Over the course of the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about Czarface, the collaborative project featuring underground hip-hop duo 7L & Esoteric and the Wu-Tang Clan’s Inspectah Deck. Deriving the project’s name from fictional character they created that’s patterned after comic book super villains and aspects of the personalities and quirks of each individual member, the act can trace its origins to when 7L & Esoteric and Inspectah Deck toured together. The tour led to a number of collaborative singles including, “Speaking Real Words” off 7L & Esoteric’s 2001 album, The Soul Purpose and “12th Chamber” off their 2010 album 1212, and a number of other singles. Since the act formed back in 2013, they’ve released four critically applauded albums: their 2013 self-titled debut, 2015’s Every Hero Needs a Villain, 2016’s A Fistful of Peril and their collaboration with MF Doom, Czarface Meets Metalface, which was released last year.
The acclaimed trio follow their critically applauded collaboration with MF Doom by teaming up with another legendary and beloved emcee Ghostface Killah, a.k.a. Iron Man, a.k.a. Tony Starks on Czarface Meets Ghostface. The release of the album’s first two singles “Iron Claw,” and “Mongolian Beef,” were perfect tastes of what hip-hop heads should expect from the entire album — four dope emcees trading swaggering and dexterous bars about running massive criminal syndicates, taking over the world, being dope, insane pop culture references and more, over menacing, tweeter and woofer rocker productions. But perhaps more important, the material finds the collaborators pushing their talents, skills and sound in a new direction — without losing what we love about each individual artist. The album’s third and latest single, “Powers and Stuff,” is centered around a gritty and menacing production consisting of tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap beats, distorted guitar and organ, fluttering flute, trippy sound effects and a motley assortment of kids shouting the song’s hook. The four charismatic emcees spit some incredible bars and verses that make references to Buzzfeed, Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, Agent Smith from The Matrix films, Battlestar Galactica and several prisons in the New York prison system and more, making the track a street banger — but with a surrealistic bent.
Directed by Josh Mac, the recently released video for “Powers and Stuff,” is a wild and seamless mix of live action and animation, as it follows an experiment done on Powers the Dog that immediately goes wrong when Powers drinks a mysterious substance that turns him into a cartoon hero, who fights crime, drinks shots with local barflies and encounters his arch nemeses Czarface and Ghostface, who have accidentally started a massive fire. It’s trippy and hilarious while bringing Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Space Jam to mind.