This album has some of the coolest CD packaging in my entire collection (those who bought it early know what I’m talking about). I was also hyped when I first read about the collaboration of artists on this album, especially the emcees. Both Inspectah Deck and Esoteric have had similar careers; they’re both part of hip-hop supergroups (The Wu-Tang Clan and Army of the Pharaohs respectively), and they both play similar roles within those groups. Inspectah Deck and Esoteric are both known for usually having the nicest rhymes and/or flow on any given group track they have a verse on, yet their solo careers haven’t necessarily been as great as some of their fellow group members; Deck never got the same recognition as Method Man or Ghostface Killah, and most people who I know are familiar with Esoteric know about him through his work with Jedi Mind Tricks. I’ve always dreamed of hearing a Wu-Tang – AOTP collaboration, and this album is the closest thing to that so far.
Czarface is supposed to represent a hip-hop superhero that fights the evil sh***y-rhyming wack rap with hard beats, sharp rhymes, and witty wordplay. Right from the beginning we get hit with a hard M.O.P. sample for a hook and Deck and Esoteric killing their verses as expected. The album continues this way, with some of the hardest-hitting beats I’ve heard 7L produce, Esoteric consistently killing verses like he’s been doing in recent years, and Inspectah Deck sounding hungrier than he’s been in a while. I actually think this might be Deck’s best album that isn’t a Wu-Tang group album. I also like how the album doesn’t sound so formulaic like the Kool G Rap & Necro album ranked at #10; there are some good guest features to mix things up, and Deck and Eso even go on some back-and-forth rap towards the end of the album.
This album is pretty much exactly what I wanted to hear when I first read about it. There’s not much to complain about, but there are a few things I’d like to see happen on the sequel they’re apparently working on. The amount of guest features was perfect, not too many or too few, but I would’ve liked to see some more Wu-Tang and AOTP members rapping on this album. I feel like Roc Marciano’s verse could’ve been replaced by Apathy, Celph Titled or Method Man, and Oh No could’ve been replaced by GZA or Masta Killa. It was also good to see DJ Premier produce a song on this album; while 7L is a good producer, I wouldn’t mind seeing more guest producers on the next album like RZA or more Premo. This is all wishful thinking though, the album is still great without any of these changes.
My Joint (I wish Deck & Ghost performed this at the Wu-Tang concert last month):
My Grade (based on how well I connected with it, no disrespect if your experience was different): A
Come back to my blog tomorrow to see which album or mixtape came in at #3 on the countdown!