The RX is Uproxx Music’s stamp of approval for the best albums, songs, and music stories throughout the year. Inclusion in this category is the highest distinction we can bestow and signals the most important music being released throughout the year. The RX is the music you need, right now.
On the intro track from his debut album, Dior Deposits, Bay Area rapper Guapdad 4000 neatly explains his full-circle transformation from scammer to full-time rapper in reverse, beginning with boasts about Rolls Royce car sex and ending by asserting that he “couldn’t have accounts, so I start stealing.”
His path to rap stardom has been unexpected and off-kilter, but throughout Dior Deposits, the self-declared “Bitcoin Batman” displays exactly the sort of scene-stealing charisma and laugh-out-loud wit that have taken him from proverbial rags to literal riches. The Bay Area’s new people’s champ has arrived, dipped in designer and grinning like a fox in a hen house.
Born 27 years ago in Oakland, California, Akeem Hayes started writing rhymes in the sixth grade, joking to Revolt that his first efforts were “trash” but taking the time and putting in the effort to improve to the point of releasing his first mixtape, Scamboy Color, in 2017.
His first taste of mainstream success came with his appearance on Compton cohort Buddy’s RCA debut, Harlan & Alondra, on the album intro “Shameless,” where Guapdad first flashed that winning ability to finesse a song’s top billing away from its principal artist without breaking a sweat.
From there, he similarly smiled and slid his way into an invitation to Dreamville’s vaunted Revenge Of The Dreamers III recording sessions in Atlanta, where he distinguished himself by becoming one of the few non-Dreamville artists to secure multiple placements on the final product. On the songs “Don’t Hit Me Right Now,” “Wells Fargo,” and “Costa Rica,” he does something perhaps no one would have expected; instead of barring up and trying to out-rap his lyrical playmates on each track, he morphs, chameleon-like, into whatever each track needs him to be.
That versatility landed him those three placements, as well as a fourth credit as a member of Zoink Gang with Buddy, JID, and Smino on “Oh Wow…Swerve,” which also features Atlanta’s Key! and Houston’s Maxo Kream, who both appear on Dior Deposits on the seventh track, “Izayah.”
Guapdad’s versatility pops up all throughout the Oakland rapper’s debut studio album, which effortlessly glides from cheerful, snake-rattle post-Hyphy on tracks like the Tory Lanez-featuring “Stuck With It” and “Iced Out Gold Chain” to the silky smooth neo-G-funk on “Gucci Pajamas” with Chance The Rapper and Charlie Wilson.
That he can sound as comfortable alongside such diverse complements as Bay legends E-40 (on “Going Through It” with fellow Bay neophyte Nef The Pharoah), G-Eazy (on the slinky “First Things First”), and Mozzy (on the menacing “Scammin'”) as he does with contemporaries like 6lack (on the smart, subtly-boastful “Prada Process”), Denzel Curry (on the aforementioned “Izayah”), and his actual best friend Buddy (on “Rolex Rockstar”) is a testament to Guapdad’s adaptability as a rapper. Just like on Revenge, he occupies whichever pocket is needed to make each song stand out, but here, he also wants to let folks know he can rap with the best of them.
Whether it’s a derogatory diss (“Your Soundcloud’s trash and your fit’s worse” he snarls on “Doing Too Much”), a sneaky anime reference (“When I unlock all my chakra, bruh, my enemies gon’ pray” he promises on “Izayah”), or a slick clinic in wordplay (check out the clever triple entendre flip on the word “buffalo” on “Prada Process”), Guapdad shows off his mastery of the craft in inventive, rewind-button-worthy dashes of swaggering humor throughout the album.
And, lest he be accused of one-dimensionality, he peppers the bragging with vivid depictions of his early struggles on songs like “Can’t Stop Finessing,” where he details “watching Cowboy Bepop ’til the shooting stop” and self-sabotage in relationships (although, if girls really are stealing his Gucci pajamas, he could hardly be blamed, right?).
Guapdad admits that his hometown is just catching up to his buzz, but the outside-in approach (“I’m actually poppin’ everywhere else but my hometown,” he snickers in his Revolt interview) has worked to help him craft a well-rounded sound that can appeal to just about any rap fan, no matter their locality, while remaining rooted in the good-natured, fun-forward principles of his native soil.
His jester-like geniality makes him a joy to listen to and his commitment to the craft of rapping makes listeners take him seriously. The hints of a broader story on Dior Deposits promise more artistic depths for him to plumb on future projects, while his creativity ensures that those tales will be told in engaging, innovative ways. Guapdad has a rare quality for such a self-declared scammer: Sincerity, with more than enough substance to back up his boasts.
Dior Deposits is out now via TWNSHP, LLC. Get it here.