7L & Esoteric and Inspectah Deck - Czarface Review
Posted by Bill Wannop on 02.19.2013
Esoteric and Inspectah Deck has come together to craft a full album with production from 7L, called Czarface. Does the album live up to the underground hype, or is Czarface another secondary superhero?
In today’s world of hip hop, collab albums are at an all-time high, with artists and producers collaborating on many different products in an effort to garner some album sales and please fans. However, a lot of the time these collab seem forced, and are put together rapidly, as a side project with not a lot of focus, thought or attention from the artists.
Enter 7L & Esoteric and Inspectah Deck. Both artists have crafted a career out of making critically acclaimed albums, and never selling out. The duo first recorded together back in 1999 and ever since then fans have wondered what a full length album of the two great wordsmiths would sound like. The group first got together with the goal of releasing a couple of songs just to please their fans, however, once they started recording, they realized what they had in terms of chemistry as a group and sound. The couple of songs turned into a full length album, and the group was named Czarface.
The album was recently released through Brick Records. While each artist has made a name for themselves in their own right, with Esoteric as a solo artist and member of the Army of the Pharaohs and the Demigodz and Deck mainly with his own group the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, would the two be able to come together for a full length and match the underground hype?
1. Czarface Intro
2. Air ‘Em Out
3. Cement 3′s f. Roc Marciano
4. Czar Refaeli f. Oh No
5. Rock Beast
6. Savagely Attack f. Ghostface Killah
7. Marvel Team-Up
8. It’s Raw f. Action Bronson
9. Let It Off (prod. DJ Premier)
10. Word War 4
11. Dead Zone
12. Poisonous Thoughts f. Mr. MFN Exquire
13. Shoguns f. Cappadonna & Vinnie Paz
14. Hazmat Rap
Right from the moment you first push play you will notice that this album is not a quick money maker. The intro starts off with an intro to the group and encompasses a bunch of samples from old school wrestling and comic books. Something that is repeated throughout the album almost in homage to the old school samples that graced the original Wu-Tang records. The samples are selected perfectly and really fit the theme of the overall album.
The lyrics start flying in “Air Em Out” with a thumping beat courtesy of DJ 7L. 7L who produced all tracks of this record, with the exception of “Let It Off” which was produced by DJ Permier, has never been better, really coming into his own with this record, with some of his best work to date. This is ever present on the first single “Cement 3’s” complete with a chorus that samples the late ODB, 7L really brings listeners back to the sound of the 90’s and old school Wu-Tang. This old school sound fits Inspectah Deck and Esoteric perfectly. While the sound has a large 90’s feel to it, it never feels dated and is more of a homage to that era of rap and a true testament to 7L’s skill as a producer, as he is able to create that sound while adding a certain level of the era of music.
The album really picks up on the track “Rock Beast” which has Esoteric really flexing his lyrical muscle.
“We confess we the best and we speaking from the eagles nest
High atop get your soul repossessed
Nokia these women they be blowing up my nokia
Double axe handle Randy Savage, Oh Yeah!
You don’t want to test the duo
I been blessed with a jewel
I am destined to rule
With heat on Deck like INS with a tool
I’m a super villian illin call me Ra’s al Ghul
Who is Bruce Wayne, hey man cool chain
I train with shaolin monks no Lu Kang
I could rhyme that with the clans first two names, Wu-Tang “
There is so much lyricism, metaphors, similes’ and such present in Esoterics rhymes that the listener will still be hearing new things after multiple listening’s. Additionally none of the lyrics seem forced as Esoteric’s flow is top notch.
Not to be outdone, Ispechtah Deck, flexes his muscle on “Savagely Attack”
“I’m sickly, flow quarantined by the CDC
Head nod pressure on your neck like a DDT
Beat street ramo, spitting on your name
Rhymes travel underground like its written on the train
My position in the game, top dog rock hard, fuck with everybody in your hood, just not yall
Basic live broadcast from the ER
We are talk of the town without the PR
Savagely attack this rap master craftsmen, crack them in twisting on the floor like a top spin
After him you will have to deal with the son of deck
One of the best that hasn’t done it yet.”
One of the best aspects of the album is the fact that the two emcees actually got together and recorded the album in person. This allowed them to feed off each other and really collaborate on creating a great album. The chemistry between the two is amazing, and songs such as “Marvel Teamup” has the two trading lines back and force with ease.
DJ Premier is the only other producer to be involved with the project, with “Let It OFF” and while the track has Deck and Eso putting in some great verses, the beat somewhat lets them down. It is a little too simple for my tastes and really is not up to par with the production of the rest of the album. This by no means saying that it is a bad track, but simply another complement to the work that 7L accomplished on this album.
“World War 4” is a rapid fire track, that has some full verses from Deck and Eso as well as has them trading lines back and forth and again show the chemistry between the two.
The guests on the album were chosen to fit the tracks, not just to add names, as is evident by the fact that every guest matches their track perfectly. Ghostface appears on “Savagely Attack” on a track that could be included on any Wu-Tang album and not miss a beat. Action Bronson shows up on “It’s Raw” to supplement Eso and Deck perfectly with his flows, while Vinnie Paz and Cappadona lay down vocals on the dark and deadly “Shoguns”. Guests were handled with perfection on the record, to complement the records not distract or takeaway from Deck, Eso or 7L’s beats.
The album ends with Hazmat Rap, a track that sounds exactly how you would expect based on the title. With a heavy drum and bass production Deck and Eso end the record on a high note, leaving the listener wanting to hear more.
In a day an age when collab albums seem to be popping up every other week, with artists having no real reason or rhyme for working together and releasing an album with little chemistry, Czarface is a breath of fresh air. Deck and Eso show you how to make a collab album. This is not a side project for them, they both went in with full attention and focus and the result is a great album. The production is top notch with 7L proving he is a very underrated producer, crafting tracks that pay homage to that 90’s sound of hip hop while adding some recent flavor.
The 411: In a day an age when collab albums seem to be popping up every other week, with artists having no real reason or rhyme for working together and releasing an album with little chemistry, Czarface is a breath of fresh air. Deck and Eso show you how to make a collab album. This is not a side project for them, they both went in with full attention and focus and the result is a perfect album. The production is top notch with 7L proving he is a very underrated producer, crafting tracks that pay homage to that 90’s sound of hip hop and making an instant hip hop classic.