Album: Dior Deposits
Artist: Guapdad 4000
Genre: Hip Hop
Record Label(s): TWNSHP, LLC
Recommended Tracks: Track 4-Gucci Pajamas and Track 7-Izayah
Akeem Hayes aka Guapdad 4000 is an Oakland rapper who rides bouncy beats with somehow bouncier flows, creating undeniably fun hip hip with very no nonsense production. Guapdad associates with many other acts trying to craft hip hop in a similar vein: nocturnal, energetic, unconventional yet simple, grimy, commercial yet authentic rap. For example he has collaborated extensively with Smino, EarthGang, and Buddy, among others. Guapdad was also invited to participate in the Dreamville sessions for their collaboration album Revenge of the Dreamers III, which he described as a “life-changing” experience¹. I remember hearing one of Guapdad’s first commercial singles “Money” and being absolutely enraptured by the super fun and explosive energy of the track. The beat, which samples Jay Z’s “Money Ain’t a Thang” treads towards sounding goofy, but the risk pays off as in combination with the unabashedly nerdy and corny wordplay it creates this bombastic comic book-like energy to the track, which otherwise might not stand out at all. Going into the album in question, Dior Deposits, I hoped to find Guap exhibiting some of the same pizzaz and zany energy that made his first singles so infectious. Some of the album definitely realizes that potential, although it does in a sleeker, more polished and mainstream friendly packaging, which is both a strength and an impediment. Overall, I’d give this album a 3/5, as it delivers some of the most fun pop-rap tracks of the year, and even has some interesting albeit trite commentary on materialism as it relates to rap, acclaim, poverty, etc. However, some of the streamlining of Guap’s sound makes him less of a standout from his contemporaries.
My first standout track, “Gucci Pajamas”, is definitely my favorite on the album. The track features vocals from veteran voice Charlie Wilson as well as Chance the Rapper, and was produced by The Stereotypes, who are likely most well known for being a secondary production input on Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic, specifically leading production efforts on “Finesse”. The track isn’t a straight throwback, but it definitely has a gloss and warmth reminiscent of some of the 80’s and 90s throwback tracks for which they’re known. Charlie Wilson delivers great vocals that add to the energy of the track without being an overbearing or distracting presence, and Chance’s verse is largely uninspired but he stays on the topic of the track, and his voice is distinct enough that he does command a lot of attention on the track. The end of his verse also contains some funny bars, such as “Now all my pajama-wear is whiter than Santa beard,
whiter than Bon Iver, whiter than Sonny, Cher”, or “Kleptomaniac bitch, Ocean’s Eleven shit”, which definitely got a little chuckle out of me. Now you’ll notice I haven’t really talked about Guap’s performance on the track, and that’s because he gets largely outshined by the production and his guest vocalists. The chorus he delivers is not bad at all. I definitely wouldn’t say it capitalizes on the potential for a sticky hook that the bouncy beat promises, but it’s passable. However Guap’s verse is entirely forgettable, and he let’s Charlie Wilson and Chance captain the bridge, which sort of makes him seem like a feature in his own song. Overall this tracklist is very feature heavy, and it does sometimes mean that Guap himself is outshone, and that until the second half of the album it doesn’t even really seem like his album as much as an assortment of posse cuts.
My second standout track is Izayah, which features production from James Delgado who has worked with Guap multiple times in the past, as well as producer phenom Kenny Beats. The featured artists are KEY!, Maxo Cream, and Denzel Curry. This track is one of the harder cuts on the album, and the incisive hi-hats and rolling bass employed on both halves of the track frame all 3 emcees with verses (KEY! has an a capella intro) very well. Guap lays down one of his best verses on the album, flashing some of the clever wordplay that he showcased on his first few singles. The track transitions to Kenny Beats main portion in the second half, and Maxo Cream and Denzel Curry deliver some really high quality verses as well. This track isn’t excessively complicated, but it’s just a really well done rap heavy track with a crisp and bouncy bass. On Dior Deposits, Guapdad 4000 delivers a promising debut album. While I miss some of the more off-the-wall choices he made when he had more freedom, I can’t deny that the production has gotten leagues better. Also, while Guap sometimes gets lost in the sauce when it comes to features, the availability of A-list voices and emcees definitely enriches the overall appeal of his music. If you like Guapdad 4000, I would check out KEY!, EarthGang, or Smino. I definitely wouldn’t miss out on this album if you like energetic hip hop, or are looking for some new tracks for your workout playlist.