Guapdad 4000 is back to steal your credit card and your heart. His sophomore album, Dior Deposits, starts weak, but pulls through with an excellent second half.

Release date: October 25, 2019 | TWNSHP | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Official Site

Scammer extraordinaire Guapdad 4000 has returned, and this time – he brought friends. He is the Ferragamo Falcon, attaching high-end brands to words like Riff Raff. He offers a look into an opulent dream world that always seems just out of reach to the working class, like a lyrical Instagram feed. But unlike Riff Raff‘s cartoonish vision of Versace car alarms and Fendi bulletproof vests, Guapdad is sharing his own life as a reality show. His successes aren’t presented as hypothetical luxury items, unattainable by anyone other than the super-villains in the one percent, but as actual successes: victories over tangible obstacles. Scamming credit cards to buy designer clothes and resell them for cash is not a practice of the generationally wealthy. Dior Deposits perfectly encapsulates the sensation of hard work finally paying off, both a celebration of success and a rumination on the difficulty of succeeding. The cover of the album is a headshot of Guapdad 4000, smiling, superimposed on an image of a group of people standing on the steps to his childhood home. Earlier this year, that home was sold by the bank that owned it; another symptom of gentrification in Oakland.

Dior Deposits opens with a handful of feature-filled songs that don’t bring much to the table besides name recognition. The first track, “Doing Too Much”, is relatively tame despite its name. “Stuck With It” is excessively bright but forgettable, and featured artist Tory Lanez is hard to take seriously after seeing him get dunked on with his shirt off. “First Things First” is as dull as the G-Eazy feature will lead you to believe it is, and “Gucci Pajamas” sounds like a B-Side from Chance The Rapper’s The Big Day: sort of catchy, but lacking any quotable lyrics. “Going Through It” follows, and segues well from “Gucci Pajamas”. It has a tone that is dark, but friendly, and Nef The Pharoah sells the hook, making it the main appeal of this short track. It’s a worthwhile transition from the more upbeat mundanity of Dior Deposits’ first half to its darker, more reflective second act. This is where it gets good.

“Scammin” is a standout, with a grim, piano driven instrumental and lyrics dedicated to the communal joy of making money with your friends. This one would sound right at home on the soundtrack to a 2019 remake of Paid In Full. Mozzy uses just the right amount of repetition throughout his verse, and his voice contrasts well with Guapdad’s; both of them come out sounding great. The Kenny Beats produced “Izayah” follows, with a supergroup’s worth of MCs featured. The pitched up vocal of the hook is an earworm, and the song has plenty of variation to keep you invested. None of the verses will blow you away on their own, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts here. Next, “Jigga Juice” brings us together in prayer, and lowers the energy for the last leg of Dior Deposits.

“Iced Out Gold Chain” and “Can’t Stop Finessing” are thematically similar discussions of the temptations of capitalism; on the former, Guapdad describes his lavish lifestyle before lamenting: ‘I need to not measure my success in precious jewels.’ “Can’t Stop Finessing” begins as an optimistic sounding track, with a light guitar line and lyrics declaring that ‘these mortals make it too easy’ to not commit fraud. As a former employee of a financial institution, I absolutely believe that statement. But this is a two-part track; the beat slows down, as Guapdad takes a more serious tone to discuss his upbringing, and the motivations that drive someone to begin finessing in the first place. He asks you to ‘understand me: this bigger than scamming,’ rapping about his family stealing from him, and watching anime to distract from the violence on the other side of his front door. He sees himself ‘in VVS, with hella extra stones,’ because he’s already experienced the opposite.

“Can’t Stop Finessing” is an emotional look into Guapdad’s mind that stands as a shining highlight of Dior Deposits, and it leads perfectly into the triumphant “Rolex Rockstar”. The combination of these two songs reminds me a lot of the transition between “Life’s A Bitch” and “The World Is Yours” on Illmatic. Occasionally, when I’m feeling down, I’ll turn on “Life’s A Bitch” so I can sing along and feel sad. The problem with knowing every lyric to Illmatic is that I will continue to sing along through the next song. “The World Is Yours” comes on, and I immediately feel better. Dior Deposits offers the same appeal here. “Can’t Stop Finessing” is a reminder that no matter how hard you work, you’ll always have more work to do, because neither of your parents owns their home. “Rolex Rockstar” acknowledges that fact, but defies it. If I could work an 8-hour shift with Buddy screaming ad-libs at me the entire time, I would find it very easy to continue clocking in. His energy is infectious, and he makes this song feel like a victory lap.

If it were up to me, “Prada Process” would be the last song on this album. It feels like the conclusion of the previous three songs. If Dior Deposits were only these four songs, it would be a perfect project. It’s a real funeral jam, with Guapdad asking ‘What don’t I get about saving money? I know I made money/So why the fuck is it I can’t stack up?6LACK brings up the rear, and his downer delivery fits right in alongside the heavily filtered vocal backing of the instrumental. Finally, the album comes to an optimistic end with “Stunt On Ghosts”. It’s not a bad song, but also not an exciting conclusion to the album. There’s no percussion on this last track, which makes it feel like elevator music, and I find that positivity is typically less engaging than hardship. They say it’s easier to smile than it is to frown, and buddy, my face is on hard mode.

When I first started listening to Guapdad 4000, I was working at a bank call center. I would walk to work in the snow and manage accounts for a business that makes millions of dollars a year by taking money from poor people. During that time, one of my greatest joys was listening to his first album, Scamboy Color. It’s a terrific project, with production that knocks without sounding typical, filled with fun lyrics about freezing accounts and swiping credit cards. It felt appropriate to celebrate any victory against capitalism working somewhere so dependent on and responsible for the garbage system that causes or upholds every single problem in the world. Scamboy was a bright light in a dark place, a reminder that there are ways to exploit and defeat capitalism. Most of them are illegal; some of them are not. Both of them are victories if you don’t go to jail. Dior Deposits is a continuation of that narrative, and I am still here for it.

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