Diaspora (RCA Records)
It’s fair to say that rapper GoldLink has evaded the dreaded sophomore jinx on his second full-length studio project, Diaspora. It’s also fair to say that he’s one of the most criminally underrated rappers in the game - the lack of Internet fanfare to this project, despite landing a couple Grammy nominations and a premium spot opening for Tyler the Creator on the IGOR tour, proved that.
The self-proclaimed “King of D.C.” takes the title of this project quite literally and uses it to show off his artistic versatility, tackling styles of music from all over the African diaspora. The project ranges from afrobeat, to reggae and dancehall, and of course, good old trap music.
Most of these tracks feature artists who are more at home in each genre, and the authenticity elevates the experience even more. The verse in a Congolese language from Bibi Bourelly on “Zulu Screams” and the Jamaican patois from WSTRN on “Yard” are album highlights, but the true star of the show is GoldLink himself. His smooth and dexterous flow is a huge reason he adapts well to every genre, gliding above the beat with some seriously impressive technical skills.
The fun part is that he deliberately structures Diaspora so that certain sounds stick together, letting listeners spend a couple nights in one locale before being whisked halfway across the world. GoldLink puts forward a laid-back, understated kind of confidence that’s hard to replicate, and if the divine hip-hop justice that let the forward-thinking genre take over the mainstream keeps up, one day everyone will catch on. Check out Diaspora before that happens and you’ll get the bragging rights.