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'Super What? CZARFACE & MF DOOM Album Review

CZARFACE & MF DOOM offer us their final collaborative album and as expected, it does not disappoint

When we received the tragic news of MF DOOM's passing at the beginning of the year, I was filled with sadness. He has always been a big part of Hip-Hop, as an artist that holds an unfathomable amount of respect within the genre. Naturally, despite never quite clicking with his music, I felt the loss the Hip-Hop world had just been struck with. Given the situation, I had to try listening to his music again. While I've always appreciated his insane lyrical talents, his style musically wasn't for me for a long time, but on this listen it all finally clicked. MF DOOM's laid-back style on the mic is iconic, with no rapper successfully working it like him. He makes amazing, intensely lyrical projects that have wide respect throughout the Hip-Hop genre. So when 'Super What?' was announced, I could finally get excited about a new MF DOOM project! On top of that, it is a collaboration album with CZARFACE, the rap group consisting of Inspectah Deck from Wu-Tang Clan, Esoteric and 7L, so we know we're due to hear some new inspiring lyrical abilities, based around superheroes and comic books as CZARFACE are known for. Now, let's take a look at the track list.

The King and Eye

The album opens with the moody 'The King and Eye', featuring Darryl 'DMC' McDaniels. The song starts with a short introduction and interlude, both are held between Esoteric and DMC. They each then give a short verse, before an MF DOOM break and then an outro. The track serves as a short, moody opener for what's to come.

Czarwyn's Theory of People Getting Loose

The second track opens with a short introduction from Inspectah Deck and Esoteric, with some vocals from Kendra Morris echoing 'all day' throughout the beat. Her voice built-into the beat really elevates the track, giving it a grand feel. Inspectah Deck, MF DOOM and Esoteric then each in turn fire off a verse, with faint vocals floating around the beat. Each verse is very strong, with the stand out for me being the opening MF DOOM offered in his verse:

Metal mask, get harassed, say it's true, forget the past Bring your liquor, get the flask, tap your cigarette to ash Feel it quicker, get to blast, this is sicker than this trash Guard my ninjas in the cash, you begin to bet the stash

The beat develops slightly during Esoteric's verse which keeps the listener entertained and interested. A short outro then closes the song.

Mando Calrissian

'Mando Calrissian' opens with a long introduction in English, closing it in French; this is something I didn't see coming and so was pleasantly surprised. Inspectah Deck, MF DOOM and Esoteric each offer a short verse which easily demonstrates their remarkable rhyming skills. The beat is calm, with some small claps and a smooth trumpet that drifts over the instrumental.

DOOM Unto Others

This song opens with a sample that repeats 'we came' in a very moody style, which is very fitting for the aesthetic 'Super What?' carries. The beat has some poignant drums that thud throughout, keeping the pace. MF DOOM and Esoteric both offer monstrous verses. The closing lines of Esoteric's verse stand out to me specifically:

Put it together where the fake, we'll see how deep it is How GiGi Hadid it is I do lead the league in this, now I got the key to this Culture like a Petri dish, sh*t, don't let me speak to this kid Who ain't half as hard, living a rap facade Want CZAR? Cut the check like stabbing a cat from Prague

Jason & The Czargonauts

Inspectah Deck, Esoteric and MF DOOM each offer a complex verse on this track, with one line from Esoteric standing out to me in particular:

I'm hard to kill so guard your grill until it's over with CZARFACE and DOOM been pro-mask before Corona hit

The beat contains a lot of drums with a strange, almost humm, running through it. The track closes with a feature from Del the Funky Homosapien, which of course provides the song with Del's iconic quirky style.

Break in the Action

'Break in the Action' contains an amazing beat. Which has the drum taps to keep your head nodding, but also has some horns appearing at points in the track, and a cymbal sizzling throughout the song. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, all three rappers provide a brilliant verse each, with Inspectah Deck's opening bars standing out:

Last name Lannister, call me Kingslayer None this ill since Kareem was a Laker Feel that love? Yeah, that's the dream of a hater I'm skatin' the equator, last seen in Jamaica

A Name to the Face

An interlude then runs the entirety of 'A Name to the Face'. The interlude contains a large number of people all discussing CZARFACE and MF DOOM, debating the pronunciation of their name and trying to get an understanding of what it means.

This Is Canon Now

In this track, only Esoteric gets mic time. He raps two very strong verses, over a bass-heavy beat that reminds me of the kind of LA style that Snoop Dogg was working on with his latest album, 'From Tha Streets 2 Tha Suites'. That funky LA bass is complimented by some drum taps and vocals built-into the beat which gives it that CZARFACE feel we are so used to from the rap group.

So Strange

'So Strange' contains an eerie-beat that is complimented by a hook from Godforbid. Both MF DOOM and Esoteric rap very well over the instrumental, with some darker lyrics than across the previous tracks. The result is a smooth track with an almost ghostly feel.

Young World

The album closes with the amazing 'Young World'. The beat is bright and open, with some delicate keys and female vocals lingering across the beat. Inspectah Deck takes the hook repeating:

Hey young world, it's your world "I heard she had another baby", no, you didn't girl And now you're hangin' out way past curfew Sippin' Henny, gettin' blazed on the purple

Inspectah Deck and Esoteric then take it in turns to rap their own verses. Closing the album with a final repeat of the hook, and a short outro from Inspectah Deck.

CZARFACE & MF DOOM have released another extremely strong body of work, continuing to solidify their talents within Hip-Hop. The chemistry from the group is obvious, creating a moody album that draws inspiration from the comic book world. Coming shortly after the tragic passing of MF DOOM, the album stands as a showcase of the chemistry DOOM had with CZARFACE, and demonstrates MF DOOM's unstoppable lyrical ability in one final body of work.

'Super What?' is a complex, moody album with a number of strengths to boast. At just 27 minutes long, the album is very short, but that does not take away from the talent built into the 10 tracks on the project. The album is filled with top tier lyrical skill over moody, creative and interesting beats. I'd highly recommend listening to 'Super What?', and would encourage all readers who are struggling with MF DOOM's style, like I did, to keep giving his music another listen. His lyrical ability in unmatched, and without perseverance I would have missed out on enjoying his final project.

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