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CZARFACE (Inspectah Deck + 7L & Esoteric): Every Hero Needs A Villain (2015) + Czarface spoof ‘Infomercial’

Every Hero Needs A Villain Czarface[RATING: 5] Every underground needs its heroes and for the surprisingly resilient, comic-book-obsessed, back-pack, boom-bap underground of 2015 that means…Czarface! Yes, it’s the second full-length team-up between nineties Boston underground survivors 7L & Esoteric and Inspectah Deck of hip-hop colossii, Wu-Tang Clan as the three unite once more to fight wack-rap. But where second LPs typically come on like a slightly watered-down version of the first, Czarface number two, Every Hero Needs A Villain, finds our dynamic trio, re-fitted, re-kitted and in every way upgraded.

The underlying narrative is the same, with skits revealing the ambivalent hero/ anti-hero Czarface being targeted by an evil super-villain and his weirdly-accented (half-Russian/ half-Scottish, anyone?) henchman while Eso and Deck unleash relentless verbal broadsides. Which is the whole point of course – an LP like this is about lyrical craftsmanship and as if Czarface’s two founder rappers weren’t enough, there are (as with the self-titled debut) multiple heavyweight guest spots – Method Man, Large Professor, Juju from The Beatnuts, GZA, RA The Rugged Man, Meyhem Lauren and that other great comic-book inspired wordsmith, DOOM. Despite all that, it’s still Esoteric who gets the best line: Everything coming out of me is a poisonous wrath/ Even my piss-stream cuts toilets in half. And then of course there’s 7L and the beats. Expect a surfeit of bludgeoning boom-bap, in a classic 90s vein, but varied for all that and featuring guitar fuzz (Czartacus), atonal bass and industrial crunch (World Premier), eastern samples and minimal electronic beats n bleeps (Ka-Bang!) and the funk – on Nightcrawler and closer Good Villains. Best track? The lively groove and battle raps of Lumberjack Match. Just remember to plead a blockage if Esoteric wants to use your toilet. Players and spoof Czarface informercial below.
(Out 16 June on Brick Records)

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