By Daniel Paiz
A Week’s Worth album review returns as it’s time to dive into the newest CZARFACE project, Czarmageddon! This project continues on the lovely mythos of the world’s favorite fabricated comic book villain. The good news about this project is, if you enjoyed previous albums, you should like this. The bad news unfortunately is that it’s a fun project that seems to rely a bit on previous success.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But that can also leave a listener to debate with oneself. Here’s what that debate would be about.
Feeding that hunger for more
The safe bet these days seems to be more tracks in a smaller amount of time. 30 minutes for an album is the norm, but hopefully that doesn’t last too much longer. When it comes to skits and the chance to review a wider array of topics, it can be helpful in that vein. However, that same breadth can remove some of the depth that brings fans back to replaying a project.
CZARFACE does an excellent job of dropping one-liners that are very referential to pop culture. The more you’ve watched and dove into, the more you appreciate these lines. There’s likely not anyone else dropping lines like these at this level right now. The nice part about this is there’s no build-up, you don’t have to search for them; you’ll hear something clever fairly often. The consistency of this is a big factor to why these emcees are so appreciated. For example, Can It Be? is a short track that grabs your attention and doesn’t let it go for two minutes, especially with these lines at the end:
Forever rule, more better blues, more revenue
Seeing all endeavors through
Watching the blockchain, the stock exchange
Tryin’ cop a yacht off the pocket change
No games, still in the kitchen whipping
I got like 26 in without an intermission
Cause I get down to business
I’m not influenced by what others doing, what they doing?
Seem impossible for you, me it’s nothing to it
Lightwork, signature move off of the top rope
I’m sick on the job, I even got the doc noteCan It Be? verse 2 from Inspectah Deck
These lines continue the cool, calm, and collected braggadocio CZARFACE delivers with clever wordplay. Incorporating blockchain brings in a timely line, while the remainder of the verse has a timeless feel to it with regards to wrestling, doctor’s notes, and cooking. There’s one other verse that nails the pop culture references to a tee, and that follows as:
Dominate and operate like Bobby Drake
When I spit the new flows
They too cold
So the fans say brrrr like the weapon Luke holds
These big headed little rappers tryna get respect
If they had a Funko Pop it’d be anatomically correct
Seamus Ryan rhymin’
I’m kinda demented like Brian M. Bendis with the pen
You responsible for zero like
Mayan inventors or mathematiciansWalk Thru Walls, verse 2 from Esoteric
I admit I had to search Bobby Drake (Iceman to those who know) and Seamus Ryan (Esoteric’s government name). But when a verse makes me go search for more info and question something to see what I’m missing, that’s in rare form these days. Not a lot of stuff out there does that. That’s another reason the heavy amount of pop culture references pulls listeners in.
But the craving can go away…
Part of why this album doesn’t feel as full as the MF DOOM (RIP!) 2021 collaboration might be simply because this isn’t that project. There was more variance in terms of flows and topics breached in that project. That’s of no fault of Inspectah Deck, Esoteric, and 7L.
What it does make me realize is that there can be too much of a good thing. The instrumentals have intriguing samples pulling from video games, TV shows, comics and more. That part is really fun. What makes it wear a bit on this listener’s ears is that there aren’t any big risks sonically.
Some fans very much enjoy knowing exactly what they’re going to get. I am too for the most part; however, I’m just wondering if these same comic and pop culture-laden rhymes can work on other kinds of sounds. Big Em Up is an exception to this statement, as the Reggae and Rock-infused tune is an energetic break from the other songs. More risks like that might pay off.
CZARFACE is a really fun group that is unbelievably dynamic when it comes to pop culture references, comic book references in particular. It’s no wonder the action figures sell out the day they go on sale. These guys have figured out a tried-and-true formula that keeps working.
This album is worth multiple listens, and yet again provides plenty of examples of how to write dope lines. What might keep CZARFACE from getting more attention is actually their current formula of success; if they took a few risks here and there, they might get the notoriety I think they deserve. However, all three artists likely participate in this group because it’s a fun passion project. CZARFACE isn’t really meant to be consumed as something to alter Hip Hop or to be the best lyrical album of all time.
The main reason I say that is due to the title of the album not feeling all that fitting for the songs included. If it’s in the vein of verses that other rappers can’t write, then it is absolutely Czarmageddon! That’s likely the case, as CZARFACE has general overarching concepts and not ideas that need to be picked apart line by line. To conclude, go listen to this project.