Rocking a simple white tee with skin-tight black jeans and a matching black beanie, Washington DC rapper Goldlink was met with an uproarious cheer as he strolled on to the 170 Russel Street stage.
The energy hit was instant and infectious. Attendees had been waiting a little over an hour for that moment, enduring through opening act Swell’s lukewarm beat selection and confusing array of remixes. Despite it being Goldlink’s second live performance in Melbourne that week, the popular nightclub was completely packed with avid fans eagerly awaiting a chance to see the up-and-coming star.
They were not disappointed.
Fans turned to Twitter throughout his Australian tour to express their love for Goldlink’s performance as well as praise his overall skill.
Being amongst the crowd, it was impossible not lose oneself in the euphoria. Fans blurted out every word to every song. Everything from his Triple J Like a Version cover of Pharell’s ‘Frontin,’ which was created only seven days prior to the March 29th show, to his certified platinum hit ‘Crew.’
The crowd was riled up by more than just a love of the music, however. Goldlink’s quirky yet supremely confident aura was something truly unique. In stark contrast to his simplistic fashion choices, the DC native waltzed around stage, pulling off whacky dance moves and continuously urging the crowd to flip up their middle fingers.
He readily engaged with the crowd, the first thing he did on the night was to apologise for being sick and urge the everyone present to vocally help him out whenever they felt the need. Something the crowd took to with gusto.
There was an iconic moment midway through his hour long set, when a fan pulled out a Llama Llama Red Pajama children’s book, an homage to Goldlink’s infamous freestyle on Power 106 Los Angeles’ The Cruz Show in which he used that exact book as inspiration.
Taken aback, Goldlink happily acknowledged him and replied, “do they even sell that here, nah this guy is dedicated praise to you bro,” which earned yet another cheer from the adoring crowd.
The engagement and the energy combined to provide the show with an extra kick, at times it felt like Goldlink was king of the world, a true Rockstar. He certainly has the confidence of a Rockstar, with lines like “everybody scared of “Lil Linky” man it’s evident. Feeling like 50 way back in ’03 aw geez talkin bout goddamn they on some other s###,” off the song ‘Kokamoe Freestyle’ from his 2017 release ‘At What Cost.’
Perhaps an even more telling aspect of his Rockstar mentality is the live show’s production itself. Smoke machines and light shows combined to give the performance an eerie, other-worldly vibe, while on the big screen Goldlink chose to play an old Prince documentary on repeat for the entirety of the set.
Regardless of whether or not he was comparing himself to one of the greatest artists of all time, the aesthetic choice was certainly an intriguing point of difference for the show, reminiscent of someone eager to stand out from the crowd.
So essentially Goldlink killed it and sent the fans wild, and yet, modern day hip hop stardom is supposedly reserved for trap artists like The Migos and autotuned rap-singers like Post Malone right?
They’re the only reason that Hip-Hop was crowned the number one genre of 2017 if you believe certain voices within the space.
Yet if you look at Goldlink, he revels in clever wordplay and a croony style that perfectly emphasises his consistent motifs of an obsession with women and a struggle with personal acceptance. He’s been compared to Grammy-award winning lyricist Chance the Rapper and was nominated for a Grammy himself for hit single ‘Crew.’ You wouldn’t get away with calling him trap but he certainly isn’t old school boom bap and he raps about women too much to be called conscious.
He calls himself an entirely new genre, something he’s coined ‘future bounce.’ If an entirely unique rap sub-genre can whip international fans into a frenzy, to the point where people are being elbowed in the face in mosh pits and bonding with strangers because you both sang a line at the same time (he played Crew twice to finish the show and nobody stopped moving for the entirety of both renditions), then surely there is no complaint to be had about mainstream rappers not being talented enough to properly represent Hip-Hop.
Just don’t listen to them, instead listen to rappers like Goldlink who inspire fans to buy children’s books on Ebay just for one moment of sweet sweet fan-to-star engagement.