Named after a famous Ettore Scola film with an ironic twist, C'eravamo Tanto Odiati ("We Hated Each Other so Much", instead of "We Loved Each Other so Much," the original title of the film) is the first, and likely only, release by Due di Picche, the hip-hop duo of brothers Johnny and Willy Di Picche. These are, of course, the alter egos of J-ax and Neffa, two of the pioneers of Italian hip-hop as members of the seminal Articolo 31 and Sangue Misto outfits, respectively. Back in the day, J-ax and Neffa were on opposite sides of the Italian equivalent of a rap feud -- hence the title of this album. Much water has passed under the bridge since then, and both artists have developed successful solo careers, which makes the Due di Picche project all the more unexpected. Their chosen moniker, "Two of Spades," refers to an Italian expression about being one of the most useless cards in the whole deck, a definition the di Picche brothers embrace with pride as the self-appointed representatives of society's marginals. This is a recurrent theme in the career of both artists, if not the entire Italian underground hip-hop movement, which is beginning to sound tiring as it reappears in one guise or another in most of the lyrics. It's a sugar-and-spice combination, with Neffa's singing making smoke rings around J-ax's aggressive rapping, against a series of hip-hop-, pop-, rock-, or reggae-inspired tracks. The record aims to mix J-ax's socially conscious or autobiographical tirades with Neffa's pop instincts, and while it does a decent job out of it, C'eravamo Tanto Odiati's formula seldom catches fire -- it fails to include truly memorable tunes -- as was the case with two 2009 J-ax albums, for instance. C'eravamo Tanto Odiati sold well in Italy, but in the long run, one has to wonder whether it was worth it, as this project may negatively affect J-ax and Neffa's credibility with their respective fan base.
AllMusic Review by Mariano Prunes