On his studio debut, GoldLink pays homage to DC while giving out-of-towners an intimate tour of his stomping grounds. Rousing yet dark, GoldLink fuses his signature future bounce style with strong go-go influences, delivering a more polished version of DC's ultra-regional sound.
Like his earlier projects, the dominant themes on At What Cost are love, partying and death — sometimes all on the same track. A lusty dance session turns deadly on "Meditation," while "We Will Never Die" is an anthem for hardened souls with nothing to lose. "Summatime" is a breezy, soulful number that's almost criminal to play in cold weather, and GoldLink cleverly reworks "Herside Story" by Hare Squead, seamlessly blending with the adorable Irish trio. Steve Lacy shines on the sweetly simple "Some Girl," and as far as production goes, Kaytranada really does his homework on "Hands on Your Knees," bringing go-go into sharp focus.
Peppered with cameos from fellow DC natives (Mya, Wale and Shy Glizzy, to name a few), At What Cost succeeds where other regional albums fail. It stays true to what makes the DMV distinct without alienating those of us who are only visiting. It's authentic enough for natives to appreciate, but universal enough to maintain broader appeal. (RCA)