It’s the return of the hip-hop collabs!!!
For those not in the know: CZARFACE is are a hip hop trio consisting of underground Boston hip-hop duo 7L & Esoteric and Wu-Tang Clan MC Inspectah Deck. Now these guys have been doing their thing since 2013 with 5 albums under their belt, including last year’s collaboration with legendary MC MF Doom for Czarface Meets Doom. While I didn’t get around to reviewing that album, I did listen to it, and it was definitely something for hip-hop heads that want some good ‘ol bars. Since I mentioned DOOM, they’ve now collaborated with one of his associates in the form of legendary MC Ghostface Killah, who needs no introduction at this point in his career.
This is also a sad reminder that DOOMSTARKS is never going to come, but that’s for another day and time. *cue violin playing in the background*
So, with 12 tracks edging to 40 minutes and minimal to no features aside from vocals courtesy of Kendra Morris, how does the album come together?
Well, like the last album CZARFACE made, it’s definitely made for an audience that craves boom-bap hip-hop with bars with a comic book style to it. Now that’s not knocking the album down as it has some nice production courtesy of the Czar-Keys (7L and Spada4). They’ve been producing for CZARFACE since the beginning and you get the staples of their sound with some sampling and even some weird comic-book like sounds thrown in there.
Ghostface is known for his storytelling when rapping, and I often love it whenever he does, like on the track “Morning Ritual” with that haunting piano and horror sound. Esoteric has a verse here where he thinks some woman is stealing his money, but in reality, she just went to get them some breakfast.
Since I mentioned horror sounds, that also comes through on the track “The King Heard Voices” as the backup vocals from Kendra Morris are proof of that, and this pops up in Ghostface’s verse with the line “This sound like I’m in a horror fuckin’ church or somethin’ right now“, and he’s right on the money. Another example of on-point bars is on the single “Iron Claw” where Ghostface disses those who came into the street life like they’re hard and got nothing to fear but in the end have no genuine cred like him.
The line in question goes like this:
See, these young boys’ll murder you (Murder you)
And none of these niggas never heard of you (Heard of you)
We popped a few things on a curb or two (Curb or two)
To have you stretched out, layin’ vertical (Vertical)
According to sources like Genius, it’s a jab against 6ix9ine’s song “BILLY,” and given the situation that he’s been through recently, well…. Ghost was right about him not being genuine. Inspectah Deck had a good verse on the song “Masked Superstars” where he goes off on:
Nowadays they took hatin’ and made it cool
I play it cool like Dame Dash in Paid in Full
That talk major bull, but couldn’t swallow a plateful
Of food for thought, it’s so flavorful
Ark and Czar kick it in the city
Kiki never loved me, she busy doin’ the shiggy
Yes, he referenced that damn Drake song with that stupid challenge, but he did it in a good way, though. You’ll notice many references to things like Star Wars, 007 and Get Smart in “Super Soldier Serum”:
I’m part sleek and fly, part geeky guy that likes CGI
Part smack you, I don’t need a reason why
He could lie on your sweetie pie, thinkin’ Caesar five
Fuck with Czarface, now that’s how people die
Hey mark, my fade sharp, my stage smart
Braveheart, back from the dead like Ray Park
I mean, Darth Maul for y’all, you wanna step, too?
Off the grid, Maxwell Smart is how I live
Daniel Craig, Casino Royale, I’m so slick
Armani suits, the linen is flame resistant
Which means I can’t be scorched or burnt up in it
On “Mongolian Beef”, the topic at hand is keeping an eye on your enemies, and one of the more notable lines is when Esoteric shows he’s not too fond of Pharrell (or at least that’s what I got from the lyrics). Oh, and the last track is literally called “(Post Credits Scene)” like it’s like a hip-hop version of a Marvel stinger. All it’s missing is someone saying “CZARFACE will be back…,” and they probably will.
All-in-all, this album is everything you expect from CZARFACE, from the weird boom-bap sound to the sampling and effects. I would say this is probably on par with their collaboration with DOOM, as Ghostface does his usual thing on this one, but he definitely sounds more gruff than usual. It’s not exactly all mind-blowing in scope like an Avengers type of album, but this is more of an Antman (and no, that’s not an insult!) type of album. It’s sticking to its guns and they still do their best in that regard.
FINAL VERDICT: Stream It. If CZARFACE is up your alley, then you’ll going to love it.
CZARFACE MEETS GHOSTFACE is available on CD, digital download, vinyl, cassette and on streaming services courtesy of SILVER AGE RECORDS