for this album. Lights low with a flavored combination of blue, red, and green bulbs flickering, a disco DJ in a semi-lit corner of the room, spinning and hyping the crowd filling a Friday night house party in the basement is the image I'm able to paint in my head. Ultimately, this interlude sets the tone for the listening experience; it's something like being in a time capsule of sorts that allows the listener time travel privileges, which captures those nostalgic ideas and brings them to life on this record.

A staple track and one of my favorites on this record seems to be Crew, a melodic mid tempo, cruising-in-the-summer tune featuring Brent Faiyaz & Shy Glizzy. It's such a fun homage to their common home arena, radiating more of that home sweet home vibe that can be sensed throughout the album. My other favorites are Some Girl featuring Steve Lacy, which I love even more than Crew, and Meditation with Ms. Jazmine Sullivan's velvet voice blessing the hook. 

Overall, there's a very present and positive, feel good energy that circulates so effortlessly, and every transition, track, and feature compliment that flow, as well as the story telling aspect of this album, exceptionally well. He continues to prove that he rides his own wave. 

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