Anticipation was in the air. The day had finally arrived for GoldLink’s The God Complex album release party at U St. Music Hall. The date was April 12, 2014, to be exact. The “faceless sex symbol” had built up a huge buzz building up to the release of The God Complex thanks to the hype behind excellent music and the curiosity behind his refusal to show his face. His music, an explosive brand of hip-hop steeped in electronic influences, quickly built him an eclectic, vibrant fan base. There was just as much whispering about his mysterious persona. No one but his personal friends and business team knew what he looked like. This was quite the accomplishment, given the fact that he has had arguably the most buzz out of any emerging rapper in the state of Virginia thus far in 2014.
A steady stream of people filtered into the venue as Mista Selectah, 7th Floor VillainZ, and LAKIM performed prior to the main act. By the time LAKIM finished up his set, the dark, intimate venue was filled. Attention switched to the main stage as GoldLink’s official DJ, DJ Kidd Marvel, emerged to amp up the crowd with a series of high energy songs and instrumentals, including VirtuosoTheGOD’s “THAZMYSHYT,” which was featured in the first part of the “When I Die” video. I couldn’t help but marvel at the considerable size and anticipatory demeanor of the crowd I was surrounded with. GoldLink is just beginning his career, but this showing exemplified just how fast his buzz has grown.
Finally, it was time. Appropriately enough, GoldLink walked out on the stage to “I Am A God.” He did so in a black mask, and was immediately greeted by raucous screams of excitement from the crowd. Not much time was spent on formalities, introductions, or speeches. Instead, GoldLink took us right into the music. If you weren’t jumping by the time the first song ended, then you probably weren’t seeing anything except for bouncing torsos and fist pumping. That wasn’t really a problem, because almost everyone was jumping. The energy of GoldLink’s delivery, combined with futuristic production courtesy of his diverse group of producers, was almost impossible to avoid. GoldLink took us through cuts from The God Complex and other tracks that proved to be fan favorites. Then, all of a sudden when it seemed that the energy couldn’t get any higher, GoldLink took his mask off and shocked us all.
There was nothing inherently strange about his face. It was simply the fact that he chose to expose his face for the first time to his hometown crowd. When GoldLink took his mask off, the energy intensified and never fell back down for the entire night. Everyone felt as though they were part of something special. People were simultaneously reciting words from songs, bouncing to the beat, and tweeting things to the effect of, “holy S!@$, GoldLink just took his mask off.” The occasion felt momentous, even though many of us had just been introduced to GoldLink in recent months. The show felt more intimate. Even the “faceless sex symbol” cared enough to show himself to his hometown. We all left buzzing off of the energy; high off of bass, melodies, and hooks. This is simply my chronicle of what happened the night that GoldLink took his mask off. I’m glad I was there.
Watch the official recap of GoldLink’s Album Release Party at U St. Music Hall Below.