Review Summary: An old and new testament to the rise of UK Hip-hop
If 2009's Orphans of Cush release didn't put UK hip-hop on every radar, then Iron Braydz rounds up the slackers, lines them up with a fistful of Koranic lore, and blasts them with lyrical lazerbeams of apocalyptic musings. It becomes clear merely thirty seconds into "Devil's Death Day" - I found myself gaping at the verbal gymnastic spectacle - and remember thinking, specifically, a few choice expletives concerning my complete surprise and simultaneous overwhelming sense of apprehension. What does this guy think he's doing? Can he seriously carry this entire record? Incredibly, the lyricism just improves throughout the course - a near relentless assault at first, the tone is set quickly, with a real emphasis on the concept of minimal verbosity input versus high complexity output. That is to say, this isn't scientific-come-metaphysical rap by any means. In fact, combined with a flow reminiscent of MF Doom, Braydz pulls lyrical and content cues from Immortal Technique and early Jedi Mind Tricks, respectively. But better.
The origin of Devil May Cry
becomes much more obvious within the brooding but atmospheric boom-bap. This isn't a simply rehashed mid 90s New York; it seems as if UK producers have taken this reference point in time, added their own interpretation, and truly made it their own. This modified NYC gritty production technique brings to mind Philadelphia forebears Jedi Mind once again, except this time much less frantically apocalyptic and symphonic. Most specifically, "Golden Legacy" touts an exquisite, pitch-shifting eastern melody atop this backdrop, while "Savin' Artillery" fast forwards to a synthetically futuristic electro-hop (appropriately Detroit-esque with Guilty Simpson's brilliant featured performance).
While White Noize
was nearly analogous to early Wu-Tang Clan, Iron Braydz encapsulates this into a broad swathe of late 90s New York influence, yet somehow manages to stay modern. This is a true UK hip-hop statement through and through with constant reminders of the craft's quickly growing popularity and capability. It goes without saying (well not without, because I'm saying it now): this is highly recommended and will sustain itself as one of the premier 2010 hip-hop releases.