Stylized like a trap number but supported by a more soulful melodic foundation than you’re initially expecting to encounter, it’s difficult to deem Alyst’s new collaboration with Affluent Oscar Sanchez, “Gold,” anything other than a breathtaking example of modern hybridity in hip-hop. From the moment we get started forward, an angst-ridden beat is circling the lead vocal like a shark preparing to come in for the kill.
There’s little buffering between the bassline and the synthetic harmony Alyst is clinging to at the forefront of the mix, but he doesn’t sound overcrowded here at all. Rather than pressing the beat to create as urgent a tone in “Gold” as possible, this is a player who wants to take his time – and force us to slow down a little bit with him – all in the name of exploiting his voice for every ounce of pure sonic bliss it’s worth. Experimenting with harmonies isn’t a new concept for this generation of rappers, but among those who aren’t losing their focus on rhythm, this might be the most exciting young artist I’ve had the pleasure of coming across in the past few months.
There’s definitely not as much tension behind the beat as there could have been, but I think Alyst was actually trying to be provocative with the framework of the instrumentation in doing as much. Between his performance style and the influence Affluent Oscar Sanchez is bringing to the booth, he’s got a lot of versatility that he’s trying to showcase in “Gold,” and there really isn’t a lot he has to do to give us the complete measurement of his depth we need to appreciate what his skills are made of here.
These are two artists ready to challenge each other in the studio – their chemistry speaks to this directly – but they’re never competing for dominance over the direction of the music because that’s always unquestionably Alyst himself. The master mix doesn’t suggest any interest in blowing up the same old bass-born grooves that we’ve been hearing across the trap underground for the better part of the past five years, but instead a desire to branch into soul territory the way few have been inclined to in recent times.
I can’t say for sure what’s going to happen with this player’s career in the future, but I think that what he’s done in “Gold” is very telling of what he can do if he sticks with the present mind frame he has as both a musician and a businessman. Branding is everything in this game, and by making it clear in a track like this how little filler matters to him when crafting original beats, he makes it known to anyone who listens to “Gold” that making creative and expressive music is all he’s thinking about in the booth.
His acerbic behavior and willingness to stay conventional with some aspects of his compositional style says a lot about his artistic character, and I’m looking forward to hearing what he’s going to produce next because of this.
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