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Album Review: HARAM! by GoldLink

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D'Anthony Carlos, or better known by his stage name, GoldLink, is a rapper and singer from D.C. With great success from his debut mixtape, The God Complex, that landed him a spot on the XXL Freshman Class in 2015. He has also released a second mixtape and his debut studio album since then. Now, GoldLink drops his sophomore studio album, HARAM!

The first track from the project is Extra Clip, which also features NLE Choppa. This is a pretty quick track that opens up the album and I'm not really seeing anything too impressive, especially since GoldLink's vocals are pretty hard to hear and they're muffled. It's strange since NLE Choppa easily outshines GoldLink and his vocals aren't... muffled or hard to hear. We also have a strange and eerie industrial beat that introduces us to the album.
 
202 improves on the previous track, but not by that much. The beat seems to have some electronic notes that are reversed and chopped up. The vocals are easier to hear on this track, so I guess that's an improvement as well. Based on the lyrics of the track, GoldLink talks about how he grew up in the gang lifestyle and how he just tells other people to do the work for him. He also name drops several people, like Nipsey, during his verse.
 
White Walls was the single I heard before the project was released, and I actually enjoyed this track a lot. It's surprising since the first two tracks were a bit weak, so I guess we'll see how the rest of the album is going to play out. This is another track that has an eerie beat, but it seems like he's singing towards the beginning instead of rapping. Also, besides the beat, I also like how he has added the 'Fire' soundclip during the chorus.
 
Spit On It brings in the help of Rizloski. The track definitely takes on a twist of what I was expecting to hear since it's such an easy going track to start out. GoldLink talks about his new found fame and riches on his verse. Once he's done rapping, we have a loud and obnoxious sound to end the first section. When Rizloski comes in, a new, light, guitar beat comes in with the high-pitched vocals. Not sure why they decided to split the track in two, I guess we'll see if anything comes from it later.

Terrordome opens up with some piano arpeggios, and then leaves for a more wavy and psychedelic beat. I actually enjoy all of the different layers that were thrown together on this beat, from the drum kit, and all the different synths layers that were added towards the middle of the track. Judging by the vocals, it seems like this relationship is about to end, or has ended since it seems like this person gave up on him. I do enjoy the Cyberpunk reference on here though.

Evian brings back Rizloski, as well as some other smaller artists. The beat is something completely new since it has a jazz feeling. We have a groovy piano part with some clap beats added over it. I wish they tried adding more to it, but the different artists do bring in some interesting parts to say the least, especially with the grime rap. Also, this doesn't even really feel like a GoldLink track since he's barely on it with all of the features.

Raindrops was one of the last singles released before the release of the album. Since it came out so late, I decided to wait to listen to it until the release of the album. I actually enjoyed this track, and Flo Milli greets us with the chorus. I also don't understand why GoldLink can have crystal clear vocals here, but not with the first few tracks. Other than that, this is easily one of the best on the album, so I can tell why it was released as a single.

Twin brings out Rich The Kid, which I am indifferent on. He has some bangers, but there are also some tracks that I can't even stand by him. This is one of those tracks that I can't really stand him on, especially since he just comes out too aggressive with the level of his vocals. Even the beat sets this up to be a lighter and more playful track. This track also marks the longest track on the album, and it just lands a little short of three and a half minutes.

Girl Pacino opens up with a light piano part and a booming bass. It's strange having two contradicting parts, but the bass part keeps me intrigued. This track features more of GoldLink's singing, which I'm not that into on this track. I was earlier, but it seems to fall through the cracks on this one. I also think that the feature shows him up on the singing, but again, it has to do with the quality of vocals he chooses to use on the track.

Now we come the shortest track on the album, Thump Chronicles Vol. 1, which clocks in under two minutes in length. Despite the short track, I really think GoldLink actually kills it on this track, especially with his faster rapping on this one. By the end though, I'm just wanting more from this track since some of the features take away from GoldLink. I guess he just needs to add more volume to most of these tracks.

Culture Clash is another track with a deep bass. It seems like there is a lot going on with the beat since you have some electronic high-pitched note as well as some rattling drum kit parts. Also, instead of being greeted by GoldLink, we have a feature from Fire! I think Fire! does a great job, especially with the grime rap. As I have noted before, there are times where GoldLink barely appears and lets his feature do a great deal of the work. This is one of those examples.

Wayne Perry is another track that definitely has an eerie feeling to it. It opens up with some 'whooshing' sounds, as well as an out of tune piano. Then once the introduction is out of the way, we have another feature, LukeyWorld. Despite the feature holding down a good amount of the work, I definitely think the two of them have chemistry and would love to see a few more tracks with both of them working together.

Wild and Lethal Trash! brings back Fire! and another interesting choice, Santigold. I'm not really sure where to start with the beat since there's so many things added here. You have the main overlying, synth-like beat, as well as a bell-jingle that comes in every few seconds. Other than that, I feel like Santigold's vocals ended up being a great addition, and Fire! provides some decent short lines here and there.

Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk changes up the tone of the album again. It starts out with mostly just drumbeats and some light notes. After awhile of waiting, our vocalist, Jesse Boykins III comes in with his raw emotion and soulful singing. The bridge of the track is a bit strange. It sounds like a mix of BROCKHAMPTON and Tyler, the Creator, so take what you will with that. Other than that, it just seems a little underwhelming at this point of the album.

The final track we have on the album is Cindy's Daughter, which features Bibi Bourelly. We have another smooth and slowed down beat. It has an interesting drum beat and then some distorted and reverbed guitar parts. I honestly don't mind this type of outro for the track, but I do wish it was a bit longer since it's just over two minutes in length. The track talks about leaving this person alone since they knew they made mistakes. Bibi says that everything was her fault as the track eventually fades out.
 
I was expecting a lot more from this project, but instead we barely get anything. The tracks are short and don't have much to them. Some of the beats towards the beginning and middle are undesirable.
Overall Rating: 5/10
Favorite Tracks: White Walls, Terrordome, Raindrops, Thump Chronicles Vol. 1, Cindy's Daughter
 
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