CZARFACE & MF Doom – Czarface Meets Metal Face Album Review
Every hero needs a villain. CZARFACE, consisting of Inspectah Deck from Wu Tang Clan and underground hip hop duo 7L and Esoteric, and MF Doom both are clearly influenced by hip hop pioneers from the 90s. Both CZARFACE and MF Doom stay true to the nature of underground hip hop and don’t pander to anyone. This is more evident than ever on their newest team up, Czarface Meets Metal Face. Aside from some minor pacing and thematic issues, CZARFACE and MF Doom have crafted an excellent ode to the hip hop genre.
Right off the bat, it’s clear that CZARFACE and MF Doom are sticking to what they know best. Throughout the album’s 16 tracks are some of the most well thought out and clever rhyme schemes of the past few years. MF Doom has stayed true to his underground hip hop roots ever since his debut in 2003 and, even though CZARFACE only formed back in 2013, their gritty style is still reminiscent of some of the best rappers from the 90s. The idea of Czarface Meets Metal Face is that of a superhero vs. villain story. CZARFACE takes the role of the superhero, while MF Doom acts as the supervillain. On the song “Close Talker,” CZARFACE convinces MF Doom that he should be the villain to his hero. What follows is a thunderous rapport between all the artists of CZARFACE and MF Doom, throwing some references here and there to help hammer home the superhero/supervillain story. Rather than having this idea serve as an overarching theme to the album, it serves more as an aesthetic than anything. While the album could have benefitted from a more concise feel with more tightly woven themes, Czarface Meets Metal Face still focuses on the strengths of the artists. What this means is that for a majority of the album, the main focus is showcasing the rhyme skills of both CZARFACE and MF Doom, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Both CZARFACE and MF Doom have such a command of flow and lyrical content that the lack of a tightly woven thematic narrative throughout the album can be forgiven. It’s no surprise that CZARFACE and MF Doom are making music for a niche audience and what results is an expertly crafted collection of songs and beats that showcase the best of the best when it comes to underground hip hop.
Another clear influence of 90s hip hop on Czarface Meets Metal Face is the production. All songs on the album are produced by The Czar-Keys, who clearly took their time in crafting each tracks instrumentals. Each track is unique and helps highlight the lyrical ability and flow of each of the artists featured on the project. From fast-paced boom bap style drums to lofi synth melodies, there is a lot to love on this project. With an album as long as 16 tracks, it can be difficult to make each song feel unique and worthwhile. The Czar-Keys succeeded in doing so as each track feels new and inventive, from a treasure trove of unique samples to several different instrumental styles that keeps the whole album feeling fresh. Another noteworthy choice made by The Czar-Keys is to add beat switch ups in the middle of some songs. On other projects, this could be detrimental to the tone if not executed properly, but again, The Czar-Keys succeeded. The song “Phantoms” is a perfect example of this. The song starts out with a lofi synth accompanied by minimalistic drums, then changes halfway through to dark organs and plucked guitar fills. The tone of the song stays consistent, regardless of the fact that the second half of the song could be its own beat. This happens a few times throughout the album and works every time.
With a combination of CZARFACE and MF Doom’s excellent lyrical abilities and The Czar-Keys top-notch production, Czarface Meets Metal Face makes for a great listen from start to finish. A few pacing and thematic issues aren’t enough to dampen the overall quality of the album. Hopefully, in the future, CZARFACE and MF Doom will decide to team up again and give us another fantastic underground hip hop album.
Zach Hall is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.