“Super What?” Album Review

“Super What?” Album Review


Noel Castillo

When famous underground rapper MF DOOM died on October 31, 2020, fans became aware of the tragedy months later and have been nourning since. Although his passing is a massive loss for the rap industry, he was inspired by a lot of comic book supervillains, wrote many lyrics and produced beats that will undoubtedly appear on posthumous projects like “Super What?” in the future. 

Noel Castillo, Staff Writer

Following MF DOOM’s untimely death in late 2020, “Super What?” is a collaborative album recently released between the deceased rapper and group CZARFACE. There are 10 tracks on the short, 27 minute album, each one serving a purpose for the overall feeling of the project. Because it is so short, many people can give it a one-time listen and it is accessible for people with different music tastes. There are obscure references, densely-packed lyricism, impressive flow, and pop culture references to Marvel and DC superheroes scattered throughout the album. Overall, the album truly feels like a soundtrack that could correspond to a series of comics or a stroll down a lively New York City street with headphones, coffee and a coat. 

The album starts off with both lighthearted and intriguing beats. The beats feel as though the producer had a truly sinister vision while creating them. At some points, it feels like a supervillain is scheming to invade the planet deep inside their hideout on the moon. While sounding very futuristic, the instrumentals also feel very nostalgic. The simultaneous nostalgia and timelessness that the beats convey are especially prevalent with tracks like “Break In The Action” and “So Strange” in the latter half of the album. Although there are a couple of underproduced beats sprinkled throughout the album, they are few and far between. Most of the beats give the rappers freedom to inject style and radiate very distinct comic book energy. 

With some of the undisputed best lyricists of all time, the subject matter in “Super What?” is a refreshing mix of nefarious plots and descriptions and more recognizable references to modern day occurrences. Inspectah Deck delivers classic wisdom and sharp, dangerous lyrics that juxtapose DOOM’s most evil rhymes. The concept of the album is right up Inspectah Deck’s alley since he’s been making references to the likes of Spider-Man for almost three decades on tracks like “Protect Ya Neck” by Wu-Tang Clan. Esoteric, the third main emcee on the album brings the concept to an even higher level when he references many superheroes throughout the album, especially on track “This is Canon Now.” The three rappers’ lyrical alliance brings contrasting approaches to every verse and perfectly blends with the beats to generate a cold, calculated sound.

While MF DOOM and Inspectah Deck have been on and created countless classic projects like “Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” and “MM..FOOD” that are nigh impossible to rival, “Super What?” is able to create a similar level of invincibility. It is a wonderful posthumous album for MF DOOM, and Inspectah Deck proves he is still untouchable when it comes to rapping. Because there are many varying styles, traditional and more modern references and song styles, anyone with any kind of taste in music will appreciate at least some aspects of the album. There are many more things to enjoy about the much needed 2021 hip-hop project than to dislike, and it is definitely worth listening to for nearly everyone.