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Rapper Esoteric On New Album 'Super What?'

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

The rapper MF DOOM, whose real name was Daniel Dumile and who died last fall at age 49, wore a large metal face mask on stage. It was reminiscent of Marvel Comics' Dr. Doom. His comic book parallels didn't stop there. In true superhero fashion, MF Doom was a prolific collaborator. Just before he died, he teamed up with the rap supergroup Czarface on an album called "Super What?" It's finally out now.

(SOUNDBITE OF CZARFACE AND MF DOOM SONG, "BREAK IN THE ACTION")

ESOTERIC: Yeah. This is Esoteric from the mighty Czarface. We're turning this into NP-Czar for today.

PFEIFFER: NP-Czar - get it? Yeah. That's the rapper Esoteric. He's a member of Czarface and told us how MF DOOM brought superhero sensibility to his music.

ESOTERIC: Doom is a villain, right? And Czarface is more like the anti-hero. So you have a superhero, supervillain - super what? And one thing I wanted to stress about Doom is when we made that first record, we wanted to call it "Czarface Versus Metal Face." But he wanted to call it "Czarface Meets Metal Face." You know, he didn't want to look at it as battle. He wanted to look at it as a team up. And in hip-hop, it's always man verse man and who bodied who and all that type of stuff. He wanted to take it in the direction of us working together. And, you know, that was very relieving for me to hear.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BREAK IN THE ACTION")

MF DOOM: (Rapping) Soul surviving, DOOM's so conniving, never stop driving. They (inaudible). Don't let them sit behind you when you driving. Might even think you talking about them when you rhyming. Ought to keep his toolie in the lining. Ought to thank the good Lord that you ain't the type zip to line them. Ain't nobody business. Why they always spying? Type of (inaudible) is this? Find nothing, get to lying.

ESOTERIC: A lot of rappers can put words together. A lot of people can rhyme words. A lot of people can be clever, intrinsic, go syllable for syllable. But DOOM had a way of saying things and delivering things that can't be replicated.

(SOUNDBITE OF CZARFACE AND MF DOOM SONG, "BREAK IN THE ACTION")

ESOTERIC: The way he says can't be stolen. It can't be mimeographed. It can't be duplicated. That made him a one of one. And it's why he's so special to so many people.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BREAK IN THE ACTION")

MF DOOM: (Rapping) Turn the world against you, even your mens buying. It's a dirty game, getting hectic, real tiring. Top it off. Now they playing victim and the violin. Dripping the color envy, more greener than Ireland. Surrounded by snakes more meaner than a lion's den.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: You're talking too much.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BREAK IN THE ACTION")

MF DOOM: (Rapping) Can't remember why or when. Got you feeling guilty, Jedi tricks on the mind again. Make you eat a (inaudible) with chips and a Heineken. Action.

ESOTERIC: I think the supervillain aspect was a persona for the music. And where he becomes the villain and he puts the mask on, he's erasing all of the superficiality attached and stigmatized to hip-hop these days, you know? It's not about that. It's about the audience, for the ear and the brain, not necessarily the eyes. So he covers his face.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MANDO AND CALRISSIAN")

MF DOOM: (Rapping) Out your element, rational, irrelevant. What he lacks in sentiment was stashed in the tenement. Sounds brash, so imminent you can hear death. Alas, cheap cologne, cold swine, beer breath.

ESOTERIC: I think when you grab a microphone, it's like putting on a cape, leaping off a building and doing something amazing or spectacular. Something that is akin to comic books, and you are escaping this real world that we're all living in, and you can just really attack in a heroic way or a villainous way and express yourself through the music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MANDO AND CALRISSIAN")

MF DOOM: (Rapping) You in there fresh. Laugh, steer yes. Yes. Severe test passed. Next corner, veer left. Mask told, New York City mad cold. Whoop them like (inaudible) though, scrapped in a man hole, yo.

ESOTERIC: Being that the record was made before he passed, I hope fans can appreciate this was DOOM on these beats, giving the gift in real time. DOOM was very involved in the process. This was, you know, his record as much as it was ours.

(SOUNDBITE OF CZARFACE AND MF DOOM SONG, "MANDO AND CALRISSIAN")

ESOTERIC: DOOM'S gift is something that will last forever and never be duplicated. Rest in peace, DOOM.

(SOUNDBITE OF CZARFACE AND MF DOOM SONG, "MANDO AND CALRISSIAN")

PFEIFFER: That's Esoteric of Czarface talking about the group's new album called "Super What?" with the late MF DOOM.

(SOUNDBITE OF CZARFACE AND MF DOOM SONG, "MANDO AND CALRISSIAN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.