Gold Chains

Young Miss America

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With his Gold Chains and Straight From Your Radio EPs, Topher Lafata (aka Gold Chains) more than earned a place in indie hip-hop while distinguishing himself as more party-friendly, girl crazy and generally "lifestyle" living than his monastic brethren (Cex, Anticon, etc). On Young Miss America, his first proper album, he continues his righteous crusade for the dancefloor while continuing his lady-chasing tendencies delivered in language not unlike that of mainstream rappers like Nelly or Ludacris, only not as clever. The strange thing is, for all of Lafata's rhymes, he seems to purposefully deliver undanceable tracks with bouncy beats and major-key melodies, suggesting his anger and dedication are complicated by his sonic ambitions. On "Code Red," he repeats "Do you like it from the back? Or do you like it from the underground?," taunting his audience into accepting his IDM dissonance meets street-savvy style as the hallmark of innovation. "The Game" plays off a lazy U.K. garage beat, perhaps mocking the Streets with its thin production and bizarre, circus-like narrative interrupted by a herky-jerky R&B chorus. "Revolution" is the most straightforward hip-hop track on the album, a good chance to admire the acquired grit in Lafata's voice. Unlike the Streets, Lafata spits everything with a straight face, making his slow-mo Baroque on "Break Or Be Broken" and hardcore pop finale "Let's Get It On" (which features a Peaches-like guest appearance by Sue Cie) into a kitschy farce worthy of his vanguard reputation.

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