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Czarface Meets Metal Face
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  • Since 2013, Boston rap duo 7L & Esoteric and Wu-Tang Clan member Inspectah Deck have been making explosive, action-packed albums inspired by comics and Saturday morning cartoons, loaded with sinister sound bites and funky, cinematic production. The project's namesake character, Czarface, is a superhero on a mission to save hip-hop, illustrated in Marvel-style graphics by New York-based artist Lamour Supreme. This concept isn't far off from the territory that MF Doom has been covering since the late '90s, so perhaps it was inevitable that the two parties would clash at some point. Three years after Doom's brief cameo on Czarface's Every Hero Needs a Villain, the iron-masked villain confronts the savior for a full-length go-round. Instead of being an epic battle, however, the album ends up feeling more like a casual, relaxed get-together between several life-long fanatics of both hip-hop and comics. This is most readily apparent on tracks like "Captain Crunch" (later reprised as "Captain Brunch"), which is loaded with pop culture namedrops ranging from Dave Brubeck to Boba Fett, and "Don't Spoil It," a brief mash note to hip-hop's golden age. Perhaps the most sinister track is "Phantom," which begins with a glitchy, Dabrye-esque beat and a calmly paced guest verse from Open Mike Eagle, before switching to a darker, more noir-ish second half. Skits like "Close Talker" draw out a conflict between Czarface and Doom, but the former seems to be a bit more aggressive -- Doom doesn't really seem to fight back, he's just doing his thing, talking sharp and candid like always. In any case, the album is still a whole lot of fun, and shouldn't disappoint fans of either act. ~ Paul Simpson
Professional Reviews
NME (Magazine) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[U]napologetically old-school hip-hop built around clattering boom-bap beats, stuffed with colourful pop-culture references, and woven through with a self-contained narrative inspired by superhero comics."
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