By Daniel Paiz
Czarface (composed of 7L, Esoteric and Inspectah Deck) and MF DOOM wrap things up as collaborators on the first posthumous DOOM album, appropriately titled “Super What?” This final departure from MF DOOM also inspires the return of “A Week’s Worth” album review series. Every departure brings about a new arrival, and this kicks off the return of a series started last summer; expect something similar this year.
This second collaboration between Czarface and MF DOOM is likely the last, and they made the most of it. Without knowing it during recording sessions, this project is going to be under higher scrutiny than it would normally warrant. Fortunately said scrutiny is unlikely to hurt fan reception, as both artists have very dedicated fanbases.
Digging into the music
While listening to each song, I kept in mind how each track stands on its own, as well as how it adds to the album. This project is a continuation of dastardly and heroic rhymes referring to comic book characters, so it’s similar to their previous installment. Most tracks have a resemblance to what would be happening in a comic book panel, by way of how some tracks highlight one emcee slightly more than the other. I realized it quite late when reviewing this tape.
Track by Track
“The King and Eye” starts out with a fairly retro feel to it, as Esoteric and DMC of Run DMC open up the project. Comic book references rule supreme from both Czarface and DMC in their verses, setting the tone for the entire project. I forgot how voice sample heavy Czarface tracks can be, which I very much appreciate. DOOM brings us good ol’ Viktor, his comic book character conspirator.
“Czarwyn’s Theory of People Getting Loose” is a proper introductory appearance from MF DOOM on this project. Both emcees in Czarface are stealing this track from DOOM and so far the project, as that’s two for two in terms of clever verses. These lines do exactly what the title insinuates: you have to move due to the lyrical decisions.
“Mando Calrissian” has some fun lines but feels like it’s a bit more referential meets braggadocio on the low, though. MF DOOM feels like he’s subtly appearing on this tape so far. Czarface has the attention-grabbing line of “Y’all use keys, I use a pen to make a van go.” This is where I realize the album set up might be like a comic book, where the scenes are currently with Czarface, and the next panels focus more on DOOM. DOOM has some interesting outro bars, but with the sampling-esque sound at the start and end of these tracks, it’s not always clear what’s a verse.
“DOOM Unto Others” has a gritty feel to it. Feels like a visceral track, and the verses feel very word heavy; the imagery on this track feels more abstract with certain distractions. DOOM highlights galore. The additional Czarface action figure commercial at the end adds a nice tie-in to the album’s comic book aesthetic.
“Jason & The Czargonauts” is very thematic in the intro, which paints a much more vivid picture. Braggadocio is rampant again, yet almost humble bragging at the same time; kind of laid back. “My pen game is End Game” and “Snatched the bag like the Grinch” stick out. Bar after bar feels pretty packed on this one.
On “Break in the Action” DOOM gives advice about how fake the world can be. Plenty of pop culture references from Czarface. “Last name Lannister, call me King Slayer, nothin’ this ill since Kareem was a Laker” and “Back with the force, y’all Bojack Horseman” are the standout lines for me. These pop culture comparisons cut deeper than any straight up diss I’ve heard in recent memory.
“A Name To The Face” goes about explaining how pop culture reference-focused Czarface is, as well as how it’s not that hard to figure out who Czarface is. It’s a quick track but feels like an appropriate pause.
“This is Canon Now” is basically a comic book rap fan’s fever dream. Bonus points for listeners who enjoy Marvel comic references. The chef’s kiss goes to the following: “Yo Assemble your Avengers, if I want it I’ma take it, Jacked Iron Man for a suit, and left him Stark naked.” This song could not be filled with any more comic book references if it tried, and yet I wouldn’t be mad if there were even more.
“So Strange” has DOOM reminding me to rewind his verses in order to get everything that he’s laying down. It’s not that he’s delivering rhymes completely over my head, it’s more so getting used to his delivery since I go through phases of not listening to him. This first verse from him is definitely one to hear on repeat. Czarface yet again delivers as well.
“Young World” is the final track on “Super What?” It definitely feels like this project went too fast. To be honest, with all the references, it takes a minute to adjust. Definitely the most encouraging track on the project. Partially words of caution, partially encouragement and reassurance, it shifts the focus away from the previous tracks and leaves the listener wanting more.
This project overall does a good job of showcasing the chemistry between MF DOOM and Czarface. The length of the album could be a few more tracks, but that’s because it’s their last known project for now. The consistent pop culture references from Czarface and the lines that make you hit repeat from DOOM make this project a must listen. Lately it’s felt like Hip-Hop projects coming out are showing the artist figuring out their identity. These two entities refreshingly show us who they are and what they’re all about. Honestly I can’t see why this wouldn’t be in rotation for the remainder of 2021.