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Review written by Steven K. (@itsDJKrucial).

GoldLink’s debut album And After That, We Didn’t Talk is a stunning hip-hop record. At the same time, it deserves to be credited as more than just a “hip-hop” record. AATWDT is made up of eleven tracks composed by a group of artists whose collaborative efforts to provide a true musical experience make the album both intimate and meaningful.

The DC rapper’s main producer Louie Lastic, responsible for shaping the flow and “energetic bounce” of GoldLink’s previous work, returns for several appearances on the album. “Dark Skin Woman” and “Spectrum” resonate through their infectious, up-beat rhythms, which may likely incite spontaneous dancing on your living room floor. But this time around, GoldLink didn’t intend to only satisfy a thirst for sparkling enjoyment. Instead, he dug deeper into the darker emotions and struggles of his personal life.

Hip-hop will die. I promise that — if we keep the lies in our raps.” —GoldLink

The first track, “After You Left,” reminisces on these darker experiences in D’Anthony Carlos‘ life, and it ends with a final question, “Why’d you leave me baby?” — referring to a relationship he had at the age of 16. That thought shortly fades away when Goldlink is awakened by an alarm clock and his nagging mother for the beginning of “Zipporah,” an ethereal piece from Braeden Bailey featuring subtle acoustic guitar riffs and moving Rhode’s piano lines.

Producer/vocalist Masego provides raspy, yet soothing vocals for the sixth song on the record, “Late Night,” which begins with a synthesized R&B chord progression, and moves its way into an honest confession from GoldLink that “You’re not the only woman in [his] phone.”

“And After That, We Didn’t Talk” proves that GoldLink is a genuine artist who raps with both rhyme and reason. He speaks his mind on the record — but in a true and honest manner. He doesn’t threaten others or pretend to be someone he’s not simply to appeal to a mass audience. AATWDT pays homage to the earlier age of hip-hop, yet it stands out on its own as an innovative and diverse collection of music.

Stream “And After That, We Didn’t Talk” below, and drop a comment to let us know your thoughts.