Album Review | Hip-Hop

Czarface, ‘Every Hero Needs a Villain’

In films, comic-book sequels typically enjoy an inherent advantage over their predecessors: Once the requisite origin story has been told, our heroes can get down to the business of flexing their awesome powers. Such is the case on this seecond collaboration between 7L & Esoteric and Wu-Tang’s Inspectah Deck, on which the principals evolve from three guys working well together into a singular entity. Opener “Czartacus” sets the tone: Eso and Deck come out over a snarling guitar, reveling in their rivals’ disdain (“your tracks be sounding flat, our tracks Kate Uptons”). That theme stays consistent, but our heroes are far from complacent. Indeed, much credit goes to 7L, whose inventive productions provides cannon fodder for the rappers to blast apart with witty punch lines, clever metaphors, and agile flows. Eso and Deck’s full range of skills aren’t on display, perhaps, but their lyrical brawn and 7L’s sonic special effects make for one hell of a summer blockbuster. (Out Tuesday)

Martín Caballero

Essential “Lumberjack Match”

Czarface plays the Middle East Downstairs on July 25.

Martín Caballero can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @_el_caballero.