I’ve been listening to “Black and Gold” a lot lately. Late nights especially have me winding down by marinating with Laalup’s (Ambrose and Austin Prince) textured folk rendition of Sam Sparro’s electronic dance hit. I hadn’t heard Sparro’s original version of “Black and Gold” before hearing the Prince twins’s soulful take, but I think Laalup’s rendition takes the cake.
Watching the bearded and long-haired Ambrose and Austin duet in a cold shed with a dog barking outside, you’d swear they were playing somewhere in Appalachia. And though this video could have been filmed there, or in Sonoma County where they’ve both spent some time, the identical twins are Oakland boys through and through. They are Oakland Tech grads who got their start during the Bay’s hyphy movement, but before they made music they were a turf dance crew. In fact, you can spot Ambrose hitting a dance solo at the 2:06 mark of the music video for The Pack’s 2009 hit “Vans”.
Needless to say, this folk rendition of “Black & Gold” seems a far cry from the Hyphy era, but hip-hop is still a fundamental component of their sound. While Austin tends to sing and play guitar more, Ambrose is an excellent emcee. That means that he has some dope rap shit in the cut, in addition to some of the more acoustic fusion material he and Austin create. It may be a little confusing that white boys from North Oakland turf dance, sing, rap, play guitar and ukelele, and look like acoustic mountain man disciples of Bon Iver, but hey, it’s Oakland baby.