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Get Down with Gold Chains

Gold Chains wants your booty. And he'll do just about anything to get it. On his recent full-length debut Young Miss America, the local rapper, along with production partner-in-crime Kit Clayton, lays down some butt-bumping beats infused with everything from electro to funk, glitch-hop to old school. Slather that spread with smart tongue-in-cheek lyrics delivered with "let me break it down for you" attitude and you've got yourself a party in a box. Boombox that is.

Gold Chains, or Topher Lafata as his parents know him, is part of the geeky laptop rap and technologified musical insurgence to which San Francisco is playing host. With local labels Tigerbeat6 and Orthlorng Musork playing breeding ground for sexed-up, beat laden, anti-consumerist acts, Gold Chains has a wide circle of like-minded friends including math-rock trio Numbers, braindance beat geek Kid606 and fellow electro rapper Cex.

Lafata hails from Reading, Pennsylvania and critics often tout his early punk rock leanings as a defining influence. Combine those hardcore roots with an interest in hip hop (in college he was part of a hip hop group) and a knack for audio software and you get Gold Chains, the gruff-voiced rapper who dissects western society with authority and over-the-top style.

Gold Chains began his career in groove-laden rap with the release of a self-titled EP in 2001. The six-song Straight From Your Radio, hit shelves the following year and featured such indie inspirationals as "Mountains of Coke" and "I Treat Your Coochie Like a Maze". In 2003, Lafata signed with European label PIAS and in July released Young Miss America, an album quick to hit hipster iPods everywhere.

On stage, Gold Chains' short and stocky stature (I'd be surprised if he clears 5'6") is not indicative of a diminutive stage presence, quite the contrary. Lafata, with his thick-framed nerd glasses, big-ass dimples and slight lisp, paces the stage, passionately spouting husky-voiced rants while his female backup singers dance goofily (think the robot dance with a disaffected air and straight-faced pogoing) behind him.

Gold Chains has worked hard for your booty. Get out on the dancefloor and let him have it.