While Goldlink’s 2017 debut album, At What Cost, focused on sounds and music specific to the DMV region from which he hails, Diaspora, his second studio album, draws inspiration from black music all over the world. The sophomore project embodies his growth and shows that he’s capable of reinvention making sure that his fans should never get bored with his music.
Diaspora, cements Goldlink’s place as an auteur in his own right as well. The album is reminiscent of some of Kanye’s work, in the sense that he is capable of bringing together different artists and their varying sounds, finding the common theme and creating something out of the eclectic amalgamation that has been brought together. The album features artists from the greater African diaspora, from American rappers like Pusha T and Tyler the Creator, to Nigerian afrobeat star Wizkid, to an artist like Maleek Berry who blends Nigerian and British sounds in his music. It’s a daring project that works mostly because Goldlink doesn’t need to be at the center of the stage. He seems more than willing at times to let the features shine, especially for the new artists like AriPenSmith who appears on “Yard” but only offers up one verse from Goldlink.
The project delivers the same confidence the artist showed on “Crew” which he says he knew would be a hit showing his mastery of different sounds and the ability to bring them all together. His willingness to play with different sounds from all over the world makes him the perfect artist for today’s music landscape. The ambitiousness of this album reminds me of other projects like Kendrick’s To Pimp a Butterfly or Tyler’s recent release IGOR which showcase an artist’s ability to weave different ideas and themes together with the purpose of creating something that’s sonically moving.
Listening to this album takes me back home in ways that I didn’t expect on first listen. As a kid that was born and raised in Nigeria, it was a pleasant surprise to hear Maleek Berry and Wizkid on an album that brought me back to Lagos – especially when you realize that the rapper that brought them all together is from the DMV area. Diaspora deserves all the praise and more for its execution and solidifies the idea that Goldlink is more than capable of achieving anything that he wants to create.