After many battles in the ring and having a reputation of slaying the competition, Iron Solomon took the time to speak with me for HitHipHop.com. We spoke on his first time freestyling, collaborating with DMC of Run-DMC, the whereabouts of Jin and more! Check the interview below and catch some funny mama jokes too.
Iron Solomon – King of the Ring
HitHipHop.com: I heard “Sucker MC’s” featuring DMC. What made you want to do that record and what did you learn from the Hip Hop legend?
Iron Solomon: I don’t actually do a lot of records that are like just bragging like that. When I get in the studio I tend to orient myself more as a songwriter and try to tell a story or tackle a particular topic. I know that people want to hear that from me, the more bragadocious style and I have fun doing it as well. As a songwriter, I like to do it in a conceptual way. For me that old school style, even though it’s kind of playful and a little more fun there’s something that’s really aggressive about it to me. Especially in a modern era, you know when you hear a song like the joint that Nas did where he was kind of getting at Prodigy and all the Queensbridge guys. He was referencing Slick Rick, there’s something that’s almost more aggressive about being playful sometimes. I felt like if I was going to do a straight bragging record, I wanted it to kind of be of that genre and essence of the original kind of bragging records of Hip Hop. I came up with the concept, I’ve been friends with DMC for a number of years now ironically I didn’t even think of him right away. I more just had the hook in my head, I had the beat in my head and I made the beat, kind of started referencing the vocals. I felt like man this would be crazy just to get DMC on it because it’s obviously a reference to DMC. The thing that I learned from him, being around him and being in the studio with him is that you’re never too big or you’re too talented or too experienced to still learn. DMC is a ground breaking artist, the number of records that RUN DMC holds as far as being the first group to go platinum, the first group on MTV, the first group in the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. All these groundbreaking milestones in Hip Hop, he’s still incredibly humble. In the studio was able to take direction from me. In the grand scheme of things you know, who am I to tell DMC how to say something? Or how to rap something? Nonetheless, he was very humble and respectful of how I wanted the record to sound, very generous with his time. I’m already somebody that doesn’t like to get too arrogant, I don’t feel like anybody is better than anybody else. Being around somebody so legendary, who is so humble, just kind of reinforced that lesson for me. There’s always room to learn, everybody’s advice is valuable.
HHH: There are rappers out that lack substance in their verses. Why do you think they lack that vital part of emceeing?
Iron: I think in a lot of ways as our culture, modern culture becomes more of like a microwave fast food instant gratification culture, that a lot of people want immediate excitement. They don’t want to wait in line for the roller coaster, you just want to get right on it. You don’t want eat the healthy meal you want to eat a piece of candy, taste something sweet right away. I think that a lot of emcees who are super talented sometimes get caught in wanting to take the fast road, take the quick route to saying something exciting or doing something that’s trendy. It takes a lot more patience and a lot more discipline to create something that’s going to have a lasting power and staying power. A lot of times, it’s difficult to get noticed when you are doing something like that. Unless you really, really are bringing some incredible content to the table, it can be hard. I think a lot of emcees get caught in the machine of business and the fast paced trends that just pop up everyday. That can be distracting because of course everybody’s ego is involved and everybody wants to be famous, have the best line, the best record and newest beat. It can be distracting, artists are human beings and I think they get caught up in what everybody wants which is that immediate gratification.
HHH: Well emcees obviously have to maintain some type of balance to make it out here.
Iron: When I approached my music in this album “Monster” that we just completed, I would never be able to just do something one dimensional. Obviously those kind of songs are very fun and I love to make them, I always will you know enjoy to deliver that to the people, but when I’m crafting an album or crafting a project I always want to have that diversity. Different angles and perspectives on life because not everybody is having fun everyday, even the most reckless party animal immediate gratification type person, has their down days. Everybody’s got a mother, you know what I mean? Everybody has a family that they care about, everybody has aspiration. I think that people relate to the excitement, but to the real life experiences as well.
Iron: (Laughs) I don’t remember the first one, but it was probably, I really started freestyling probably in like 6th grade. When I was in the 6th grade I switched from private school to public school and even in private in school I had a rap group actually in private school when I was like nine or ten years old. I also played guitar and played in a couple different bands, but then me and two of my friends were rapping. We weren’t freestyling, but I wasn’t exposed to freestyling until I was about eleven and I switched to public school. Actually, my man Den 10 who is down with Purple City, its funny how things worked out. We were in grade school together and we use to rhyme in math class. So definitely the first freestyle I ever kicked was in Mr. Citron’s math class with my man Den 10 who’s in Dipset/Purple City right now. I don’t remember what the words were, but I’m sure it was something stupid. It was probably juvenile talking about girls or talking about cutting class or whatever we were interested in at that time.
HHH: A few months back, you appeared as special guest host at one of the King of the Dot battle events. What are the chances of us seeing you battle for K.O.T.D.?
Iron: The chances of me battling anywhere are strong as long as it’s the right situation. It’s got to make sense and it’s never about dollars. It’s not my biggest battle yet, I’m not going to do it. There’s so many talented emcees coming up and you know I like to support the movement. I like to be able to be a spectator, I love getting in the ring. If there’s a situation or an opponent or platform that makes sense then I’m always ready to jump back in the ring. It’s just got to be the right thing, I love what King of the Dot is doing and just being there. Being around that energy was definitely inspiring and incredible, I would love to be a part of it in whatever way in the future.
HHH: What’s the best “Yo Mama” joke you’ve ever heard?
Iron: (Laughs) You know when we were little those snap books were very popular, I don’t know if you remember this book Snaps. They had Snaps one, Snaps two, Snaps three, Snaps four all those with “Yo momma so fat she fell down, broke her leg and gravy came out.” That type thing, my favorite one when I was a little kid was “Yo mother chest hair is so long that it goes all the way down her d—k.” That was my favorite one, I thought it was cleaver, it packed two insults into one and I thought I like the cleverness in it.
HHH: Where is Jin?
Iron: Jin is actually in China, I actually corresponded with him about a month ago. It was an opportunity for he and I to get money together. You know I keep it cool with all my opponents or whoever I’ve gone against. I reached out to Jin to just communicate with him about an opportunity for us to get money off our battle. From what I hear he’s in movies out in China, he’s a big star over there. I haven’t heard music from him recently, but I think he’s doing well as far as I know. He and I are in good standing as I am with pretty much everybody I’ve battled.
HHH: What can we expect from you in 2011?
Iron: In Fall 2011, I’m going to be releasing the ‘Monster’ album. As far as I’m concerned a very complete album, people will get some more insight into me as an artist. What goes on in my life and people around me because I tell a lot of stories on the album or talk about life situations that I might have gone through. I try to look as close as possible to home when I look for inspiration because the people around you, you know might not realize how interesting their stories are but they are interesting. You can expect that album and just to get a little but more sense of me as a producer as well because I’m handling the production on the album. There’s a lot of real great musicians that I got to collaborate with, a lot of amazing studio work that we did. Moving forward releasing a ton of videos being a lot more visible and then I’m going to be touring to support the project. So you can expect me to be in a town near you tearing down a stage. From here on out just continuing to release music on a more regular basis, I got mixtapes to follow up the album and I then I’ve got the second album half way done. For the rest of the year you’ll definitely get a ton of music everywhere, I’ll be everywhere so look out for me.
Interviewed by Shiyana Bellamy
Conducted on June 23, 2011