This 2nd collaboration showcases some of the final work of the late MF DOOM
Posthumous albums are always tricky. It seems as though the team working on it has a mission to make it the best project that artist would have put out. Yet oftentimes, it really is just a rework of compiled verses that don’t exactly match up. It doesn’t quite capture the true essence of the artist in the moment of creating that verse. However, Super What?, MF DOOM and Czarface’s latest collaboration, feels like a raw and authentic project detailing just how talented DOOM was and how much fun he was still having before his sudden passing.
As the sequel to the 2018 project Czar Meets Metalface, Super What? was written in the months leading up to the start of the global pandemic. With the world on pause, the artists let the project sit for a while until everything had calmed down. At the start of the new year, fans of hip-hop were told the tragic news of DOOM’s passing in October 2020. The news sent a shift through the hip-hop community and allowed for DOOM’s creativity and humor to be remembered loud and proud. The release of Super What? highlights DOOM’s artistry and how it amplifies with the Czarface trio through witty wordplay, gritty boom-bap production and a glimpse into the comic book world they have created.
The album kicks off with “The King and Eye,” which features hip-hop legend Darryl McDaniels or “DMC” from Run-D.M.C. His lines about Peter Parker and T’Challa emphasize the comic book theme concept the album is inspired by. The track itself starts with laughter, which instantly reminds listeners of the light-hearted nature behind this project. “Czarwyn’s Theory of People Getting Loose” lets each rapper get a moment to shine and spit some cocky lines. Deck and Esoteric’s are lengthier, allowing to show off their flow.
“DOOM Unto Others” has a sinister bassline with a mix of whimsical and dark synths. DOOM’s signature flow mashes well against it, wishing one could hear more of it. Esoteric responds with a quick and witty wordplay like, “even though your words go unheard like the T in Pinot Grigio, I gotta cut you short like the 2020 season, bro.” One of the best tracks on the album is “Jason & The Czargonauts,” featuring Del The Funky Homosapien. With the help of this feature, these four fantastic rappers make one feel cornered as they go in on just how legendary they are.
“Break in the Action” has the catchiest chorus on the album. The production is light, with a funky keyboard leading the main melody. The way each rapper hops on the beat feels like a cipher between friends. Their humorous wordplay is heard clearly and provides a couple of chuckles here and there. “Young World” is the final track and only has verses from the Czarface members. It’s jazzy, like the previously mentioned track, but there is this eerie synth that plays throughout. While the lyrics are trying to be a moment to give the younger generation advice, at times, it comes off as condescending. The intention is good, and the storytelling is present, but it is kinda harsh.
Yet, it is with the skits in between, the laughter, humor and overall talents that makes Super What? so great. Instead of it being a moment to mourn DOOM and make him the center, it is a good balance between all the MCs and evokes joy more than sadness. It is a reminder that DOOM was doing what he loved to do. The chemistry between these four is unmatched, and it’s refreshing to see it displayed in such a happy light.