Fools Gold Day Off
Monday, September 5
Better than: Catching bullets at a parade.
New York City empties out on Labor Day weekend, but for the past two years those who’ve stuck around have been able to see behind the curtain on what’s next, on what’s nexter-than-next, and the emerging trends in fashion and music and beer thanks to the Fool’s Gold party, tucked into the parking lot behind City Winery. (For instance, this year I saw a bunch of people drinking 40s of Olde English, the champagne of street corners, due either to recessionary spending or one stop past irony on the L train.)
Fool’s Gold is a boutique record label and lifestyle choice curated by DJs Nick Catchdubs and A-Trak in Brooklyn, a valued and influential co-sign to weirdo artistes and left-of-left-brain thinkers alike. Run down the rabbit hole far enough and there are connections made to The Cool Kids, Kanye West, Kid Cudi and many others’ success. (That explains why CEO of Warner Bros. Records Todd Moscowitz—still smelling like The Hamptons—strolled the grounds yesterday, eating ice cream.) Armand Van Helden and Diplo hung around the VIP section, not far from Miss Info, Action Bronson, Plain Pat and Freddie Gibbs. P-Thugg of Chromeo, his belly hanging out of his head-to-toe Cross Colors outfit, wandered. It was like a Fader family barbeque, a cookout for discriminating tastes.
Juicy J, thankfully back in style after dropping his magnificent Lex Luger-laced mixtapes, acted as headliner—rollicking and violent, he spilled his gin bottle as if epileptic. Serenading the crowd with “Stoner’s Night,” the man who invented Tyrone Biggums swag waved this way and that way, ragdoll dancing. (He does a helluva cooking dance, oh-so-current.) Drinking from a Black Jesus-labeled Styrofoam double cup handed to him by a front row fan, he marveled, “That’s some lean. That’s some real lean!” He reminded everyone that he was drunk, that he had written these songs while getting high, and then repeated his reminders. His hits came almost beside the point, interrupted by stories, distracted by distractions, but when they would come on, the crowd would absolutely frenzy. An impromptu and frenetic dance party erupted for “Slob on My Knob.” “Bombay Gin Dance,” “Stay Fly” and “Inhale” were other stand-outs, ratchet anthems bouncing off the brick walls.
But the wheels came off as soon as ASAP Rocky, SPACEGHOSTPURRP and their endless parade of dudes rushed onstage, surprise guests though they were. Running on adrenaline or ethanol, they exuded excitement, teenage invincibility and Harlemite brio. After flat-out running through two songs (one with Juicy J; the other, “Peso”), ASAP jumped into the crowd, immediately followed by all of his friends. It was like skydiving or lemmings the way they fell into the whirlpool blazed by ASAP, a tornado of sharp elbows and kicking and gold teeth. (He then got back onstage and yelled at the crowd for not moshing hard enough.) For a few songs, it was like The Tunnel was back in business.
Star DJs spun throughout the day, causing a conveyor belt of head-nodding and freak-dancing. Brothers A-Trak and Dave 1 manned the turntables together, looking effortless and daisy-tripping in matching leather jackets (though the techniques used belied the ease). Though rain threatened, the ground only seemed to get wet when Dave 1 threw on Chromeo’s “Night by Night.” Just Blaze took the whistling of “Sittin’ on the Dock (Of the Bay)” and wound it into The Throne’s “Otis,” innovation flashing through in a set of well-worn classics. DJ Mehdi, unannounced between stops at Electric Zoo and Paris, dropped house numbers, the most crowd-pleasing being a sample of “In the Beginning (Jack’s House).” It was like a Zoolander headtrip, a jaunt to Ibiza. Those onstage stood in slack-jawed awe of Araabmuzik’s MPC mastery, his button-pushing conjuring everything from whistles in a laundry machine to a Wheel of Fortune spin, Rick Ross grunts and Dipset riddims. (Not everyone was so enamored: next to me, a writer said, “This is cool, but I’m over it.”) This was all followed by Danny Brown—horrorcore rapper du jour—whose mixtape XXX was received warmly by the Internet if not by the dance-focused crowd yesterday. (His beats are minimal, swallowed up by the open air. Much as he tried to sway them, confused-slash-curious stares looked back at him. The primal screamer “Bruiser Brigade” came closest, though, its tuba blasts pounding.)
Critical bias: Too many to name, but honesty trumps favors in friendship.
Overheard: “YO, YOU NEED TO WEAR THAT JACKET. YOU’RE ONE OF THE ONLY MOTHERFUCKERS IN NEW YORK WITH THAT JACKET, YOU NEED TO WEAR THAT SHIT.”—Dave 1, to a lucky fan. As A-Trak played “N—-as in Paris,” Kanye’s line, “What’s that jacket, Margiela?” came up. A-Trak removed his black leather jacket and handed it to Dave 1; Dave stepped to the front of the stage, balancing on the monitors and holding the (
apparently Margiela Fools Gold/Members Only collab) leather jacket high; as the line continued playing, he tossed it into the middle of the crowd. Bodies fell, but one eventually emerged, his face beaming though suddenly dirty. (Not to worry: Dave had another jacket on deck.)
Random notebook dump: Just Blaze’s set was built on popular songs: Jay-Z, MOP, Cam’ron, DMX, T.I. Somehow, the biggest crowd reactions came when Noreaga’s “Grimey” and The Clipse’s “Grindin” opened, as if the rumbling Pharell beats were forgotten classics. Either it’s time for a re-examination of The Neptunes, or nostalgia has crept so close that the call is coming from within the last decade’s house.
Juicy J setlist:
Zip and a Double Cup
Slob on my Knob
Who Da Neighbors
Sippin on Some Sizzurp
Bombay Gin Dance
Black & Yellow
So Damn Fucked Up (A Capella)
Poppin My Collar
Stoner’s Night (Reprise)
That Good Mood (with ASAP Rocky)
Peso (ASAP Rocky)
Flossin (with Neako)
Smokin and Sippin (with SPACEGHOSTPURRP)
Geeked Up Off Them Bars