“I’m just the MC of this punk-rock show,” says Gold Chains during “Code Red,” the jittery, synth-damaged opening track of Young Miss America, and it immediately becomes obvious that the San Francisco-based rapper-producer craves an audience of smart alecks and subculture geeks. His next thought? “Sell records on streets/Generate cash flow/Invest it enough so we can grow.” The message: It’s not enough to be an iconoclast these days—punkin’ ain’t easy, and sometimes it’s just plain boring—so it’s best to take the attitude of a pimp. Young Miss America is chockablock with such nuggets of meta-self-awareness, but Gold Chains (aka Topher LaFata) manages to make the disc more appealing than, say, your average art-school multimedia project. His bedroom-techno beats might be pure cheese, and his lisp-aided rhymes might be devoid of orthodox hiphop timing, but LaFata does a lot with hyperbole. The Gold Chains persona is presented as a worldwide phenomenon, a celeb who can chase Prada-clad honeys from Casablanca to Tokyo while remaining aware of socioeconomic realities. “When the future of your country is not yours/To what are you aspiring/ And you thought you had such a nice university education/Well, welcome to the first rule of Western civilization/Make money, make money, make,” he drones on “Much Currency Flows.” That’s the punk-rock truth, but it’s also the kind of bummer that needs an antidote if the party is gonna roll on. Fortunately, Gold Chains’ alleged sex life, as outlined in a stream of over-the-top one-liners, is a lot funnier: “Japanese girls masturbate for my dial tone” (from “The Game”), “I wanna do cocaine off your ass” (from “What Are We Looking For”), “You’ll have a five-octave range when I slip into action” (from “Break or Be Broken”), and so on. Such moments of calculated ridiculousness are what keep Young Miss America from collapsing under the weight of its own conceit, not least because they sound paradoxically like the true LaFata. Bombing the system is simply the byproduct of the punk-rock pimp’s chief concern: smackin’ that ass. —Joe Warminsky