From the creation of Go-Go to the distinct sound of D.C. Hardcore, musicians based in our nation’s capital have always pushed stylistic boundaries.
This tradition continues with today’s D.C. hip-hop, where funk, Latin, dance and dancehall are all welcome in the mix, and such diversity is on full display on GoldLink’s second studio album, Diaspora.
With current radio hip-hop sticking with increasingly tedious trap beats, Diaspora is a breath of fresh air… at times. GoldLink goes for a sound that is much more club friendly than anything on 2017’s excellent At What Cost? The formula works well on tracks like the fun dancehall banger “Yard,” sees mixed results on “Joke Tip” and “Zulu Screams,” and crosses into generic pop territory on “More.”
The features are a bit of a mixed bag too. Having Tyler, The Creator rap over a fast, Latin-influenced beat on “U Say” works really well. A Pusha T verse should be a nice touch, but the song title “Cokewhite” gives away the fact that we don’t get anything unique from Push here. Khalid appears on one of the weaker tracks, “Days Like This,” and does nothing to convince me that his great 2017 album, American Teen, wasn’t a fluke.
The glue that holds this project together, though, is GoldLink’s voice. His deep, commanding bass tone brings to life a lot of the production that might have sounded more generic with another artist. Diaspora has some great songs on it, but you might need to jump around the track list to find them.