Review: Iron Braydz (@braydz) “Verbal sWARdz” EP Unorthostract Records

“Verbal sWARdz” marks Iron Bray­dz return after announ­cing that he was quit­ting in the sum­mer of 2012. Tak­ing heavy influ­ence from Wu-Tang Clan and the mar­tial arts films that they intro­duced to the world of Hip Hop, the EP kicks off with a skit taken from the 1980s Hong Kong film “The Thun­der­ing Mantis”. Using Bry­an Leung’s out­burst to relay his feel­ings about the way black people are treated in this coun­try, he makes a state­ment that “Verbal sWARdz” is an “out­burst of facts, feel­ings, per­spect­ives and opin­ions.”

“Scor­pi­on Sting”, a nod to “The House Of Fly­ing Dag­gers” on Raekwon’s OB4CL 2, declares the war he is waging with the com­mer­cial rap industry. Res­ist­ing again­st white suprem­acy “Crow­bar Head Top­per” is a mes­sage to the white man that he’s “sick of turn­ing the oth­er cheek” and a retell­ing of an encoun­ter he had long ago. The most com­plex and lyr­ic­ally intric­ate offer­ing on the pro­ject comes in the form of “Mil­leni­um”. Mak­ing sure that his bars were a match for Prince Po of Organ­ized Con­fu­sion, Bray­dz and Prince Po tell a story of slaughter­ing demons while provid­ing social com­ment­ary to the pris­on indus­tri­al com­plex, islamo­pho­bia and a pleth­ora of demons that exist in the sys­tem.

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Remain­ing on the theme of social prob­lems, “Dredd” laments about the con­di­tions of people at the “bot­tom of the pile”: “crack­heads, deal­ers, scum and skeez­ers, bot­tom of the pile and they all want to be us”. The entire EP is a lyr­ic­al onslaught and this is only rein­forced with “Ram­bo”. While the repet­iv­ity of the vocal sample can tire the ears, the vivid imagery of Iron Bray­dz, Skrib­lah and Kyza eas­ily com­pensates. The next track fea­tures the one and only Sean Price. “Fiery Red”, released in 2011 with its eer­ie piano keys, brings more of the heavy artil­lery: “choke your throat when you feel the cobra grip/ mak­ing me flip/ swing of the fist/ mak­ing you flip/ flick of the wrist/ bust in your lip…”.

Exper­i­ment­ing with synths, Iron Bray­dz and Detroit legend Phat Kat team up to stress their import­ance in the game with cuts from DJ Shortee Blitz to com­ple­ment. “Ram­bo Relapse” uses a dif­fer­ent skit from the ori­gin­al track, sig­nalling the fero­city of the verses to come with added verses from Black Cripton and Sol­ar Black. Lastly, the title track “Verbal sWARdz”, sum­mons Triple Dark­ness Gen­er­al Cyr­us Malachi to join him in a verbal assault pet­ri­fy­ing “fake guys who try and step here” over a looped angelic vocal. “Verbal sWARdz” is pre­par­ing us for what he’ll be releas­ing in the future and I can’t wait to hear what he has in store.

I’m pleased Iron Bray­dz is back and excited to see these new tracks per­formed live. With most of the EP being self-pro­duced and not a weak verse on the entire pro­ject I encour­age you all to get “Verbal sWARdz” from his band­camp page on the 14.4.14.

This pro­ject is ded­ic­ated to Natty and Ricky Bish­op who both passed away due to police bru­tal­ity.


Dhruv Shah

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