We caught up with rap innovator GoldLink in the days leading up to the Trillectro Festival. As the DMV’s first hybrid hip-hop/electronic festival, Trillectro serves as an ideal arena for GoldLink, whose sonic palette fuses house, dance and hip-hop elements. So eclectic is the rapper’s beat selection that he has loosely named his practice “future bounce,” enlisting the likes of Sango, SBTRKT and Kaytranada to craft landscapes for his booming rap delivery. Having just signed to RCA Records earlier this year, GoldLink’s rise has directed eyes and ears towards his hometown and the DMV at large.
Once unmasked, GoldLink became the face of his region, quickly taking off with his innovative dance-rap routine.The DMV is a scene in which “everybody doesn't fuck with everybody,” Goldlink tells us, adding– “we're growing. That's what matters.” The Virginia native is most vocal when asked what the city of Washington can do for the DMV as a hotspot for cultural innovation. “Support the hell out of them,” the rapper says emphatically, offering a series of viable strategies to do so. “I've been taking my home around the world and I'm going to continue that,” we’re told. Read on for our full interview with GoldLink; catch him at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, on August 27.
How does it feel to perform in front of your home crowd?
There is no better feeling than performing at home.
What do people in the DMV area think of Trillectro?
I personally think that people look at Trillectro as a region-wide celebration of the new, exciting community of creatives that's rising in the DMV, that we never had. It's the start of a new era here and Trillectro is one of the cultural signifiers of that in the live space.
You're touring the world these days. How do you stay connected to your roots?
Man, I stay down with my people and I'm still around the way. That's what every artist should do if they can.
What can you tell us about the creative scene in the DMV area?
It's a thriving scene for all of us. Everybody is pushing everybody forward together and trying to help give back to the area as much as possible. But of course with restraints, because everybody doesn't fuck with everybody like that... but we're growing. That's what matters.
Any notable talents?
Merima, Versace Jesus, OGK, Frank from Apt.50, Kadeem from Landlord, April + Vista, Cal rips, King Rosé, Lil Simba. Man too many to name I'd just go on and on for today.
Creatives across the country are flocking to NYC or LA. Would you say NYC is too close for the DMV to grow a bigger creative scene?
Absolutely not. The scene that makes the DMV great are those who are born and raised in the area so it doesn't really matter. NYC never really overshadowed us, and now that this scene is growing, more people are excited to stay here and help things grow.
What can the city of Washington DC do to help to creatives in the DMV area?
SUPPORT THE HELL OUT OF THEM. Play them on the radio, write about them in the Washington Post at least once a week, have the bigger homegrown companies invest into the youth, and when somebody makes it out, come back and help someone else get out and keep it home.
Musically speaking, you've been experiencing international success. What's next on your agenda? Plans for 2017?
Make my city proud, that's all that ever mattered to me. I've been taking my home around the world and I'm going to continue that.
The fifth installment of Trillectro, DC's critically acclaimed, all-day musical experience, takes place on Saturday, August 27 at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. The lineup includes GoldLink, Kid Cudi, Rae Sremmurd, Lil Uzi Vert, Esta, and many more. Secure your tickets here.
GoldLink is also gearing up for his first full hard ticket European run including a gig at London's first-ever Afropunk festival.