I don’t like to put people in a box when it comes to reviewing one’s own work but upon my first listen of the UK’s own Iron Braydz I immediately wanted to throw up the “W” and yell “Wu-Tang! Wu-Tang!” But in this case of Iron Braydz’ latest release Verbal sWARdz, being in the same box as the Wu-Tang Clan is an excellent one to be in (and yes that does go without saying).
Along with being an MC, Iron Braydz is also a producer with “more skills than tills to count bills” in a self-description of his on his official Facebook page. But I have failed to mention another self-described occupation that Iron Braydz holds true to…and that is being a lyricist. I am a growing fan of the hip hop scene in the UK, including the battle rap league Don’t Flop, but I am always held in awe at the speed at which these rappers spit their lyrics. Iron Braydz is no exception. But like any good lyricist, Braydz isn’t just spitting for the hell of it.
I’d be lying to you if I said I caught every word on Verbal sWARdz, but as always there were bars that stood out to me instantly like: “Dwelling with the king of paradise, chilling with the prophets of our existence like Moses chosen for Christ” on the 3rd track titled “Millenium”, and “Calculus and algebraic code, nice urban mosaics and archaic roads” on the title track. Although this is an Iron Braydz project, the rappers featured on this release go just as hard as Braydz does when it’s their chance to spit.
I couldn’t think of anything else but the excellent track “Verbal Intercourse” on Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx when I tried to understand the reasoning behind the title of this project. But it was after my first full listen that the title Verbal sWARdz made more sense to me. All the bars said on this project by Braydz and the respective artists featured does indeed make this a verbal war, with their lyrics metaphorically armed with swords as the primary forms of weaponry. If you have a strong imagination, you can think of Verbal sWARdz as a film of sorts with each track serving as its own scene.
Ridding this project of its production would not lessen the impact of the lyrics in my own opinion, but thankfully we don’t have to worry about that. The production on Verbal sWARdz is fundamental in setting the tone of the project. As a fan of martial arts, and being a martial artist myself, the intro track hit right at home. It felt like I had just bought one of the latest Wu-Tang solo release projects with the legendary RZA handling all the production. But the grimy clip used in the intro only serves as primer for what is to come on the rest of the 10-track project. Braydz handled plenty of the production by himself and it’s great hearing an artist that knows how to produce and flow accordingly.
“Crowbar”, “Millenium”, and “Verbal sWARdz” were my favorite tracks but this project warrants more than just one listen. If you are fan of quality lyrics and that grimy RZA-inspired production sound, you need to listen to Verbal sWARdz.