Recommend if you like: Dr. Octagon, Deltron 3030, anything produced by The Alchemist

Expectation: CZARFACE is a hip hop trio composed of original Wu-Tang Clan member Inspectah Deck and both members of the underground hip hop duo 7L & Esoteric. This marks the group’s 3rd collaboration, with Deck and Esoteric sharing MC duties over 7L’s traditionalist, boom-bap production.

NOTABLE TRACKS

  • Two In the Chest – The beat alternates between El-P style low, growling synths and a higher synth that almost seems to imitate a guitar riff, giving the track a more familiar boom bap-ish feel. Its pretty cool.
  • Dust – 7L continues to play with the alternating highs-and-lows, this time interchanging a distorted, blaring electric bass for a high, tinny flute. The drums are loud and dirty, giving the MC’s performances an added energy, as if they’re having to yell just to make themselves heard.
  • Machine, Man, and Monster – A slower track than we’ve heard yet, and 7L steals the show. Subtle touches, such as the bass often being just barely behind the beat, build a palpable tension within the instrumental.
  • Dare Iz a Darkseid – Not really sure what’s going on with this track, as it almost seems deliberately bad. The synths are compressed and distorted until they’re thoroughly unpleasant to hear, and at first no one seems to know how to rap on the track, or care enough to try. Eventually the song gets back on track, but even that is short lived, as it quickly swaps to what seems to be a recording of a man describing an action figure.
  • Sabers – Possibly the best track on the album, high energy the whole way through.

Overall: Thank God for the boom bap revival. It seems like every artist who comes out making old-school, New York style, boom bap beats is insanely consistent, and this project keeps that trend alive. Although calling a duo that has been active since the 90’s + a bonafide hip hop legend part of a “revival” is something of a stretch, it feels appropriate; the music carries the distinct sound of NY hip hop, but with a plethora of modern twists. There isn’t much here in the way of broad appeal: the project adheres to a very niche sound throughout every track, and if that’s not your kind of thing then you won’t like it. However, if you find straightforward rapping over boom bap beats that have twisted and mutated their jazz origins until they’re nearly unrecognizable to be appealing, then this is a must listen.

Score: 6/10

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