Boston-based Brick Records announced this week that it has set a February 2013 release date for CZARFACE, a collaborative album between hoemtown duo 7L & Esoteric and the Wu-Tang Clan’s Inspectah Deck.
The Boston duo first worked with Deck over a decade ago, when the Wu vet appeared on the title track to 7LES’s debut EP, Speaking Real Words, in 1999. Since then, 7L & Eso have been building a buzz for their indie releases on the East Coast and beyond, while Deck remains a hip-hop vet, still winning praise for his gold-selling solo disc, Uncontrolled Substance.
14 years later, the hunger for sharp lyrics and head-snapping beats hasn’t dissipated from either act, especially with the ever-worsening status quo of watered-down hip-hop. Enter CZARFACE, the upcoming full-length, collaborative effort slated to drop February 19th via indie stalwart, Brick Records.
“We called it CZARFACE because a czar is someone who is pretty much idolized by certain people no matter what he does or what he’s done. At the same time, he’s looked at like some type of martyr,” Deck explained of the title.
“CZARFACE is a vigilante,” added Esoteric. “He’s an anti-hero character who serves as the face of the project and his focus is on annihilating the hip-hop media darlings the mainstream caters to.”
With both lyricists in prizefighting form, the LP is a showcase for lyrical finesse, superior rhyme skills and teacher-approved sharing skills. To wit: a track like the single, “Cement 3’s,” where Deck and Eso trade incisive, rewind-worthy verses over a hypnotic head-thump beat from 7L, while Roc Marciano delivers the final verbal body blows.
Unsurprisingly, respect for real hip-hop runs deep, and CZARFACE brings an army with it — consider the star-studded guest list, which includes Action Bronson, Vinnie Paz, Oh No, Mr. MFN eXquire and Deck’s fellow Wu-Tang Clansmen, Ghostface Killah and Cappadonna.
Aside from one track DJ Premier, production belongs exclusively to DJ 7L, who provides the musical backbone which holds the album together.
“This is one of the first albums I’ve heard in a while that gives you so many different feels. You hear the ’80s hip-hop style, ’80s R&B and rock combined with what’s going on now. That’s creating something new, in my opinion,” said 7L.