The Student Playlist

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REVIEW: Czarface & MF DOOM – ‘Super What?’ (Silver Age)


In a sentence:

Light in places but engaging throughout, Czarface’s second collaboration with MF DOOM ‘Super What?’ is a fitting epitaph for the late rapper.

When the world learned of MF DOOM’s death on the final day of 2020, nearly three months after he had passed away, the reaction was one of surprise as much as grief. Fans had assumed that the industrious but consistently publicity-shy rapper had simply gone to ground for a while, working on new material. The hip-hop community mourned the loss of a titan of the underground scene of many years, but were correct in assuming that there would be posthumous releases on the way.

Completed and ready to go by April 2020 but shelved because of the pandemic, Super What? is a second collaboration between DOOM and the hip-hop supergroup Czarface (consisting of duo 7L & Esoteric plus Wu-Tang Clan’s Inspectah Deck) that bears testament to the rapper’s reputation as a prolific, restless creator. At ten tracks and just 27 minutes in length, it’s much shorter than 2018’s Czarface Meets Metal Face – and one of those, ‘A Name To The Face’, seems to be little more than some clips of podcasts talking about the band. But the quality threshold is high enough throughout for it to be satisfying, if a little light in places.

The meeting of great figures from three separate generations of rap – that is, DOOM, Inspectah Deck and Run-DMC’s Darryl McDaniels (aka DMC) with a guest spot on ‘The King And Eye’ – brings the curtain up on Super What? in style, built on a fantasia-like chime as a hook and brusque, clipped beats. DOOM is in fine lyrical form, dropping tongue-twisting bars across the spartan but vivid production – the head-nodding boom bap of ‘Jason & The Czargonauts’ and the low-key shuffle of ‘Break In The Action’ speak to a purist, no-nonsense but faintly mischievous vision for hip-hop.

While it’s perhaps not an all-time great in terms of DOOM’s long and varied career, Super What? is certainly a fitting epitaph for one of hip-hop history’s most creative forces. It’s also a reminder as to how much his absence will be felt. (7/10) (Ed Biggs)

Listen to Super What? by Czarface & MF DOOM here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!

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