Czarface – Every Hero Needs a Villain

CZARFACE

Hip-hop duo 7L and Esoteric have once again joined forces with Wu-Tang Clan member Insepectah Deck for their project, CZARFACE. The trio came into their 2013 self-titled debut “CZARFACE,” an album that had heart, but not a lot of focus. Now they have released their follow up titled “Every Hero Needs a Villain.” 

7L serves as the producer/DJ of the project while Deck and Esoteric handle the rhymes. The MC’s flows and energy are as vibrant as the comic book imagery sprinkled throughout this album, right down to the art. 7L’s production is a foundation of guitar samples and boom-bap beats that at times sound more rock influenced than hip-hop, but all will have you bobbing your head.

In addition to the work the three put into the album they’re joined by other hip-hop heavyweights like MF Doom, Large Professor and fellow Wu-Tang members, Method Man and GZA. As opposed to the last Wu-Tang effort, 2014’s “A Better Tomorrow,” Method Man and GZA sound like they want to be in the studio for this project, rather than just phoning it in. They’re smaller details in the bigger picture, but knowing that everyone is putting in effort, makes the listening experience a lot more enjoyable. 

The tracks on this album all have a lot of drive and groove to them, even in the slower songs of the album it still feels like something you could work out to. The album’s longest track, a behemoth clocking in at over eight minutes, “Escape from Czarkham Asylum” never drags, it changes beats and flows as easily as the two rappers on the track, making for an interesting and equally rewarding listening experience. 

Even casually listening to the album some of these beats and hooks can get stuck in your head. “Red Alert” features Deck and Esoteric uttering “Red alert, red alert” in between police sirens and “The Great (Czar Guitar)” has a hard bassline that loops incessantly but never feels old or stale. “Nightcrawler,” featuring guest work from Method Man, sounds like “Shadowboxin’” from GZA’s acclaimed 1995 solo album “Liquid Swords.” The track has record scratches and a sampled female voice saying “Nightcrawler” etched between the snaps of the snare, making it one of the most memorable tracks. 

Overall this album is a must listen for Wu-Tang fans of old and new, as well as those who are looking for something that sounds like 90s hip-hop fused with Run the Jewels. CZARFACE’s “Every Hero Needs a Villain” makes for a truly unique and groovy listening experience.

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