Since dropping his solo debut in 2003, reliable Chicago rhymer Verbal Kent has avoided hip-hop trends with relative sonic success. But on his fourth LP, and first made exclusively with producer Kaz One, the MC takes his gimmick-free hip-hop a notch higher. While “Wars R’ Us” sees the duo elevating their specialties of synthy boom-bap and sharp battle rap, the remainder of the record accomplishes far more. A booming organ-driven posse cut (“Remove the Gag” feat. Ill Bill and Wordsworth), an energetic examination of systematic propaganda (“Identity Theft”), and a crisp, contemplative joint (“Faith” feat. Braille) all make Brave New Rap an end-to-end burner.