Brooklyn-based DJ and producer Nick Barat (more commonly known as Nick Catchdubs) rose to prominence in the mid-2000s, cultivating his eclectic DJ style and designing artwork for mix CDs by fellow genre-blending DJs Diplo and Low Budget.
Like those DJs, Catchdubs' mixes heavily featured regional styles of hip-hop and dance music, such as hyphy and Baltimore club, giving them national and worldwide exposure. Catchdubs was an associate editor at The FADER Magazine, and hosted the tastemaking publication's "The Let Out" radio show on East Village Radio. In 2007, Catchdubs co-founded Fool's Gold Records with Canadian turntablist A-Trak, releasing party-centric hip-hop and electronic music by up-and-coming artists. Within a few years, the label had several major hits under its belt, including Kid Sister's "Pro Nails," Kid Cudi's "Day 'N' Nite," and Duck Sauce's "Barbra Streisand." Catchdubs produced mixtapes for MCs such as Izza Kizza, 9th Wonder, and Wale (including his acclaimed Mixtape About Nothing, released in 2008). Fool's Gold released Detroit MC Danny Brown's breakthrough album XXX in 2011, and Catchdubs contributed production to its 2013 follow-up, Old. Catchdubs finally began releasing original material in 2013, starting with the single "Bizness," featuring Iamsu and Jay Ant. "Wuts That" followed in 2014, and debut album Smoke Machine, featuring guest appearances by Troy Ave, Heems, Roach Gigz, and MNDR, was released in 2015. ~ Paul Simpson