GoldLink is uniquely suited to an NPR Tiny Desk Concert. The DMV rapper’s idiosyncratic blend of house beats and R&B influences—he called it “future bounce” when he broke out in 2013—remains melodic even when it’s designed for the dance floor. He’s dextrous but casual, more interested in finding a groove through a verse than cramming four bars with one-liners. And though his live show is a party in its own right, he doesn’t rely solely on hype and frantic energy to get the songs across. He’s self-assured, and he’s got an arsenal of soul-influenced tracks to draw from. Putting him in a small room with a pared-down band and a stand-up mic makes perfect sense.
You can watch his Tiny Desk debut over at NPR this morning. He smooths things down, leaving producer Louie Lastic to lead each of the four songs on bass. He runs through The God Complex’s “Bedtime Story,” And After That, We Didn’t Talk‘s “Dark Skin Women,” and At What Cost’s “Some Girl” and “Pray Everyday (Survivor’s Guilt).” Early on, he says that the experience is “mad overwhelming.” You’d never guess if he didn’t mention it.
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