I.O.D. Is a Brownsville Villain, But Does This Video Make Him a Hip-Hop Hero?

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Brownsville, Brooklyn’s I.O.D. is an artist whose music is a direct reflection of the surroundings in which he came up. One of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the U.S., Brownsville is notorious for its status as a hotbed for gritty, guttural New York Rap; Sean Price, Smif-n-Wessun, and Masta Ace all hail from its streets. But I.O.D. is here to use his music to celebrate the vibrancy and darkness of his hometown, which he does in “Foreword.” But is the video enough to make you interested in his next chapter?

On his debut E.P. TheTheThe Brownsvillain, I.O.D. explores themes of villainy, particularly as it relates to race and marginalization of all forms in American society. “What is a villain, really?,” he asks at the beginning of “Forword.” For him, being labeled a villain comes with the territory of just being a young man of color from Brownsville, but he carries it as a badge of pride he shares with anyone “born into being an enemy of society by conditions they can’t control.”

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