Right from the outset, Czarface swaggers in with the Wu-Tang style; sporting samples from long forgotten sci-fi and superhero TV shows, loaded East Coast rhymes, even the scream of monkeys. Not surprising then that Czarface is a collaborative album between American rapper and legendary Wu-Tang Clan member Inspectah Deck, and underground hip-hop duo 7L & Esoteric. The cover, blasting loud and eccentric superhero punches, only half conveys the power and pride in the album: tracks such as “World War 4” and “Savagely Attack” (feat. Ghostface Killah) show the freshness that Czarface brings to the weakly simmering modern hip hop scene.
Like the plot of a comic, Czarface is a journey, with each track taking you to new places and sounds. “Czar Refaeli” shows the twisted humour of Inspectah Deck and featuring Californian rapper Oh No, rolling in with an uneasy circus theme before setting down some heavy bass lines and dark satirical rhymes. “Rock Beast” flares upbeat punches on top of a Las Vegas wedding keyboard-esque sound, and rhymes explode out from Inspectah Deck with trademark precision and originality.
‘Czarface’ is a nostalgic callback to the styles of 80’s and early 90’s. It re-highlights hip hop and rap as an art; that it is more about what you have to say, not about the sounds you use. Not that ‘Czarface’ is in any shortage of head-nodding beats or crazy samples, but Ispectah Deck and 7L & Esoteric have used the soul of East Coast 90’s hip-hop as a ground layer, mixing modern electronic styles to make a an album like the smiling crocodile, welcoming little fish in with gently smiling jaws.