For a rapper that claims to have grown bored of rap, DMV-native GoldLink succeeded in delivering a playfully energetic performance to the eager patrons of Tattoo Queen West.
The night began around 8:15 p.m. when the opening act, Toronto-native Clairmont The Second, surfaced to the stage. He brought with him a combination of confidence and a persistent smoothness that allowed his lyrics of love and day-to-day activities to glide easily over the ice that was his set.
It was this flow that welcomed the crowd to immerse themselves in his performance. The crowd was transfixed and remained that way until he concluded with “Flame Princess,” a song that was recognized by almost the entire audience. As the final song reared its last catchy chorus, the audience sang along while Clairmont The Second thanked everybody for coming out and disappeared into the crowd, by which he was met by a round of high fives and daps. It wasn’t long before he showed his face again, this time as a member of an audience hungry for GoldLink.
GoldLink appeared on stage around 9 p.m., immediately running through tracks like “Bedtime Story” and “When I Die” from his debut mixtape, The God Complex without flaw. His ability to get people moving on in an age of people refusing to dance at shows is unmatched by his competitors.
Roughly halfway through his set, the DMV-Native urged his DJ, DJ Kidd Marvel, to play a few early 2000’s R & B classics. Kidd Marvel obliged, playing Fatman Scoop’s “Be Faithful,” followed by Ja Rule’s “Livin’ It Up,” which GolLink described as “that black cookout music” as he danced across the stage.
As the DMV-native continued into his set, I came to the realization that he was rapping without a background vocal track, a practice that is incredibly rare in the realm of live rap performances.
As a bit of a hip-hop head, seeing little things like this assure me that good hip-hop isn’t going anywhere and that it’s just evolving into something more digestible by people with tastes that lie more heavily in the field of electronic music. GoldLink blends these genres well and without error, working with producers like Kaytranada to yield a fluid mixture known as “future bounce.”
As his set concluded around 10 p.m., host and founder of Toronto music collective, The Known Unknown, Tika Simone resurfaced to thank everybody for coming out and wished everybody safe travels. I left the venue afterword with a deeper love for GoldLink’s music as well as live music in general. The “Planet Paradise” rapper had successfully made Tattoo Queen West feel less like a cold nightclub and more like a warm house party. I will most definitely be seeing him the next time he comes through the city.
Stream his debut mixtape, The God Complex, below: