'Czarface Meets Ghostface' - Album Review
When it comes to punchline and comicbook rap in 2019, very few names get me as excited as Czarface, the rap supergroup consisting of 7L, Esoteric and Wu-Tang's Inspectah Deck, as they released one of the most fun and charismatic releases of last year in collaboration with MF Doom, one of my favourite MC's of all time. So while I was obviously excited for this new release, it was in difficult competition considering how much I enjoyed their 2018 album and as much as I shouldn't compare the two, it's near impossible when looking at how similar they are in terms of production, sound and flows. With that in mind, it's clear to anyone that Czarface Meets Ghostface is a solid body of work featuring sinister production, fantastic one-liners and gritty vocal performances, however, this album is lacking a lot in the 'fun-factor' that made their previous album so enjoyable, making it harder and harder to return
Of course, I'm not questioning anybody's abilities as Czarface have proved time and time again that they are a force to be reckoned with, combining 7L's grimy, comicbook production with Esoteric and Inspectah Deck's cold delivery and Ghostface Killah is, well, Ghostface Killah. But unlike the MF Doom collaboration which embraces it's goofier and fun side, Czarface Meets Ghostface seems to take itself a little too seriously. The production across this project is brilliant and grand, but ultimately very samey. aside from a few standout tracks like 'Face Off' and 'The King Heard Voices' the latter of which sounds like ''I'm in a haunted f*****' church or somethin'' as Inspectah Deck puts it. The use of very similar beats puts every song in a box of this unique sound and as a result many of the flows stay the same too, as Ghostface Killah doesn't reach far outside of his comfort zone on this album providing fantastic verses but boring flows.
However, as is expected, the saviour of this album comes in the lyricism and punchlines by Esoteric, Inspectah Deck and Ghostface Killah, who come with some of the most entertaining lines I've heard this year. Yes, some of them are stupid but I can't help but smile when Esoteric says "I like you as a person, but as an MC, you/ Could turn into dust when I snap like half the MCU" or when Inspectah Deck says "Gladiator, Hustle Crowe", a line so stupid I can't help but laugh. With their funny and playful lyrics, this album rises from being boring as Ghostface fits this style of rap perfectly, as he brings a little bit of the Wu-Tang with him on some of his more aggressive verses. This album is at it's best when it rekindles some of that Wu-Tang flame as tracks like 'Iron Claw' see Inspectah Deck and Ghostface just spitting back to back over some boombap production and their energy is too infectious not to enjoy.
Unfortunately, this energy eventually fades as repeat listens yield less and less satisfying results and I found myself coming back more for the funny lines rather than the charisma and joy I found in Czarface and Doom's 2018 album. And while this album does provide some headbobbing production and gritty verses, there's not much separating one track from the next, as it all gets a bit too similar.
Listen to the album below: