“Is this what Heaven like? I feel like I’m living in Paradise,”
Jimmy Golden sings in his opening track, “Paradise!” off his new album, At Heaven’s Gates solely produced by Acr0bat. The hook creates a dichotomy in a time period where we find ourselves weighed down by the current factors facing humanity and the world — in different countries, various cities and towns, and in an array of languages. Knowing, seeing, hearing, feeling our reality right now I wondered: what is it Jimmy Golden is experiencing that has him expressing innerG of a heightened state?
As I moved through the album several times over it became apparent that the “Heaven” and “Paradise” Jimmy captured in that song is stemming from actively staying in the present (a very difficult task when everything around you is constantly moving and changing.) The second track, “I Can’t Decide!” represents being present with a bit of indecisiveness. Acr0bat, of course, laces the track but this time with a more playful trap/pop influence that gives the song an ambitious innerG. The transitions throughout the song were very enjoyable — Jimmy is able to switch between rapping and falling into melody quite effortlessly. The song also represents an urge to MOVE, see, feel… like a yougin’ is really just tryna live. Truthfully, Jimmy Golden has provided the best line to sum up how many of us feel,
“I don’t even know what day it is / Quarantine got a nigga bent / bitch, I’m lit I’m tipsy — you know I get jiggy, yeah.”
We get to the third track on the album, “Baby Tesla?” which sounds exactly how the album cover looks — shooting for something, reaching for stars, immense symbolism that can be decoded in time. Around the one minute mark Acr0bat switches up the beat to a smoother sound that feels as though you’re on a space cruise navigated by Acr0bat and Jimmy Golden. One of my favorite lines,
“I’mma stay with it no matter how sad I get — bitch I am the best I am far from the average.”
This line is an affirmation — a moment where Jimmy exhibits belief and faith in self through his acknowledgement/awareness of feelings or thoughts. There’s a knowing that his pain or sadness is inevitable but so is growth, love, light and happiness.
Then, At Heaven’s Gate pivots a little in the track “4 the Old Heads.” This was one of my favorite songs because Jimmy shows his rapping versatility using a reggae/dancehall influenced flow with how he breaks flow patterns to rap from the back of his throat. With the different flow it makes it easy for the listener to hear his rawness and confidence using a more slightly aggressive flow. A notable line from the song that exemplifies Jimmy’s intricate rhymes,
“And don’t you fuck with a vet/ runnin your stairs like Artest / they barely playin Harden defense ain’t no way I get checked / or get a foul, foul out, then I’ll plow the ref, get me a tech, flight the desk, get the team jumpin…”
Then again, Jimmy and Acr0bat switch the sound and flow up a bit more on, “We Are Golden!/Wrestle With Jah!” where Acr0bat gives us production that feels/sounds like galaxies speaking in a grungy basement. Additionally, Jimmy comes rapping at a higher velocity and punk appeal that you can feel reverberate through his throat chakra. The second half of the song, “Wrestle With Jah” holds strong symbolism of God/Jah/Allah and an internal battle of what can be perceived as good vs. evil.
“They gonna say that I’m lucky but I’ve worked so hard/ I just be talking to God, He is never too far/ I give to Allah, He talkin to me — I just be talking in all of my dreams/ Allah told me to go shoot at you geeks — wait that was a demon/ talkin to me for no reason/ I need a date with the deacon/ really been looking for Jesus — please tell me why I can’t see him”
I found this part of the song interesting because “Wrestle With Jah” feels like a direct reference to Jacob wrestling with God: “And Jacob was left alone, and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of day” (Gen 32:24.) For some of us who aren’t too familiar with the Bible — Jacob wrestles with God (mentally but feels physical) at Jabbok. It’s a place that is lonely and must be faced alone; a private war between you and God/Allah/Jah/The Creator. Ironically, physically, Jabbok is a tributary of the infamous Jordan River. In Hebrew it means, “to empty itself” and is known as a place of total surrender. The theme of Jacob at Jabbok mirrors Jimmy Golden in our current world and possibly even where he’s from, Tampa, Florida. Regardless, the theme is constant throughout At Heaven’s Gate — Jimmy searching for God/Jah/Allah and wrestling with his own existence and the factors that may threaten it but still proceeds to come out on top. Below you can watch Jimmy Golden’s performance for “We Are Golden!/Wrestle With Jah!” on ByteTV for one of their #Crispy Sessions. His innerG is off the charts!
“I Vaguely Remember” is my favorite track from At Heaven’s Gates. I love it because Acr0bat and Jimmy’s chemistry is undeniable and really dope — they compliment each other’s style and versatility well. It was nice to hear Acr0bat vocally on a track juxtaposed with the texture of Jimmy’s voice/tone. This track has a real laid back, almost “West Coast” vibe to it with unique vocals. Also, this is a song where Jimmy touches on the reality of being Black in the United States.
Subsequently, Acr0bat provides beautiful production on the song “Witch Prollems” featuring Cosmella Sol. This song was my least favorite song but also is the song that peaked my curiosity about Jacob at Jabbok;
“I think this is the battle that Jacob had dreamed at Jabbok.”
In this song it felt as though Jimmy is battling in a different conflict than what was expressed in previous songs. This feels like a conflict more intimately connected to lust and how it’s hard to identify lust as a conflict when it provides so much pleasure.
Lastly, “GO!” serves as an outro, summary of topics (in a sense,) and intermission until Jimmy Golden goes on his next mission and shares it with us. He adds one a couple more affirmations to the track, but I’m partial to to the positivity,
“I gotta glow I don’t care how dark it get.”
Overall, At Heaven’s Gates is full of symbolism ranging from God/Jah/Allah to sports and our current state as humanity. The album is a testament to Jimmy Golden’s obstacles and triumphs — a telling of affirming where one is going despite the pain, hurt and confusion. Most importantly, At Heaven’s Gate reinforces the importance of having fun and finding enjoyment in the moment you’re in. I look forward to more work from Jimmy Golden and Acr0bat (both separately and collectively.) If there’s anything more I could ask for it would be to have more music videos to experience Jimmy’s visual storytelling alongside his vocals.
Be sure to give the album a spin!