Since their establishment in 2007, Brooklyn-based label Fool’s Gold has pumped out a pretty continuous stream of dance floor burners, excitingly experimental rap records, and seemingly endless intersections of the two. A statement from the label’s website perfectly encapsulates the vibe of a given Fool’s Gold record:
“For those in the know, a Fool’s Gold party is THE place to be – the kind of night where DJ Premier spins disco records, Kanye shows up unannounced to try out new music, and Drake gets on the mic to wish everyone a happy Chanukah.”
Translation? Expect the unexpected and expect to have a damn good time. For nearly five years, label cofounders (and decorated DJs) A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs have done their best to make sure expectant fans do both in equal measure. Check out 10 of the best records Fool’s Gold has put out since they first stepped foot on the scene.
Hit “next” or click the pictures to read on…
10. A-Trak ft. Juicy J and Danny Brown – “Piss Test”
Pure decadence. With A-Trak‘s slithering, siren synths blaring as a back drop, Juicy J and Danny Brown do what they do best and most often: rap about taking exorbitant amounts of drugs. Some songs don’t require complex unpacking. As Juicy J so eloquently puts it, “you say no to drugs?/ That mean more for me.” Perfect Saturday night music, if your Saturday night involves avoiding your parole officer and smoking blunt after blunt.
9. Nacho Lovers – “Go On”
B-Side wins again. In 2008 Fool’s Gold played host to “Acid Life” b/w “Go On,” a 12″ vinyl single from Canadian production duo Nacho Lovers. While the a-side “Acid Life” sported a catchy house groove, the darkly infectious “Go On” lurked on the b-side, waiting to suck in listeners with its buzzing, bouncing near seven minute groove.
8. Onra – “Hold Tight”
Globetrotting producer (as Fool’s Gold’s site describes him) Onra has a knack for infusing neck-snapping life into styles that might leave other producers sounding limp. On “Hold Tight,” the closer to his stellar five song EP Deep In the Night, Onra slaps typically titanic drums on a evocative 80s groove, an infectious creation that recalls the past while reminding us of present technique.
7. Flosstradamus – “Rollup”
On “Rollup,” Chicago duo Flosstradamus displays their trademark penchant for chaos creation: oppressive, pounding low-end, rapid-fire snares, and a rousing Danny Brown sample cut out of “From the Back,” another Flosstradamus creation. What makes “Rollup” special, however, is the group’s addition of unexpected melodic and atmospheric touches, balancing riot-starting synth drum-lines with a more restrained, but no less dance-floor ready sensibility. Every storm needs an eye here and there. “Rollup” brings the thunder and clearing in the clouds.
6. Danny Brown – “30”
After building a buzz with his acclaimed free album The Hybrid, Danny Brown burst onto the radar of a wider audience with his stunning roller-coaster album XXX. At the tail end of the album, Danny and producer SKYWLKR unleashed “30,” a clattering, noise-rap monstrosity that compresses the inner turmoil of the preceding 18 tracks–the drugs, the parties gone wrong, the parties gone too right, the dreams of rap superstardom battered by the realities of poverty and the limited prospects that exist for an aspiring rapper–into a harrowing and wholly original statement of purpose unlike anything else released by Fool’s Gold.
5. The Cool Kids – “I Rock”
Though the Cool Kids never achieved the level of success for which they seemed poised when they first hit the internet’s radar, it’s easy to remember what all the excitement was about when you queue up “I Rock,” the skeletal banger Fool’s Gold packaged with the Cool Kids’ other signature song “88” in 2009. “I Rock” uses the essentials and eschews the rest, all heavy bass, snapping snares, and too-cool-for-anything rapping.
4. Danny Brown – “Grown Up”
After the drug laden victory rap that was Danny’s XXX, the Detroit emcee dialed in an impressively (though not unprecedentedly) mature performance on “Grown Up.” Over a beat with a fittingly old school lean (provided by emergent, loop-loving producer and frequent Action Bronson collaborator Party Supplies), Danny waxes rhapsodic about where he’s been, where he is now, and how his lung capacity has changed since he was a young’un.
3. A-Trak – Dirty South Dance
A bit of cheating on this one. Dirty South Dance isn’t a single, but rather a collection of mash-ups crafted by Fool’s Gold progenitor A-Trak. The concept is simple: take rhymes from southern rap hits and throw them over a diverse assortment of concurrent underground dance gems. The resultant mix was a jubilant reinvention of the familiar, successfully breathing new life into songs that, in some cases, had already been played to death on mainstream radio. An early testament to Fool’s Gold’s experimentalism in the name of fun.
2. Kid Cudi – “Day N’ Nite”
A year after its inception, Fool’s Gold played host to an infectious record by a much buzzed about Ohio emcee named Kid Cudi. The record, “Day N’ Nite,” would bore its head into the minds of listeners with its hypnotic beat and Cudi’s infectious combination of rapping and singing. As Cudi worked out his melancholy over danceable production (provided by Dot Da Genius and Cudi himself), he hopped on his ascent to stardom and simultaneously solidified Fool’s Gold as an independent force on par with its more tenured contemporaries.
1. Duck Sauce – “Barbra Streisand”
It should come as no surprise that Fool’s Gold’s finest moment comes from one of its co-founders. As Duck Sauce, A-Trak teamed up with DJ Armand Van Helden to craft gleeful dance tracks as irresistible for their persistent beats as their unavoidable aura of fun.
Perhaps Fool’s Gold’s most enduring contribution to electronic music thus far, Duck Sauce’s “Barbra Streisand” is an infectious slice of over-the-top, silly dance music that succeeds because of its absurdity and incessant beat (the description provided on Fool’s Gold’s site should tell you everything you need to know: “Ooh ooh ooh ooh, ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh…”). While it doesn’t encapsulate the breadth of music that Fool’s Gold has released in its five years of existence, “Barbra Streisand” neatly crystallizes the label’s seeming mission statement: get off your ass and dance!