Ghostface Killah & CZARFACE Have Released Their Joint Album. Listen Here.
Today (February 15), the group CZARFACE released its sixth project. Wu-Tang Clan’s Inspectah Deck, DJ 7L, and MC Esoteric have come together to excite this decade as a collective inspired by comic books, arcade games, cartoons, and the kind of Rap that permeated the late 1980s. They created a villain character, reinforced by a plethora of retro visuals, vinyl action figures, and fan-forward extras. Since formation, the New York-to-Boston link has also collaborated with DJ Premier, Action Bronson, Method Man, Vinnie Paz, and others.
One early supporter was Ghostface Killah. The Rebel I.N.S.’ Wu-Tang brother, G.F.K. first appeared on 2013’s “Savagely Attack,” which released on the first and eponymous LP, which arrived six years ago this week. Last year, CZARFACE opened up their evil lair to the illusive MF DOOM, who appeared on Czarface Meets Metal Face. Now, the trio goes to the other half of “Doomstarks” (a full-length project may never see the light of day) in the form of Ghostface Killah.
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Czarface Meets Ghostface is 12 tracks and approximately 40 minutes of music from two trusted brands coming together. Notably, Ghost’ is not on every song, but carries a strong presence on the affair. Having released more than one CZARFACE project a year since ’13, DJ 7L has involved partner Jeremy Page (together as “the Czar-Kays”) for an evolved sound. Video single “Mongolian Beef” uses a haunting vocal sample and 8-bit video game sounds to build a track. “Masked Superstars” uses a host of percussion accents to create the scene for villainy. This go-’round sounds more experimental, balancing Czar’s sense of nostalgia with some futuristic flare.
On the lyrical side, things are as Heads have come to expect. Esoteric and Deck bask in wordplay, often conjuring references to Hip-Hop and pop culture. Notably, the two CZARFACE MCs have been working together long enough that their flows on tracks often mirror each other. These artists, who collaborated roughly 20 years ago on “Speaking Real Words,” have styles in common with their punchy deliveries and nimble cadences. Their mic approach has evolved. For a group named after a fictional character, the two lyricists have grown to almost sound like one person in the confines of their crew.
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In terms of the added chemistry of Ghost’, “Morning Ritual” is a solid illustration. Dennis Coles spares no detail in walking listeners through a rugged beginning to the day. Over pounding beats, the Staten Islander enters his bathroom covered in jewels. In the mirror, he debates which weapon he will use to strike vengeance on his enemies. The moment plays on one of Ghost’s inspirations, Slick Rick, and his iconic “La Di Da Di” routine. The MC is in his element on the song, breaking conventions and screaming at one point. Esoteric follows, with his account of a brutal vodka-induced hangover, and concerns that his bed-mate went off with his wallet. Without Deck on this song, it is another example of CZARFACE breaking away from the notion that all three MCs on this project must be on each song. Instead, the whole team works together to play their parts as needed.
Stream Czarface Meets Ghostface as an audio playlist:
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While other CZARFACE projects feature guests, the lone outside vocalist in this fearsome foursome is singer Kendra Morris. Like all projects for 7L, Esoteric and Deck, Czarface Meets Ghostface is available on vinyl, CD, and has an array of merchandise options.
Last year, Ghostface released The Lost Tapes (and several remix companions), produced by Big Ghost, LTD. He and RZA are currently working on a Horror movie story, in addition to a dramatic series based on Wu-Tang Clan’s beginnings. Inspectah Deck is a production consultant on the latter.