CZARFACE is a collaboration hip-hop album between Wu-Tang Clan's Inspectah Deck and 7L & Esoteric. I had mixed feelings when this album was announced since Inspectah Deck has always had trouble making full albums and I'm not a huge fan of 7L & Esoteric. How did the album turn out? Click to find out.
1) Czarface Intro - Just an intro setting up the album. Why do hip-hop albums always have to start with Intros? Next.
2) Air'em Out - This track really should have started off the album instead of the intro. I've never been a fan of skits. Anyways, the beat on "Air'em Out" is provided by 7L and Spada4 and is banging. It features a great Lil Fame sample on the chorus and is full of a lot of energy. Inspectah Deck actually sounds reinvigorated here after his last album, The Manifesto, which was quite terrible in my opinion. Esoteric sounds better than he has in years. I was quite worried that he would drag these songs down, but so far so good.
3) Cement 3's (featuring Roc Maciano) - Inspectah Deck sounds right at home over a very Wu-Tang Clan inspired 7L and Spada4 beat, which features an ODB sample chopped up for the chorus. Esoteric rips the beat as well. While I am normally a fan of Roc Marciano, he really did nothing for me on this song. He seems a bit drowned out by the instrumental. Oh well. The song is still fire.
4) Czar Refaeli (featuring Oh No) - 7L and Spada4 once again provide a head nodding, old school hip-hop inspired instrumental for Deck and Esoteric to spit over. This is probably by favorite beat on the album so far. Oh No (from Gangrene) provides the first verse and fits in perfectly. Both Deck and Esoteric bring the same energy from the prior two songs. Great track.
5) Rock Beast - For some reason this beat reminds me of a MF DOOM beat, but its another 7L and Spada4 collabo. I keep expecting Ghostface Killah to start rapping over it or something. Anyways, I think Esoteric came a tad better than Deck on this one, but Deck is still ripping the beat up. I'm really liking CZARFACE so far.
6) Savagely Attack (featuring Ghostface Killah) - Speaking of Ghost, he pops up on this 7L solo beat. Ghostface is probably one of my favorite MCs of all time and he absolutely bodies this track. The energy on this album is amazing, both from the beats and the MCs. Hopefully they can keep this up throughout the entire album.
7) Marvel Team-Up - Deck and Esoteric swap bars over this laid-back 7L instrumental. Not bad, but not a standout for me. Oh well, the energy had to take a breather sometime.
8) Its Raw (featuring Action Bronson) - Well the energy is back. 7L and Spada4 cook up an absolute banger for Deck and Esoteric to spit over. Action Bronson comes correct, as always. He is still one of my favorite newer MCs despite all the controversy about him sounding like Ghostface Killah. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album.
9) Let It Off - I think this is the first time since 1998 that we get to hear Deck over a DJ Premier beat, and it doesn't disappoint. While not as good as "Above the Clouds", its still quite a good track. The energy is toned down a bit after the previous song, but its hardly noticeable. Both MCs rip the beat as if they have been dying to get some Primo production for years.
10) World War 4 - Once again, the energy is back, this time courtesy of 7L. Inspectah Deck destroys this beat. Ok, so does Esoteric.
11) Dead Zone - 7L provides a darker beat on this one, but both MCs bring some heat over it. I would probably consider this a filler track, but its not that bad. Definitely not a standout though.
12) Poisonous Thoughts (featuring Mr MFN Exquire) - Another 7L solo beat with a nice guitar loop and a fully sampled chorus. Neither Inspectah Deck nor Esoteric have disappointed on the lyrics front thus far, and they continue that trend here. The beat switches up when Mr MFN Exquire spits his verse. I prefer the original that Deck and Esoteric ripped.
13) Shoguns (featuring Cappadonna and Vinnie Paz) - This 7L beat reminds me of something that may have ended up on Wu-Tang's 8 Diagrams, and that is not a bad thing since I really liked that album. Deck and Esoteric trade off verses and then Cappadonna and Vinnie Paz come in after. Cappa has been sounding much better lately than he had a few years back. Vinnie Paz is his usual self. Not bad.
14) Hazmat Rap - This synth driven beat, produced by 7L and Spada4, brings back some old school hip-hop flavor and is a nice way to close out the album. Deck and Esoteric finish out the album on a high note.
Well that was MUCH better than I expected after initially hearing about the album. The beats are banging and both MCs are on top of their A-Games throughout the entire album. I'd say there is one, maybe two, filler tracks on the entire LP. I'm going to rate the album a
4 / 5
simply for the few filler tracks and the beat change-up on Poisonous Thoughts. Make sure you cop the album and support real hip-hop!