Rap and EDM artists have been collaborating more and more recently. Although some hip hop purists fight the pairing, it’s clear that emcees enjoy the bouncy nature of dance music. GoldLink is definitely one of those emcees. Hailing from the DMV area, 20-year-old GoldLink releases his first project The God Complex today, and if it’s anything like his first single, “Planet Paradise,” you can count on a lot of bouncy shit. We caught up with the young emcee to talk hip hop influences, future bounce, and images in hip hop culture.
Mass Appeal: Where are you from?
GoldLink: I’m from Landover, Maryland. I was born in D.C. and I was raised in Maryland.
MA: Is Landover a suburb?
G: Nah, it’s like a ghetto city.
MA: What was it like growing up there?
G: It was cool. I was back and forth between that [Landover, Maryland] and D.C. so it was kind of rough. I didn’t realize it was rough until I moved to Virginia and I was in the suburbs. I learned a lot and it was cool for the most part
MA: How did growing up in the DMV area effect you musically?
G: The DMV music scene is kind of nonexistent but at the same time it’s really, really rare. The go-go scene here is so deep. It’s all bouncy drums – bouncy, bouncy drums – and it’s really danceable. So that bouncy influence really made me adopt the kind of music I make.
MA: What would you call the music you make?
G: I call it future bounce.
MA: How did you come up with that term?
G: I didn’t really coin the term. This producer named Lakim made this song called “Future Bounce.” That kind of started the genre name for it and we adopted it.
MA: On the tape you have a Pharcyde sample but you also have a Britney Spears “Toxic” sample. What type of music were you listening to growing up?
G: Growing up I was listening to a lot of hip hop. I grew up in a hip hop household but my mother would play gospel and my dad listened to a lot of soul music. My brother and I would listen to Z-Ro, Pastor Troy, Hot Boyz, Silkk The Shocker, Master P, and all of that shit. My dad listened to Kenny G, Musiq Soulchild, India.Arie, and shit like that.
I ended up getting in trouble when I was younger so I had to go to private school. When I went to private school I was with a diverse group of kids. I went to school with white kids, black kids, asian kids, whatever. So, some kids would listen to indie and some kids would listen to the radio.
I grew up hearing so much different shit from so many people.
MA: What got you into rapping then?
G: I felt like I had no choice. I didn’t know what else to do with my life. I didn’t want to go to school, I didn’t want to keep selling drugs, I couldn’t play ball, you know, I couldn’t do anything. So I was like I’m going to try and rap.
It wasn’t like, “Fuck it I have to rap it.” It was more like if I’m going to do rap I’m going to do it correctly – I’m going to study. I’m going to go to poetry spots and study poetry. I’m going to study the greats and people even greater than them. ‘Who’s the greatest and who influenced them?’ I would study those things.
MA: When did you link with Louie Lastic?
G: I met him when I was 18. I just started coming around the studio, just a little nigga running around the studio. We would try to get hours and shit and he would do the sessions. I just kept doing it and he was kind of like, “This niggas not bad.” We kept working and kept working and he singled me out. Like this nigga’s kind of special. It took awhile for him to even fuck with me.
He’s been an influence in my very, very short rap career. He’s someone I’ve always wanted to impress. We’ve kind of built something in the last two years.
MA: What was recording your first tape, The God Complex, like?
G: It was hard because I’m a perfectionist, you know what I’m saying? I cut so many records. I created at least 200-300 records and there were a lot of good-ass records. I didn’t choose the nine best records that I made, I chose the best nine records that fit together perfectly. So, if I switch track number one with number three it still makes sense. There’s a certain story I’m trying to portray and I used those nine songs to portray it.
MA: Would you consider it a concept album?
G: Yeah, it’s a conceptual album.
MA: Why title it The God Complex?
G: To me it has two meanings. I had a girlfriend whose father was a philosopher and he would say that people should strive to be like God because God is perfect. Nobody is perfect but why don’t we at least attempt to be perfect. Then when you look up the God Complex in the dictionary it’s somebody who’s overly confident. Someone who isn’t humble, you know what I’m saying? A very, very arrogant person.
I took both of the definitions and put them into one. I would say some braggadocios shit on “Bedtime Stories,” and switch it up on a different song. The whole album is really braggadocios until you get to the end and it gets a little slower. It all makes a full circle.
MA: Why are you so secretive about showing your face in blogs?
G: One reason is because I don’t understand why people have to associate something that you hear and feel with an image. Music is about how it makes you feel. It should be critiqued on that. I know niggas who don’t listen to Danny Brown because he doesn’t have any teeth. Like, why the fuck does it matter? If he’s tight he’s tight. If a girl can sing and she’s ugly she can still fucking sing.
I didn’t want to associate an image with music. This music is fucking quality. There’s too many motherfuckers about image. I’m not trying to throw shade but A$AP Rocky has the best image ever but the music is sub par. I don’t get the coexistence. My whole thing is music is what we’re in this for and that’s all that matters.
Listen to The God Complex below.