Washington D.C. rapper Goldlink kept Los Angeles dancing for a straight hour at the Novo Sept. 21. Singer and saxophonist Masego accompanied the rapper at the 13th stop of his nationwide At What Cost Tour, a 34-city venture promoting Goldlink’s new album of the same name.
Goldlink gained blog notoriety after releasing his 2014 mixtape “The God Complex,” a nine-song project that paired house-influenced production with double-time rapping. Goldlink developed his style in his 2015 album, “And After That, We Didn’t Talk” — laying sexual boasts over elastic dance instrumentals — a style he dubbed “Future Bounce.”
His rapping was fast, but steadier than the popular triplets style made famous by Migos and Future. His verses acted less as proof of his lyrical prowess than as layers of the dance tracks on which he rapped. He even experimented with R&B, expanding his vocal range on tracks like “Polarized.” “And After That, We Didn’t Talk” earned critical acclaim, and by the time “At What Cost” was released in March, Goldlink had signed to RCA Records and headlined two tours across the United States.
Masego, a multi-talented artist from Norfolk, Va., has previously collaborated on a number of Goldlink’s records including “Late Night,” a standout track from “And After That, We Didn’t Talk,” and several acoustic renditions, notably of Outkast’s “Roses.”
At the Novo, Masego opened with a short set that showcased his skills as a singer, a saxophonist and a producer, drawing both roars of excitement and laughs from the crowd. He disappeared into a tent onstage and emerged wearing a new leather jacket three times. Upon donning the third jacket of the night, a red and black number bearing a huge pink heart and the words “I Love Lucy” on the back, he explained his outfit changes to the crowd:
“Some people collect Jordans. I collect leather jackets, mother trucker,” Masego said.
While performing “Tadow,” originally an eight-minute collaborative improvisation with French multi-instrument artist FKJ, Masego pulled out his saxophone and the crowd went wild, erupting into cheers. Later, he looped himself improvising on keys, vocals and a drum pad to make a song onstage.
“I could do this all night,” Masego said.
After a brief set by Goldlink’s DJ, the stage went dark and the cacophonous intro track from “At What Cost” boomed from the speakers. Goldlink, in an Iron Maiden t-shirt and ripped jeans, came out and played a few songs from the album.
Goldlink’s set was regimented compared to Masego’s — he did not miss a beat and kept the crowd’s energy high, but he stuck to singing and rapping rather than experimenting with other kinds of musical performance.
Goldlink’s set started with mellow tracks and culminated in the album’s biggest hits and a couple surprise guest appearances. The DJ played the first minute of several hugely popular contemporary rap bangers, including Waka Flocka’s “Grove St. Party” and Kendrick Lamar’s “M.A.A.D City,” before MadeinTYO, the Atlanta rapper of “Uber Everywhere” fame, rushed out to perform his hit, “Skateboard P.” Goldlink also brought out Shy Glizzy to perform his verse on “Crew,” a standout single from the album “At What Cost.” The duo performed the song twice in a row at the end of the set.
Masego returned to the stage to join Goldlink on “Herside Story.” Afterward, Goldlink addressed the crowd, telling them that Masego was one of the most talented artists he had met.
As the show was winding down, Goldlink asked how many real Goldlink fans were in the crowd before playing “Dance on Me,” one of his first hits. Judging by the crowd’s booming response, there were quite a few.