Emboldened by a raw truth spitter with outspoken rhymes cast in guttural guitar grooves, BackWordz bring a genuine and informed message back to heavy music via their self-patented “Street Hop” sound.
Born in 2015, the quintet—Eric July [vocals], Alex James [bass, vocals], Kevin Kerestes [guitar], Marcello Garcci [guitar], and Robbie Rosales [drums]—provoke with every rhyme and riff on their full-length debut album, Veracity [Stay Sick Recordings]. By 2017, the boys had already earned props from Alternative Press, Revolver Magazine, and more, while Eric appeared on Fox & Friends multiple times. The independently released “Statism” [feat. Craig Mabbit] racked up over 101K Spotify streams and 256K YouTube views as the group built a quiet buzz that’s positioned their signature style on the verge of a veritable explosion…
“We call what we do ‘Street Hop’,” exclaims Eric. “The message we put forward is the driving force. With Veracity, we spent 18 tracks showing who we are because there are so many elements and aspects we want to entertain. You will hear things lyrically that you will not hear from other artists in either rap or metal. How the rapping’s fused remains a completely different animal. The music speaks for itself.”
Growing up in Dallas, TX, Eric began battle rapping and writing rhymes as a child inspired by Nas, Lauryn Hill, Royce Da 5’9”, and more. After co-founding Fire From The Gods, he amicably split from the band and took a meeting with his four future bandmates at the urging of producer Cory Brunneman [Darke Complex, Upon A Burning Body]. Kevin had similarly parted ways with The Bad Chapter as Marcello moved on from Through Arteries. In tow with Robbie and Alex, the five musicians immediately clicked both musically and ideologically.
“It was God-given,” he goes on. “Philosophically, we were all the same page. It was just about making it come to life. That’s why it feels fresh and new. We took all of our collective experience and applied it to this.”
Now, the single “Self Ownership” [feat. Fronz of Attila] lands a gut punch of rap fury and metallic intricacy. Trading bars with Fronz, Eric instigates thought just before an entrancing and engaging chant courtesy of Alex.
“‘Self Ownership’ is an actual principal of libertarianism,” he says. “I wanted to dive into that aspect. I own myself and my own body, I can’t accept these acts of aggression. You own yourself too. It’s a core basic concept. Once you realize it, accept it, and adopt it, things start to click.”
Touting a sound best described as The Roots’ Things Fall Apart reimagined by Linkin Park or Run The Jewels accompanied by Korn’s Head and Munky, Veracity bobs and weaves from the lyrical fireworks of “Pop It Off” to the pensive poetry of “Set Us Free.” The album title succinctly sums up BackWordz’ approach.
“It’s about real talk,” affirms Eric. “That’s what the music embodies. Every lyric I wrote is exactly what I believe in wholeheartedly. There’s stuff that’s going to rub people the wrong way. I’m very headstrong.My mama embedded that in me. Most importantly, I’m well-versed on these topics, so I can defend them without being irrational. Criticism comes with the territory, but it’s easy to respond to if you’re well versed in the philosophy you claim to advocate.”
Ultimately, BackWordz will do something that’s rare in any genre of music—they’ll make you think.
“When you listen to our music, I hope you walk away and think critically about what you generally accept as truth,” he leaves off. “In this world with media, social media, multimedia, and mainstream media, it’s so easy to stray away from what is reality because of something being represented as truth. If I can get in front of a thousand people and cause one person to take a step back and evaluate their journey, I feel like I’ve won.”