Tardy Album Review | GoldLink – Diaspora

This album was released on June 12 this year. The first time I ever listened to GoldLink was back in 2015 when he released his debut album, …And After That, We Didn’t Talk. I thought it was really bad, so I never checked out any of his other shit until literally the end of September this year in preparation for this album. I was always planning on checking out his other stuff, but I just didn’t get around to it until recently because I frankly don’t really find him that interesting. I’m not into House music at all, so that first album just did not appeal to me. I think The God Complex & At What Cost are slightly more tolerable, but still just mediocre overall. So yeah, I wasn’t really expecting to like this project, but I chose to give it a shot because I liked some of the singles. I really liked the song Got Muscle with PeeWee Longway, so I was kinda disappointed that it didn’t end up on the album. I’m glad he put it out though. Anyway, the album itself ended up being on par with his other material in my opinion. I have the exact same opinion of this project that I had of At What Cost. I think these are his two best albums, but that’s really not saying much because they’re just not good in my opinion. There are about five tracks that I liked on this album, so I’ll mention those real quick. The first real song on here, Joke Ting, is pretty dope to me.

Joke Ting

The song features someone named Ari PenSmith, and this dude sounded exactly like The Weeknd to me. Not so much during the second part of the hook, but during the first part when he’s singing in his higher register he sounds exactly like him. I actually had to go back and check the tracklist to make sure it wasn’t The Weeknd. I guess it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It was just kinda strange. The hook itself was solid though. Anyway, I thought the bouncy production from P2J was pretty nice, GoldLink’s flow was really great. The lyrics were a little lame though. This line actually made me audibly cringe.

When it comes to beef, I never hide

It just feels like one of those lame ass dad-joke type bars that Eminem would spit these days. Overall, the song is mid lyrically, but GoldLink clearly put some effort into his flow at least, so I’ll give him credit for that. It’s a dope track. I also enjoyed the first single, Zulu Screams, albeit to a lesser extent.

Zulu Screams.png

The song has a really heavy Afrobeat influence. I thought the production was really great, and the hook from Maleek Berry was solid too. I even liked the outro from Bibi Bourelly even though it wasn’t in English. She sounded good. With all that said, GoldLink himself is easily the worst thing about the song. Obviously I didn’t think he was terrible since I like the song, but he really added nothing to it for me. His flow was solid I guess. The lyrics really don’t interest me at all though, which is fine. That’s not the main focus of the track. It’s not supposed to be deep or heavy at all. This is clearly just a fun club song meant to encourage movement and dancing. My issue with GoldLink’s performance is really just in his bizarrely monotone delivery. I also wasn’t a fan of how he made the verses so short just so he could rap that boring ass pre-hook multiple times. It’s fine though. Again, I liked the song overall. I just think it could’ve been better. The music video seemed to have some high production value, and I guess it was cool enough. It’s just hard for me to get excited when it’s pretty much just a video of people dancing in a club. It’s really generic stuff. I was also mildly annoyed by the shameless Beats Headphones product placement, but it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of the album. The next track I liked was Coke White / Moscow. This one actually features Pusha T, who honestly seemed super out of place on this album to me at first. I still don’t really think him and Pusha T had any real chemistry on this track, mainly because they don’t even rap on the same beat. Coke White is Pusha T’s part of the song, and then GoldLink just does the second part of the song, which is Moscow. It kinda felt like GoldLink shoehorned him onto the album because he knows it’d capture the interest of Hip Hop fans like myself. I can’t really be mad though because Push did a really good job. Is it one of the best verses I’ve heard from Pusha T? Absolutely not. Should it be mentioned in “verse of the year” conversations?

 

source

It’s probably the best verse on the album though. It was pretty much just him flexing and doing what Rick Ross often does. I guess it’s what people would refer to as “luxury rap.” I don’t actually think that’s a real subgenre though. I’m usually not into that style at all, but I can’t deny that Pusha T does it well. I think the final couplet of his verse is probably the best moment on the whole album lyrically, which to be fair isn’t really saying much.

I mix & match ’em; platinum & gold links
A perfect combination like when Pusha & Gold link

The hook is just a Project Pat sample, but it serves its purpose well enough. I think the way the beat switches up for GoldLink’s verse is really dope. Have I mentioned the production yet? It’s really good on this one. The entire track itself has contributions from a gang of dudes, including Sean Momberger as well as FWDSLXSH, who has done a lot of work with IDK. Pusha T & the producers are what make this song good. I mean, I enjoyed GoldLink’s rapping to a certain extent, but it was really only because of his flow. He is not a lyricist. His verses might have started off kinda cool, but they pretty much devolved into complete shit by the time they were over.

I don’t give a fuck, I just run amuck
I reiterate, I just want the bucks
I just want the neck, I ain’t talkin’ head
Big fat bed, not a flatbed
Want the simple things, kind of stripper things
That’s on thicker things, late at night things
Real vibe thing , in the night with it
When I hit it, girl, all night with it
Goddamn, what a time

Ladies and gentleman, these are what we at Focus Hip Hop refer to as “struggle bars.” And by “we,” I of course mean myself because don’t nobody else work here. Anyway, I also enjoyed the following track, U Say, which is the most popular song from the album for one very obvious reason.

U Say

Once again, I think the music video is well produced and shot, but it’s virtually the same as the Zulu Screams music video. The only notable difference is that this one is a bunch of people dancing at a party rather than at a club. Also, for whatever reason in the Zulu Screams video they decided to depict GoldLink as a hologram rather than a normal, tangible version of himself, which isn’t the case for the U Say video. That’s neither here nor there though. I’m here to talk about the song itself. I personally wasn’t really that into the production from DJ Juls, but it works I guess. It’s just a little flat. That could actually be said about the opening verse from GoldLink too. The content of this song really doesn’t interest me at all, and I didn’t think that his verse was particularly well written. His flow was at least pretty nice though. The hook from Jay Prince was also very underwhelming & forgettable. It’s fine though I guess. However, as you can probably already see, the only reason people really care about this song is because of the feature from Tyler the Creator. He really stole the show on this song, which is frankly sad because his verse isn’t even that great. I mean, it’s good, but it’s far from his best. I don’t really understand why people were saying that he killed it. I guess it’s just because almost everything else about the song was so underwhelming. That definitely helped him stand out more. It doesn’t even seem like GoldLink was really trying though. GoldLink sounds like a feature on his own song. He only has one short verse at the beginning of the track, and then Jay Prince & Tyler handle the rest. Again, I enjoyed the song overall, but obviously it’s heavily flawed, and far from my favorite. The only other track I liked was Tiff Freestyle. It’s introduced by what sounds like a radio host, who I assume is named Tiff, telling us that GoldLink is about to freestyle for us. I really doubt he actually spit that verse off the top of his head, but kudos to him if he did. It’s definitely his best verse on the album, which I suppose isn’t saying much. It’s not amazing or anything, but I thought it was relatively good. I liked the production from Blinky Bill a lot too. It’s a good song. I just don’t have much to say about it since the structure is so straightforward. It’s just one verse. That’s unfortunately the last track that I actually like on the album though, so now I’ll talk about the rest of the project. First of all, this is a minor complaint, but that intro track is completely misleading and unnecessary. It’s this cinematic instrumental piece with sound effects and heavy breathing that makes it seem like the intro to a concept album. There’s no narrative on this project though. It’s really just a bunch of posturing, flexing, and vague relationship stuff. As I’ve kinda been insinuating throughout this review, GoldLink clearly places far more importance in the actual sound of his music rather than any lyrical substance. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. In fact, there are really only three songs on this whole project that I would say are wack. Everything else is just mediocre or average. The third track on the album is called Maniac, and I thought it was decent.

Maniac

I liked the hard hitting production, and I thought GoldLink’s flow was pretty dope. The hook was unfortunately very underwhelming, but it wasn’t particularly bad. I liked how he was kind of melodic with the first verse, but his overall delivery felt way too reserved for this production, and for a song entitled “Maniac.” He sounded way too calm for a theme like that. The lyrics weren’t good, which is to be expected, but the way the second verse ended was kinda strange to me.

Sold weed, sold pills, sold D, sold this, sold that
Look, I don’t wanna talk about it all
Seen fiends, seen death, seen shots, seen this, seen that
Look, I don’t wanna talk about it all
I miss Mac, ’cause he a maniac
And I’m a maniac, and an insomniac

I just don’t really get why he was bringing up Mac Miller. It felt random as hell. Maybe he was trying to connect it to his previous point about selling drugs, since Mac died from an overdose. I don’t know though. It was strange to me. Maybe he was friends with Mac. That’d make it slightly more understandable, but even in that case… All you have to say is “I miss him. He was a maniac. I’m a maniac too?” Really, my nigga? Whatever. I’m probably reading into it too much. I feel like I’m probably thinking about these lyrics more than he did. Anyway, I also thought the uncredited vocals on the outro from Bibi Bourelly sounded awful. They should’ve left that shit off. The song is okay overall though. The following track, Days Like This, was much worse, but I still wouldn’t say it’s bad. The production from Michael Uzowuru & Teo Halm was cool. Unfortunately the song features Khalid, who delivered a terrible hook. He sounded awful. What’s weird is that he sounds like shit, but his lyrics are kinda interesting on the hook. However, this completely flips for his verse. He sounds better singing, but the lyrics turn into generic vapid bullshit. Unfortunately GoldLink’s verse wasn’t really hitting for me either. I think his flow was really great, but lyrically I just don’t know what he was doing. Look at these lyrics on the hook…

Days like this
Man, I gotta vent
I don’t have no friends
Guess that depends on the mood that I’m in, yeah
Heard you copped the whip, but you can’t pay your rent
That don’t make sense, you not makin’ sense
Common sense, common sense

The lines about the subject, you, not being able to pay rent were kinda random, but given the lines that precede it I figured the song was going to be GoldLink venting about how his friends keep making dumbass decisions and don’t have their priorities straight. At no point in this song does he actually “vent” though. How come the hook has lyrics about not having friends and feeling the need to vent, but the verse from GoldLink has nothing to do with that? It doesn’t have anything to do with… anything, really. Look at this shit…

Sent a lotta niggas in the hearse
In the dirt, put it work
Now they dead, in my head
Never scared but prepared
No lie, I ride, I die, for mine
You slide, I slide, he cries, he cries
My niggas never switch up, keep that hiccup on my side
And she like me ’cause she know that ghetto backstroke keep her tired

You see what I’m talking about? These lines are at the midpoint of the verse, and the second half of it is literally just him rapping about sex. The dude is evidently unable to stick to a topic that isn’t sex, dancing, or street shit. What the fuck is the deal with that? I’d be fine with it if the lyrics on the hook weren’t needlessly dire. Honestly, the only thing that’s stopping me from calling the song wack is GoldLink’s flow, along with Khalid’s singing on the first verse. His singing on the actual hook sounded really bad though. I guess the production was cool too, but that’s it as far as positives go. The song is mediocre. Track 6 is called More, and it’s pretty much just more mediocrity.

cool guy

The production was okay I guess, but GoldLink is just so uninteresting lyrically, and his monotone delivery really doesn’t help. It’s a very lackluster track. The hook is performed by two different people: a female vocalist named Lola Rae, as well as P2J, the producer I mentioned earlier in this review. I found Lola Rae’s vocals to be very dull and uninteresting. However, I actually thought P2J’s singing sounded pretty goddamn good. The funny thing is, I don’t even think P2J was credited as a feature. I’m really not sure why. I can’t really say that it’s good enough for me to give a shit though. The song is mediocre to me. P2J’s singing on the hook is really the only aspect of the track that stands out to me. Track 9 is called Yard, and it’s the first song on the project that I’d actually say is bad. It’s the first beat on the album that I really just do not care for even a little bit. I think the first verse from GoldLink was decent, but the second verse sucks.

Blam to blam, blam to them four
I’m so fly, I’m lookin’ like a fresher cantaloupe
Scary motherfucker makin’ rappers disappear
Burnin’ up in fire while we drunk and do the fuck

Do the fuck. Nice. He goes on to call himself the “new Pac,” which is never a good idea. He also said “kissin’ you like a game-winning jump shot,” which I still don’t understand at all. Maybe it’d make sense if I was actually into basketball, but I’m not, so I don’t get it. The hook from Haile sucks ass. Her verse sounds good enough sonically, but it’s lame as hell lyrically. I also didn’t care for Spanish Song at all. The title of this song really confused me because there doesn’t really seem to be any Spanish influence in it at all, aside from that corny ass introductory skit. I actually thought WaveIQ‘s verse at the beginning sounded pretty good. Same goes for the hook. I just wish the lyrics weren’t so fucking dumb. I thought GoldLink’s flow was cool on his verse, but aside from that I unfortunately wasn’t feelin’ him. The song’s mediocre to me overall. No Lie is the eleventh song on the album, and I thought it was okay. My biggest problem with it is really just the feature from Wizkid. I almost never like features from this guy, and I’m pretty sure the only exception so far is his remix of Drogba. I really just found the melody of his hook on this song to be way too repetitive. It got annoying really quickly. However, the production from Ari PenSmith, P2J & Deats was great, and I thought the first verse from GoldLink was actually solid. There’s a beat switch in the middle of the second recital of the hook, and it’s really nice. The second verse from GoldLink is kinda cool, but definitely not good enough to make me wanna come back to the song. It’s okay overall though. The final two tracks on the album were both pretty bad to me. The production from Rascal was pretty cool on Rumble, and I thought GoldLink’s flow was decent on the first verse. However, his hook is super bland, and the same can be said about the refrain from Lil Nei. His feature feels really unnecessary to be honest. The hook also lasts way longer than it should. The lyrics really go in one ear and out the other. The final verse is performed by Jackson Wang, who I guess is a South Korean rapper. A good portion of the verse is performed in English, and it’s terrible. It’s probably my least favorite song on the album just because of that verse. The final track, Swoosh, is a bewilderingly lackluster end to this project. The production from EY is very underwhelming, and the first verse of the song was painfully average. The final verse—if you can even call it a verse—is literally just one shitty quatrain, and the hook on this track sucks. So yeah, I thought it was a really bad way to end the album unfortunately. 😦


This album is not good. I can’t say I’m disappointed at all though. I’ve now listened to every single project GoldLink has released, and his work is mediocre at best. I’m frankly not seeing enough growth in the quality of his output. I’ve liked at least one track on each project, but I’ve never loved a GoldLink song. At this point I’m questioning whether or not I should continue giving him a chance. I guess it’s worth it if I’ll get at least a couple enjoyable songs. He’s probably never gonna be an artist I get excited about though. Hopefully one day he’ll release something that truly impresses me, but I don’t see that happening to be honest. It’s mainly his lyrics. Dude is not a good lyricist. He has a ton of questionable bars. I probably shouldn’t expect a Pop rapper like him to focus on his writing so much though. His main strength is definitely his flow, but I’d rather listen to someone with great lyrics and a boring flow than someone with wack lyrics and a great flow. I think the theme of this album where he’s harnessing influences from different cultures’ music around the world was a cool idea, but the execution was just off. Well, I can’t even say that. If I didn’t understand English at all and I was just listening to this for how it sounds, I’d probably think it was pretty solid. I liked a good amount of the beats, and GoldLink sounds good over them. I just wish his delivery wasn’t so monotone all the time. I legitimately think Got Muscle is better than any of the songs that actually made it onto this album. Honestly, I probably will end up checking out his next project if I’m enticed with singles like that. It’s far from an amazing track, but it’s still probably my favorite GoldLink song to be honest. So yeah, I’m not a fan of this dude or any of his albums, but if you don’t care about lame lyrics and wanna try some American Hip Hop with more World influences, I guess this’d be a project to try out. I don’t actually know what I’d choose between this album and his preceding record, At What Cost. They have the exact same rating from me. They’re both mediocre.

Favorite Song: Coke White / Moscow
Least Favorite Song: Rumble

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Watch the videos below for more thoughts on this album.

50-59
Grade: C-

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