7L & Esoteric announce collabo album with Inspectah Deck of Wu-Tang

There's no such thing as seriously awesome news in hip-hop anymore. Everything has more or less been done. Twice. If Tupac returned from Hawaii to cut a track with Sam Adams about how much he loves the FCC, I might find it blog-worthy. But if there's a marathon of some Angie Harmon show or another on TNT, then forget about it. You'll just have to read about it elsewhere.

Still I jumped at today's news that Boston's 7L & ESOTERIC are collaborating on a joint project, amazingly titled CZARFACE, with Wu-Tang's Inspectah Deck. The reaction was probably because I consider myself an insider geek in the local scene, and, under most circumstances, would have known about this from the minute that Deck texted Eso to confirm. Rap music is supposed to pack an element of surprise, though – or at least it's better when there is one. This shit really toppled me. So here I am.

I also appreciate how this isn't out of nowhere – the result of an amusing studio session, in which a bunch of guys who like smoking blunts smoke a whole bunch of blunts together and decide to collaborate on a box set. There's an interesting history between Deck and Esoteric, as the latter documented in a legendary Elemental Mag column (which I can't find, so please shoot it over if you have a scan), and has told several times since. They met recording “Speaking Real Words” on some pay-to-play shit – one of the earliest documented instances of an up-and-coming underground act securing a verse from such a prominent MC. But over time, Deck came to respect the duo for their skill and hustle, and just last year collaborated on the full-circle banger “12th Chamber.”

Lastly, this announcement has me psyched about the possibilities for Wu-Tang soldiers moving forward. We've heard Ghostface with Termanology and Action Bronson. Slaine rocked the U-God album. The Think Differently project was fucking fascinating. But the thought of this whole new wilderness is one that I truly hope materializes. In the least it's enough to get me blogging about hip-hop.

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