CLOAQxDAGGER x Oblivious x Judge The Disciple - Ghost Faction

Producers CLOAQxDAGGER are back with another boom bap masterclass, as they provide the sonic canvas for Judge the Disciple and Oblivious on ‘Ghost Faction‘.

There is an inherent chemistry when you listen to ‘Ghost Faction‘. It’s not just the pairing of Judge the Disciple and Oblivious on the mic either, it’s the agreeable connection that both emcees have with each other, but also with Crack Sizzlack and Mathias – the dynamic duo behind CLOAQxDAGGER. It should come as no surprise though, as Mathias has been cooking with Judge and Ob since 2009, and Crack dropped his producer album ‘Audio Crack‘ featuring the two emcees back in 2014. Still, when you tune into the dark and dusty, boom bap laden project, there is a cohesion within the collaboration which makes the album a more gravitational listening experience.

Judge the Disciple was working on ‘Pysch Words‘ back in 2021 with CLOAQxDAGGER, and Oblivious was in the studio throughout the process. This lead to the conglomerate teaming up to drop a full length project together – and thus ‘Ghost Faction’ now resonates through the headphones of hip hop heads worldwide. The majority of the album was recorded back in 2021 on the back of those studio sessions, with the team coming back together in late 2022 to put the finishing touches on this dope artistry. And now, in mid-2023 we finally get to experience one of the better hip hop releases of the year – and it’s one hell of a listen.

The ‘Intro‘ kicks things off with lighthearted strings, before ‘Wasted Lives‘ reverberates through the speakers with a menacing score and attitude-filled bars from Judge and Ob. ‘Au Bon Pain‘ is both fierce and fun with the beats and bars working harmoniously, then it’s ‘Lord Have Mercy‘ which is a more deliberately delivered track with a message – each emcee providing their view on the paths we take as we stroll through this life. Same shit, different day. After the soothing ‘The Path Interlude‘, it’s back to the bars and ‘Picture Perfect‘ features some killer verbal insight over a guitar-riffing joint which leads into the hectic, energetic and downright filthy ‘Bomb Drop‘ featuring the enigmatic G Fam Black, a triumphant JMT-esque soundtrack and a ferocious, death metal / screamo chorus!

Sniper’s Eye‘ dials it back with a funky bassline the centrepiece of a dope AF boom bap track, as Judge and Ob rhyme over the the instrumental with an effortlessness few emcees are able to replicate. Then it’s the title track ‘Ghost Faction‘ where Judge captivates the listener with his narrative, Oblivious pops all over the joint like the staccato / rain drop production, and Xcel adds his bravado-infused bars, creating one hell of a song. It’s timely then, that ‘Check It Out Interlude‘ cleanses the listening palate with it’s soul / funk infused instrumental, because ‘Feed The Machine‘ gets the head nodding with it’s well-crafted drumwork, and the bars from Judge the Disciple and Oblivious (especially the hook!) create an understated anthem!

While ‘Behead Em All‘ sounds like a war-anthem, in reality this track is a measured, emphatic track that requires the listener to tune in to the bars being delivered. The production is a little more stripped-back to allow the verses to carry the track and shine, with Aztech from Hybrid Thoughts lending his verbals to this track and OGBenGrimm dropping his first recorded verse after waking from a COVID-induced coma that nearly took his life. ‘The Dark Tower‘ has an oriental vibe to it, bubbling away under the dusty, boom bap drum track and each emcee slices through the track with precision and the hook once again is a captivating, audio focal point. To round out the album, ‘The Word‘ slows things back down, smouldering through the speakers with some clever horn / brass use, bringing that snake charmer vibe. Judge the Disciple and Oblivious attack this track differently, but when they pop back and forth, it’s a guilty pleasure and has us fiending for more.

This album is fantastic from start to finish. The quality pairing of Judge the Disciple and Oblivious is obvious from the jump and throughout the whole project, and the way they leverage the CxD production is first rate. With all instrumentals created on a Machine MK3, the tracks recorded (and mixed) by Mathias in the CLOAQxDAGGER studio (with the exception of OGBenGrimm whose verse was recorded by him at home), that cohesion makes its way from the studio to the speakers and results in a really dope listening experience.

Bangers: Ghost Faction, Feed The Machine, Bomb Drop, Behead Em All, The Word.

Score: 9 / 10. In short, this albums slaps. Any hip hop head can press play on this one and be inspired and entertained through the production, the presence of each emcee the grace the project and the verbose verbals they deliver, and the musical journey the album takes you on. There are no wasted moments, and even the interludes are so well placed that it gives the listener a reprieve from the powerful beats and bars. This is a must-cop album for 2023, so go and get that added to your rotation and thank me later.

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About The Author

By Brutus Maximus

Founder of Raw Side Hip Hop. Been rocking with the hip hop culture for over 30 years. Love the creativity, authenticity of the art and the culture as a whole. Shout out to the real ones making and supporting true hip hip and the artists who make it!