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GoldLink Elevates to New Heights of Artistry on ‘Diaspora’

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In a way, GoldLink’s Diaspora is significantly more ambitious than At What Cost, his 2017 major label debut. Where that record was focused on capturing the sound and culture of a single region, the DMV, the rapper’s latest is a panoramic look at modern black music from around the globe. True to its title, the album incorporates reggae, dancehall, afrobeat, trap, and more, all of which are united by the elasticity of GoldLink’s delivery, as lithe and lively as ever, and a choice cadre of guests who Link empowers on nearly every song. The album further proves that GoldLink’s best role may be as a Dr. Dre-style auteur, smartly figuring out when to cede the spotlight and when to shine.

Just as GoldLink gave opportunities to talented DC upstarts like April George and Shy Glizzy on At What Cost, he offers similar platforms to impressive newcomers like AriPenSmith (who contributes to five tracks, most notably “Joke Ting”) and Afroswing group WSTRN on “Yard.” On tracks like “Joke Ting” and “Days Like This,” GoldLink pops up for a single verse, allowing the singers to set the tone and establish a groove before Link comes in with double time flows that careen off every kick and snare.

Often, he’s willing to do the unglamorous work on songs while letting his guests handle the earworm parts. On the afrobeat inspired “Zulu Screams,” he leaves the infectious hook and bridge to Maleek Berry and Bibi Bourelly, respectively. Jay Prince and WaveIQ handle irresistible choruses on “U Say” and “Spanish Song,” showy melodies that GoldLink could have easily kept to himself were he a different kind of artist.

There’s a palpable confidence to GoldLink – it’s how he knew the now-double platinum “Crew” would ultimately wind up a hit – but it’s different from that of artists like DaBaby or Megan Thee Stallion, who are perpetually flexing front and center on their songs. The DC rapper understands the unique power and inimitableness of his voice; he claims dominion over a record the moment he spits a bar on it. He’s a perfect MC for 2019 both because of his enthusiasm for global sounds and because the trend towards shorter albums and songs suits him well. A GoldLink album where he has three verses on every song would almost be too rich; it would be steak with a side of steak.

Because his voice doesn’t saturate Diaspora, we only get a handful of glimpses into GoldLink’s psyche, but the ones he does provide are vividly rendered. “Maniac” is a menacing trap-tinged track that is perfectly serviceable but is elevated by an affecting Mac Miller shout-out and some evocative bars about Link’s past in the DMV (“Sold weed, sold pills, sold D, sold this, sold that/ Look, I don’t wanna talk about it all”). He also offers a rather harrowing snapshot of his youth on “Days Like This,” rapping “Yeah, a lotta street shit back in ’06/ Turned 13, had my first stick/ Ride around the city with the stolen whips/ Fought niggas ‘fore I had a first kiss,” though the song is hurt by an ill-placed Khalid feature during which he sings in a thin, timid falsetto, barely sounding like himself.

The album’s two other biggest guests, Pusha-T and Tyler, the Creator, also create some chop on these otherwise smooth waters, though neither are as grating as Khalid. “Coke White / Moscow” is a solid piece of drug dealer tough talk with a choice Project Pat sample, but it fits awkwardly between the bouncy, saccharine “More” and the breezy shuffle of “U Say.” On the latter, GoldLink is buzzing off a drink or two and floating around the woman he’s interested in like a Looney Tunes character. Tyler can’t quite match Goldlink’s lustful charisma, though his baritone intertwines with the song’s bass line to create a mellower, seductive energy.

Early in his career, GoldLink strived for anonymity, even wearing a mask during most early performances. He’s a Grammy-nominated star now, but Diaspora proves that despite the profile boost he’s still concerned with the quality and cohesion of his body of work, not boosting his own profile. He explained to Wonderland that his goal has long been for people “to grade the product for what is presented,” and that with this album he wanted to preserve the roots of African music “before it becomes 15-17 generations removed – then we’re in deep trouble.”

That kind of ambitious goal, like Tyler, the Creator exploring sexuality and the agony and ecstasy of youth on Flower Boy or Kendrick Lamar weaving together multiple narratives into a heady, thematically cohesive tapestry on To Pimp a Butterfly, requires an artist who can both think ambitiously and stymie any need to be the constant center of attention. Diaspora doesn’t reach the highs of those records because its concern is more sound than story, but it further cements that GoldLink can conceive of and execute his ideas better than most anyone in hip-hop today.

Listen to GoldLink’s ‘Diaspora’ here. For more of our album reviews, head here.

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Gospel Song Of The Week ” I’m Blessed – Rev. Clay Evans “

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Starting this week DopeShxtDaily is going to start sharing a gospel song each and every sunday. For this week we want to share the Song “I’m Blessed by Clay Evans”. We share this song because it is the entirety of the DopeShxtDaily team. We are blessed, we are a team of thankful creative intellectuals check it out here on Slaps.Audio !!!

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A$AP Rocky & Dapper Dan Explore the Beginning of Street Style in New Short Film

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New Yorkers A$AP Rocky and Dapper Dan star in AT&T’s new short film chronicling Harlem street style. The picture shines a light on the story of Dapper Dan who has gone from the tailor of Harlem to collaborating with one of the most prestigious fashion houses in the world in Gucci.

The film is a progression of AT&T’s first-ever (212) Day — an event dedicated to celebrating the heritage and influence of New York’s 212 area code as well as Harlem street style — and a roundtable discussion moderated by Fab 5 Freddy, featuring A$AP Rocky, Dapper Dan, and Teyana Taylor with designer Jerry Lorenzo. During the roundtable this group of insiders detailed Harlem’s impact on fashion.

Kings of Style provides us with an up-close look at the progression throughout Dapper Dan’s career, from the ’60s to today. We see pivotal moments from his life, as he sells garments from his trunk, chops it up with locals, and even has his studio raided by the authorities

After watching the Kings of Style short film starring A$AP Rocky and Dapper Dan, visit AT&T’s CodesofCulture.com for more on the initiative.

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This Is How Anna of the North Starts Her Day

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How I Start My Day is a series revealing the intimate details and wisdom behind the morning rituals of successful characters in youth culture and beyond.

As the leading lady in every aspect of her life, Anna of the North a.k.a. Anna Lotterud makes an active effort to maintain complete control of her narrative. The Norwegian singer-songwriter has been breaking hearts with her chill pop tunes since 2016, but it wasn’t until Tyler, the Creator tapped her for Flower Boy that the tides began to shift and the rest of the world finally took notice.

Last year, she gained an even larger following when “Lovers” was featured in Netflix’s film adaptation of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Anna recently dropped a cute and cheeky music video for “Thank Me Later,” a track fresh off her forthcoming sophomore album. While details about the project are scarce, it’s bound to exceed any preconceived expectations.

Anna isn’t only admired for her musical contributions though—her personal style is also exceptional and that minimal aesthetic carries over into her tasteful line of merch. A few months after rolling out her debut album, Anna also debuted a capsule collection of Scandinavian basics from her collaborative clothing brand with designer Mari Norden in 2017.

Scroll down to find out how Anna uses hibernation and hydration to start her day in the most peaceful way possible.



Highsnobiety / Bryan Luna





How is your morning going so far? What have you accomplished so far today?

My morning is going well.. I’m just sitting on my laptop in the kitchen of my parents house, doing small bits and pieces. Just posting some stuff on Instagram/Twitter about Conner Youngblood being my support for the U.S. tour.There was just a deer walking outside my window. I like being home. It’s peaceful here.

What time do you typically wake up and why?

It can be anything from 9am to 2pm. Depends what I’ve done the day before. It’s hard to keep a routine being a musician. Sometimes you sit up very late writing, and I travel a lot. Ive been on a good roll lately tho. Waking up 9 almost every morning. And it feels really good. I guess routines are key to a happy life.

What are you usually thinking about as soon as you wake up?

Probably thinking about everything I’ve should have done that I haven’t. That I should get up and go for a run. I’m really bad at scheduling my own days, but If I have plans with people I’m better.

Where are you currently based? What goes on around you in your apartment?

I’m based in Oslo. I like it there. It feels big and small at the same time. Always something to do and friends around. There is nothing much going around in my apartment. Food, friends, nintendo and music.

How do you prepare for the day ahead?

I literally don’t, and thats probably why I’m always late and always procrastinating.
This interview makes me realize that it’s about time to get some good morning routines in. You know, planning what to wear and what to eat for breakfast. I don’t eat breakfast, but I drink a lot of water. Not because I wanna loose weight or anything. Im just not hungry in the mornings.

Are you a morning person? Why are mornings important to you?

I guess not. I like my sleep. I might be one of those people who sleeps too much. It depends though. In wintertime Norway gets so dark, and there’s barley people outside. We’re all hibernating. It’s the winter depression. Now that spring is coming and the sun is out its all changing. I definitely get affected by this.



Highsnobiety / Bryan Luna





What is your skincare routine?

It’s super simple, I just wash my face and then I moisturize a lot. And I use a face scrub twice a week. I played this show at MoMa and they gave me goodie bag, they had some skincare products from a brand called Drunk Elephant. I tried it out and now I’m obsessed.

How do you practice self-care?

DRINK WATER!! And sometimes in periods. I work out. I don’t like to be at the gym. I like to be outside in the nature. To hike. I really like cross-country skiing. It’s not only good for your body, but also your mind. Its freeing. I should work out more though.

How does your morning routine change when you’re traveling?

Depends what timezone I’m in, but usually I just sleep. :)

Next up; here’s how British R&B star Mabel starts her day.

Softcore tastemaker at your service.

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