CZARFACE is an East Coast supergroup consisting of Inspectah Deck of the almighty Wu-Tang Clan as well as 7L & Esoteric of the Army of the Pharaohs. They first formed like Voltron in 1999 with “Speaking Real Words” but after getting together again on “12th Chamber off the final 7L & Eso album to date 1212 in 2010, that’s when the trio decided to form a trio together. Their 2013 self-titled debut along with their 2015 sophomore album Every Hero Needs a Villain would both become modern underground classics in my opinion. Last time we heard the supergroup on their own was in 2016 with A Fistful of Peril, as they’ve been putting out collab albums with both MF DOOM & Ghostface Killah throughout the last couple years. However, they’re ending off the 2010s with their 4th full-length album.
The opener “Bizarro” finds Deck & Esoteric challenging their opponents over a druggy instrumental whereas the next song “Call Me” is a 7L & Esoteric cut about people trying to hit em up over an instrumental kin to A New Dope. “The Gift That Keeps On…” sees the trio reforming to use the title as a beautiful metaphor for the trio’s music over a meditative instrumental while the song “Me’s Company” is Esoteric talking about keeping his circle small over a funky beat.
The track “Dear Computer” is Deck & Esoteric talking about going viral over an electro-boom bap beat while the song “Burrito” sees Eso telling the story of being at a Mexican place over a beat with some dope bass-playing throughout. The track “Brother Marquis” then finds CZAR trading bars with each other over a warping beat.
The track “Couch” is Esoteric about being lazy over a suiting instrumental while the song “Double Dragon” finds Deck getting back with the Boston duo to go at their competition over a tense instrumental. “The Problem with Frank” sees Eso comparing himself to the Punisher over an eerie beat while the penultimate track “Dog” finds him paying tribute to his Lab over an atmospheric beat. The album then finishes with “Czartis Gilmore (The Cool Down)”, where Esoteric gets back with Inspectah Deck to talk about wack rappers over an alluring beat.
As a huge fan of CZARFACE, this was ok. The pen game is undeniably killer but it seems like there’s a lack of focus as the album seems half CZARFACE, half 7L & Esoteric. Nonetheless, I’m excited to see what they’re gonna do going into the 2020s.