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How A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs’ Fool’s Gold Records Carved Its Own Path

Fool’s Gold Records may only be 14 years old, but its cultural impact and impeccable taste for innovative music shows wisdom far beyond its age. Founded by DJs Nick Catchdubs, A-Trak – five-time World Championship-winning DJ, Kanye West collaborator, and revered producer, Fool’s Gold continues to blur the lines between indie, hip-hop and dance music. 

“We don’t put out every type of music or artist; there’s a Fool’s Gold vibe and approach that’s very distinct”, Nick Catchdubs says. It’s no wonder we partnered with the brand on the Fool’s Gold Limited Edition NURATRUE – its bold style is the perfect match for such a unique earbud. “The fact that Nura lets you literally personalize sound to your ears is very appealing…These don’t look, feel or sound like a generic earbud”, he adds. 

The Brooklyn-based label has been home to an expansive list of chart-topping tracks and tastemaking artists. Danny Brown, Kid Cudi, Ta-ku, Anna Lunoe, Brockhampton, Chromeo and Run The Jewels have all been a part of the family at some point, among plenty others. A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs have released their own music on the label, too, including A-Trak’s project with Armand Van Helden, Duck Sauce – the duo behind the iconic track, Barbara Streisand. 

It’s also an art brand, stocking original, stylish clothing and accessories that help cultivate a community of fans and friends. The late artist and co-founder Dust La Rock was responsible for much of the label’s early graphics, setting the standard for Fool’s Gold’s quirky style.  

Fool’s Gold came off the back of A-Trak’s previous label, Audio Research, and during a melting pot era of music. Dance music, hip-hop and DJing were all changing and seeping into each other. Around the time A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs founded Fool’s Gold, Kanye West was sampling Daft Punk in Stronger, and Linkin Park had collaborated with Jay-Z on Collision Course. The ubiquity of the internet helped, too. It was the perfect time for an open-minded team to take the reins and allow forward-thinking artists to flourish. 

The label’s first release was Kid Sister’s Control, which went on to be a part of the album, Ultraviolet. According to A-Trak, Kanye heard him working on Kid Sister’s music backstage at a gig and ended up featuring on it because “he just knew and recognised that it sounded new and fresh, and it was the first time he was hearing electronic beats mixed with rap.” 

Fool’s Gold struck platinum early, in 2008, with Kid Cudi’s Day ‘n Nite, an electro-infused hip-hop beat that was nominated for a Grammy, MTV Video Music Award and a BET Hip Hop award. The Crookers’ remix also went on to win a Beatport Music Award. But it wasn’t like the label was seeking out chart-toppers.

“For every record that goes really far, there’s another record that might be sort of a labour of love”, A-Trak tells Creators in a mini-doc. With over 50 releases in the first three years, it would be unprecedented for them all to make history. And that’s what makes Fool’s Gold so special. The team is putting out music and art that is emotive to them without being too wrapped up in what makes them look cool or cutting-edge. Bizarrely, that’s what makes them so cool and cutting-edge.  

In the 14 years since its inception, Fool’s Gold has grown exponentially, opening up a permanent HQ – instead of working out of Nick Catchdubs’ apartment – hosting regular parties, and signing more and more groundbreaking artists. That includes the likes of Action Bronson, Flosstradamus, UNIIQU3 and Baauer. 

More recently, the label has fronted Karma Kid and Luke Fono, two British producers that have seen their fair share of underground success. The former has been around for almost a decade, with millions of streams via renowned music channels such as Majestic Casual and TheSoundYouNeed. Luke Fono, meanwhile, burst onto the scene as FONO with his 2015 track Real Joy, spun by the likes of Calvin Harris, Annie Mac and Duke Dumont. 

Fool’s Gold shows no signs of slowing down. With its Nura collaboration, the brand continues its desire to create meaningful memorabilia that fans can identify with. As Daniel McCallum, Nura CEO, puts it: “When we look at what Fool’s Gold has done for music over the past [14] years…we see a spirit that reflects the Nura ambition to completely change expectations around how music should sound…We’re two groups of music-lovers bringing the same independent-challenger attitude to shake things up.”

Find out more about the Fool's Gold Limited Edition NURATRUE here.

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