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After That, We Didn’t Talk… Is GoldLink‘s follow up to his breakthrough mixtape The God Complex. The exploratory DMV native gets a little more personal and reaps the benefits of a Rick Rubin cosign on the project, which GoldLink describes as a “mini-album.” Naturally a risk taker, ATWDT finds GoldLink fusing elements of gospel, funk, neo-soul, house, Baltimore club, ambience, and of course hip hop. What it makes for is a very eclectic album that opens its arms to welcome listeners from all corners. As an artist, GoldLink, or D’Anthony Carlos uses his voice as an instrument as well as he finds time to sing throughout the project.
The album starts off with a bang – or a crash – with “After You Left,” which is exactly where The God Complex ends. Here you get a glimpse at GoldLink’s distinctive storytelling abilities. He pierces the surface and brings us deeper into his personal life speaking on his family life and how he was going kill someone for a pair of Nike Foamposites just to sell them to buy something his girlfriend before dropping his life changing mixtape. He gives us names and events, which gives a certain level of character to his stories.
He does it again on “Zipporah,” a song dedicated to the ex girlfriend whom which the album is about. There’s an interesting skit where a matriarchal figure is screaming for GoldLink to get up and go to church which opens up the conceptual layer of the album. Its meaning isn’t clear as it’s not revisited thereafter, but the song’s production is a beautiful church organ loop followed by that DMV bounce which is reminiscent of 90’s Timbaland.
From here on GoldLink begins his tributes to females, but the story becomes a bit loose. He’s telling stories from his early days that include bits from the larger summaries that seemingly appeared in the album’s first two songs, but it’s still a bit unclear and not as particular as it should be, especially after he what he had already shown he was capable of.
Stylistically he’s experimenting even more. After the beginning he doesn’t go back to straightforward rap until the powerful “New Black.” You get a feel for his melodies, but you lose that depth in content that makes him special when he’s harmonizing. He’s also still brushing up on that sound as it’s enjoyable when he does it, but doesn’t compare to the featured artists like Anderson .Paak who completely takes over a standout cut in “Unique.”
Where The God Complex was GoldLink looking to shine bright, After That is him glowing. He’s closing in on a definitive sound. There’s less comparisons to make now than there were on his previous work as he’s coming into his own. Sometimes his risk taking doesn’t pay off and he can come off contrived, but the man and his stories can be enthralling when he’s at his best.