Showing posts with label 7L. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 7L. Show all posts

Thursday, April 5, 2018

video review: 'czarface meets metal face' by czarface & mf doom (ft. luke james)

Man, we've been talking about this for a while, and I'm so thrilled Luke and I could team up to dig into this, it was a lot of fun - enjoy!

Next up, more hip-hop - stay tuned!

Monday, November 14, 2016

video review: 'a fistful of peril' by czarface

So I really should have gotten to this sooner... and by sooner, I mean earlier this weekend, which was a long one for me but frankly I needed some time to decompress and take a break... hell, given the week we all just had, I needed it.

Coming up next, though... man, this Saor album looks interesting, but Billboard BREAKDOWN is too... stay tuned!

album review: 'a fistful of peril' by czarface

Sometimes I've got a lengthy diatribe to open up these reviews... and sometimes I really don't. Sometimes the formula is so strong, so well-refined, so deceptively simple then complicated then simple again at its core that you don't really need to say a lot. Sometimes, if you're a fan of the genre and sound, you just get it.

And for me, Czarface, the collaboration project between underground duo 7L and Esoteric and Wu-Tang member Inspectah Deck, is that project for me. On the surface, it's over-the-top, old-school hip-hop that goes hard as hell in terms of bars, but peel beneath the surface and you find the meticulous construction in interweaving, explosive samples and interconnected rhyme schemes. And yet at the end of the day, it's not a record that's aiming to do anything beyond bringing back some old-fashioned, hard-hitting lyricism back into the game, and for the most part that's all you really need. As such, even though there's a lot of fantastic punchlines crammed into each Czarface record, especially the excellent sophomore project Every Hero Needs A Villain that was inches away from my top 25 albums of 2015, it's also a record that I don't feel the need to dig into in detail, half because the punchlines speak for themselves and half because so many of the grooves and flows give the album an easy-going charm that's hard to replicate.

But while of course I was going to cover A Fistful Of Peril - cute reference there - I was a little perplexed by what I had heard about it. For one, it swapped out guest stars like GZA, R.A. The Rugged Man and Method Man- the latter who featured on 'Nightcrawler', a song that very nearly made my list of my top 50 songs of 2015 - for artists who might not have the same name recognition. Sure, we got Psycho Les of the Beatnuts, but then when you throw in Conway and Blacastan and Meyhem Lauren - the last of whon I wasn't all that impressed with on the last record - I was a bit concerned, especially considering this project was a lot shorter than the last, down from nearly an hour to around thirty-five minutes. So okay, maybe trimming off the fat would help, how is A Fistful Of Peril?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

video review: 'every hero needs a villain' by czarface

Almost forgot to put this out. Seriously, check out this album, it's awesome.

Next up, almost momentarily, new Lil Wayne - stay tuned!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

album review: 'every hero needs a villain' by czarface

So I occasionally get asked by non-fans of hip-hop how I can excuse the lyrical content, which can focus on crass materialism, unbridled hedonism, rampant drug abuse, and violence. And normally after I roll my eyes - seriously, what genre beyond the most sterile of bubblegum pop or any art hasn't touched on all of these subjects in some form - I often inform them that there's different varieties of hip-hop and how seriously you can take them. Now some of the more political material like on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly I take very seriously - and even with that and a far less violent message compared to the incendiary material from Run The Jewels, you're still going to get cretins on FOX News misinterpreting it and trying to ram down a message of promoting violence. Seriously, the only time FOX remotely gets close to discussing hip-hop or the black community with any sort of credence is - ironically - when Killer Mike is a guest star.

But there's always been a competitive element to hip-hop and that tends to mean confrontational language is used, often with violent imagery, and when you start treading towards horrorcore or gangsta rap, things get a little trickier, especially when you acknowledge while it might be entertainment for the consumer or the critic, it might be very real for the artist creating it who grew up in that environment, and consideration and empathy should be shown. Of course, there's another way: make the violence so hyperbolic and exaggerated that it almost becomes like a cartoon. It doesn't mean the message is any less potent, but it's conveyed in a different way - analogous to the way Tarantino smuggles his 'message' movies through the guise of b-movie exploitation. Run The Jewels can walk this line, and so can Action Bronson.

And this is where we run into Czarface, half the underground hip-hop duo 7L and Esoteric, and half the Wu-Tang Clan member Inspectah Deck. I'll admit not always being the biggest Wu-Tang fan - part of it is that I just haven't had the time to fully unpack and decode all of their albums across their storied history with several solo members having full discographies of their own. But Czarface interested me, if only because the lyrics overloaded with references to comic books, pulp sci-fi, and pro wrestling merged with sample-heavy old-school production reminded me a lot of MF Doom in a good way. I guess if I were nitpicking, I wasn't the biggest fan of their debut, which was solid but occasionally lacked killer standouts and did drag a little by the end, but with a stronger feature list than ever, I figured I'd give the sophomore record a listen - was it worth it?