This is the first brief review of 2013 and what a way start! While the underrated but still tight on the mic Inspectah Deck is not new to me, DJ & producer 7L and Esoteric are new to me, so this collaboration album is my first time hearing them, although I've been recommended to check out some of their other material (and I will). What do these three talents bring to the hip hop table, with Deck and Esoteric handling mic duties and 7L behind the boards? Let's take a look!
"Czarface Intro", which is a series of audio clips mixed in with a very good beat, and just listening to this intro prepares you for the rest of the album. From there, we head right into the apply titled "Air Em Out", a banger in which Deck absolute kills (you're going to read that a lot in this review, lol) and the Lil Fame sample helps out a lot as well. It's brief, but very to the point. The RZA esque "Cement 3's" is VERY good. Deck and Esoteric shine, but Roc Marciano, an artist who can be hit or miss at times honestly, almost steals the show on this one. Oh No of Gangrene stops by on another very good song in "Czar Refaeli". The guests continue to make tight contributions on this album, as the esteemed Ghostface Killah assists "Savagely Attack", and not only is his verse tight, but Deck OWNS this one, no question, much like he owns "It's Raw", which features Action Bronson and an N.W.A. wrestling opening. Cappadonna and Vinnie Paz join Deck and Esoteric on "Shoguns". Cappa and Paz spit their usual, but man, Deck is just SO tight on this one (and the rest of the album). Don't get me wrong, Esoteric shines brightly on this album and holds his own with Deck, but it's hard to not comment often on a lyrically inspired Inspectah Deck here. Speaking of lyrically inspired, that's exactly what you get on the DJ Premier produced "Let It Off", the only song not produced by 7L. Once this song begins, you automatically know it's a Premo track. Other very good songs round out the album, such as "World War 4", "Dead Zone", and "Rock Beast".
Unfortunately, this album is not perfect. "Marvel Team-Up" and the album's closer, "Hazmat Rap" are ok, but they're not standouts and they lack something which I can't quite put my finger on.
Overall, this is quite the excellent album and it's possibly one of the first true tight albums released this year. 7L's production is outstanding, as well as the Premo track, Esoteric is very good, but again, the star of this album as far as I'm concerned is Inspectah Deck. At this point in his career, it's safe to say that with the right production, you're going to one inspired MC on the mic, and I feel it's been a good little while since I've heard Deck sound THIS good. Strong recommendation for this album (it'll be added to my collection, you can count on that). My rating right now is a solid 4 stars, but that may change.