Since he made waves with his lyrically athletic Devil May Cry mixtape, London MC and producer Iron Braydz has worked hard on his craft to become one of the capital’s most vital voices. Hang was rougher than cement shoes, with topics most rappers shy away from, and his collaboration with Melanin 9 on the Devils Death Day remix was a sweeping samurai saga with more esoteric lessons than the Library of Alexandria. His recent addition to the Triple Darkness crew’s collective of razor sharp MCs has seen him bless the powerful posse cuts Reanimation and Knuckledust, now with a slew of solo projects set to drop throughout the year; Braydz begins his one-man auricular onslaught on 2014 with Verbal sWARdz.
As the intro’s medley of villainous cackles and shaolin finger jabs builds into Scorpion Sting‘s dissonant guitar loops; Kyza provides a heavy chorus between impassioned verses with more venom than a pit of vipers. Crowbar Head Topper comes through just as menacing as it did on Ray Vendetta’s last EP; with Braydz denouncing the ignorance of racism over a banger from Ringz Ov Saturn, before Solar Black steps in and unleashes lines like shurikens; leaving Vendetta’s steadfast bars to finish the track off strong. Organized Konfusion’s Prince Po decimates Daniel Taylor’s apocalyptic instrumental on Millenium. While Braydz spits nothing but rawness that hangs like a dark cloud, unmoved until melancholy string melodies pierce it’s grim shroud to shine a speck of light through the gloom; ‘The truth shall be told through the fruits of our labour, ignoring many signs of the return of our saviour, the skies turn black and the planets draw closer, divine law appears and he declares it’s all over’.
For Braydz to not rely on the established sound TD have cultivated and self-produce the majority of his music shows vision, and his unorthodox and exciting production style pushes boundaries no one else seem to be aware of. His distinct phonic fingerprint is most prevalent on Dredd; with old school heavy metal samples that tear through the track as solo licks and cascading guitar runs rise in waves. His use of rock riffs to structure unorthodox choruses is challenging at first, but becomes just another ill aspect of this heavy single once you acclimatize to it’s experimental methods.
Rambo bulldozes it’s way onto the EP and sees Braydz dropping aggressive bars laced with war-like tactics over a more straight forward beat. Kyza fits his rhyme schemes into inimitable patterns as he asserts his dominance on the mic once again, and his former TerraFirma team-mate Skriblah delivers lightning-fast lines to leave the track in tatters. Sean Price immediately makes his presence felt with a forceful flow on Firey Red, inspiring Braydz to pen one of the best choruses on the EP and adapt his flow, slowing his cadence to a quiet creep following Price’s imposing intonations; then raising his volume to unleash his verse at terminal velocity. Agor builds the barest of beats on Dobermans, stacking sparse snare rolls against sharp, laser-like jolts. Long-time Kiss Hip Hop show resident DJ Shortee Blitz adds some swift cuts for the chorus, and Detroit legend Phat Kat completes the track with a mean guest verse. Rambo Relapse gets some fresh stanzas from Black Cripton and TD member Solar Black, before the title track provides the EP’s apex as Braydz builds an epic boom bap beat to accommodate Cyrus Malachi’s striking stanzas, as the TD MC’s trade verses between another catchy hook that holds strength in it’s simplicity.
Verbal sWARdz is an exciting omen of what’s to come from the newest member of Triple Darkness. The features he obtained from some of the most respected names in the States along with his ability to form cohesive songs ensures whatever Braydz will accomplish next can only further his ascension. Despite a lack of sociological insight that was present on his earlier work, he still packs a formidable punch with a pen. If you’ve been playing Bacdafucup and The War Report wondering where that real Hip Hop went you can find it alive and well right here.
Verbal sWARdz comes out on Brayd’z Unorthostract label this Monday, April 14th.
Cop it here.