GoldLink Brings The Bounce To Newspeak

  • Photo Julian McKenzie

Ever since his debut EP “The God Complex” seemingly fell out of the sky, Washington, D.C-native rapper GoldLink has delighted listeners, including myself, with his musical style of “future bounce” while keeping an air of mystique regarding his physical appearance.

Unlike Canadian R&B songbird, The Weeknd who channelled Michael Jackson while rarely showing his face at all in his early days of stardom, GoldLink only likes to give a taste of his true facial features. Even as you type his name on Google images, there aren’t many photos of him at all.

On the album cover of The God Complex there is a mask, which has become a symbol, a part of GoldLink’s image. During the rapper’s interviews and photoshoots, he only shows at most half of his face whether through camera angles and tricks, even using his fingers to cover his face; never revealing too much of himself.

This much is clear about GoldLink; he can create good music. He is among the young wave of talent looking to take over the music world. Being named on music magazine XXL’s Freshman List of 2015 is a testament to that.

This past Saturday at Newspeak, formerly known as Cabaret Underworld, GoldLink took the stage. Unmasked. It isn’t the first time he’s done so, but it was slightly surreal to see the artist live in person, especially when they’ve gone out of their way to cover their face from their spotlight.

GoldLink appeared on stage, surrounded by haze—I couldn’t tell if it was some kind of smoke machine or weed. The smell of marijuana didn’t overwhelm my nostrils so I wasn’t sure—and his own entourage, who couldn’t resist but throwing t-shirts into the crowd every so often. He was joined by opening acts Montrealers Louie P and his brother Kaytranada the latter of whom mostly stayed in the background.

GoldLink began with Bedtime Story, a smooth but banging track that is far from a lullaby unless a Fatman Scoop sample can put you to sleep and had the venue bouncing from there. The set featured some cuts from The God Complex, but the rapper also performed newer tracks including Dance On Me, a track that could be a song of the summer.

In addition, he appealed to the Montreal crowd by performing tracks like Sober Thoughts, produced by Kaytranada, as well as Funeral , a collaboration between him and The Celestics, Kaytranada and Louie P’s joint project.

As a side note, P impressed as an opener/stopgap before GoldLink came onstage, despite having his computer crash at one point during his set. He had the help from Kaytranada, spinning in the background before Louie P himself took over, playing entertaining cuts and keeping the crowd in the palm of his hand.

GoldLink’s set couldn’t have been longer than 30 minutes; maybe 40 if you’re generous. Louie P graced the stage for a much longer period of time. It was still long enough for even a casual observer to immerse and enjoy themselves into the world of bounce hip-hop, a subgenre that has dipped in and out of the mainstream.

The only reason why its sound hasn’t completely dominated airwaves and music players in 2015 may be because it’s waiting for “Fetty Wap” to settle into the mainstream fabric before coming up to upstage him.

After his set ended, GoldLink jumped off the stage and briefly interacted with fans. As a fan, I couldn’t help but approach the young upstart and congratulate him. I asked for a photo and he surprisingly obliged. As we posed for the photo, he had a finger over his face. Sure enough, GoldLink covered half his face, a trademark.

After the photo, I thanked him again. He showed his appreciation by pounding his heart with his fist. He walked into the darkness of Newspeak, disappearing from the crowd and any photo opportunity that presented itself.

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