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Rapper Goldlink on the Making of His Hot 100 Debut 'Crew': 'It's A Sinister Beat'

GOLDLINK
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Coachella

“Crew” marks the Washington, D.C., hip-hop artist’s Hot 100 debut, and also reaches No. 16 on Rap Airplay.

“Crew” marks the Washington, D.C., hip-hop artist’s Hot 100 debut, and also reaches No. 16 on Rap Airplay. Below, the emerging rapper explains how the recent hit came to be.

You’ve said you’re inspired by go-go music, but the beat produced by Teddy Walton on “Crew” is more minimal. What inspired the shift?

I create vibe-y dance music. It’s the bounce in go-go that inspires me. [But] something compelled me to this beat -- it’s sinister. My A&R [rep] and my manager pressed for it. They were like, “There is something about this song. You need it.” It was a beat that kept lingering, and we just tried it out.

The music video is set at a big party. What was the energy like on set?

The night before, me and the homies were out until 4 a.m. We woke up and went to my old hood [in Cheverly, MD]. It was natural and friendly. We had fun -- just a bunch of homies doing what we normally do, but with a camera.

Gucci Mane put out a remix of “Crew.” What makes him a good fit for this track?

I feel like the D.C. streets just love Gucci Mane. He’s like a hood pastor. It was really cool because he has a rich history in D.C., and that city is a lot of me. My mannerisms, the way I talk, the way I dress and the way I carry myself is from that city.

This story originally appeared in the August 19 issue of Billboard.

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