Published Jun 18, 2019Panting. A racing pulse. Palpable, all but audible perspiration. Howling creatures in the distance.
These are but a few of the elements that will wash over you while listening to "//Error," the intro track on GoldLink's astounding new album Diaspora. And while that starter skit does a fine job of letting the listener feel like they've been thrust into an exotic, enticing out-of-Africa community, the rest of the LP does an even better job of leaving you panting and perspiring, to the point that that entertaining intro is rendered a little cliché.
Instead of indulging in tired, Kipling-esque "foreigner-in-a-far-flung-land" tropes, GoldLink whisks you into nuanced, modern African soundscapes that thrill all the more. In that sense Diaspora is more like last year's Kendrick Lamar-curated Black Panther soundtrack, though less anthemic and more dance-inclined. Prime example: the chiming percussion and boiling rhythm on "More," which beckons you to the dance floor. "Maniac," meanwhile, finds GoldLink flowing with enough bounce to make your head instantly nod as downcast church organ keys resound in the background.
Aside from such fantastic tracks, GoldLink impresses all the more by securing star MCs like Pusha T and Tyler, the Creator to guest on tracks at arguably the height of their careers. And they sound like GoldLink is doing them a favour, rather than the other way around. On the lushly vibrant "U Say," Tyler sounds rugged and rapid enough to evoke Method Man in his prime. And on the menacing "Cokewhite," Push drops one imagery-rife kingpin parable after another, before GoldLink zooms in with a careening flow that makes you want to hitch a ride. Then there's of-the-moment vocalist Khalid, who sings in a lustful hush on "Days Like This," like he's whispering come-hithers to his love. And rivalling those big names is Nigerian Afrobeat master Wizkid, whose hook on "No Lie" is an honest-to-goodness showstopper.
These elements and more make Diaspora an album as wide ranging, far flung, eclectic, and richly satisfying as its name implies. (RCA)