Fool’s Gold Records began as an indie hip-hop/electronic label in the worst sense of that definition. They introduced artists like Kid Sister and Kid Cudi to the music world, musicians who used the hip-hop genre as a placemat for far less complex or interesting ideas of their own. Go back and listen to “Day N Night” and you’ll hear a man with a head much too big for his shoulders, attempting to redefine music he doesn’t seem to really understand very well in the first place.
Luckily, in the past four years, Fool’s Gold Records seems to have sunken into a much more comfortable and confident place on their side of the music industry. Loosies is essentially a confirmation of that solid establishment. Most of the rappers presented on the collection are not signed to the label, Danny Brown being the most visible exception on the list.
In the “friends of the label” category, are such big names as diverse as Juicy J, King Louie, Freeway, Freddie Gibbs, Roach Gigz, Chuck Inglish, Troy Ave, Action Bronson, and, I kid you not, E-40’s two sons, Droop-E and Issue, who are actually established and talented producers and rappers. What do all of these artists share, from the regional rap legends to the marginally-hip newcomers? They all share a love of good-old-fashioned rapping. No pop-songs or chanted anthems are to be found here. Every song, in its own way, is a tribute to dense and hard-hitting rap music that each artist is, at least partially, known for.
If Fool’s Gold had simply made a compilation of diverse yet similarly minded rappers, it might be a confusing mix of styles and sounds. What’s really pleasantly surprising about Loosies is that it is curated to very consistent energy level. It’s beats can range from skittering trap to edge-of-EDM to boom bap, but it all manages to maintain a very standardized speed and intensity in both its tempo, its density, and its rapping. Action Bronson, in his own way, is just as hyped on “Twin Peugeots” as Freeway is on “Dedicated”. It makes for a very pleasant listen intp which you can be dropped at any point and know what’s going on, a very helpful trait for a set of songs that tops itself off at two hours and twenty three minutes.
In the end, the Loosies collection doesn’t contain any truly groundbreaking music or rapping, but it presents a high quality overview of a very broad, yet very specific house sound, a task that is a lot harder to pull off than it sounds. Just look to the label’s larger, and far less diverse, neighbors like MMG or G.O.O.D. for comparison.