The Many Sides of Iron [Interview]
Vancouver, BC – After showing his goods to Vancity while supporting the Boot Camp Clik’s West Coast tour, famed battle rapper Iron Solomon sat down with HipHopCanada to share some thoughts. Solomon showed us the many facets of his character – ambitious, well-spoken and rather deep, he is expanding on every front and is dedicated to developing his musical expertise. With the release of Monster, he’s solidified his transition into a well-rounded MC and has some things to say about that – check out the interview after the jump.
HipHopCanada: So you’ve had a couple days to check out Vancouver, how’s it been?
Iron Solomon: Vancouver seems like a very schizophrenic city, there were certain moments when we didn’t understand where we were – like skid row is obviously crazy, there were a lot of interesting things going on there. And then when we get around the right people is seems so awesome and really artsy and interesting and cool and a lot of love and support, people not being too cool for school. The crowd at the show was amazing, some of the best energy and most positivity that we’ve encountered on the West Coast tour.
HipHopCanada: You were added to this tour kind of last minute…what happened there?
Iron Solomon: My album Monster came out on March 27th and we’re distributed by 3D, which is 3D DuckDown, you know? Being that we saw BCC was on tour, we were like fuck it, let’s go for it. It’s been great getting to perform with my DJ, DJ M.I.A – we live on opposite coasts so to be able to do shows back to back and really work on the live show has been great.
HipHopCanada: What’s your stage style like?
Iron Solomon: My stage style is kind of intense, very active. I like to move all around the stage and I get really into performing and get right up in front of the crowd and really try to rap the hell out of my lyrics and say very word and not depend on the crowd knowing the words.
HipHopCanada: Have you learned anything from the BCC guys as far as performing?
Iron Solomon: Watching Boot Camp and learning from them has been dope. I learned to breathe very deeply before every single show, and also to know what you wanna do on stage and execute that but still be ready to adapt based on where the crowd is at.
HipHopCanada: You started out as a battle rapper – how have your fans taken this transition to putting out an album and touring?
Iron Solomon: It’s a mixed bag. There are always gonna be fans that are only interested in the battle stuff and to me that’s cool because I think in 2012 the ability to jump into a battle, release a mixtape that sounds a certain way and release and an album that sounds a different way, to me is the definition of a well-rounded MC. For the most part I’ve gotten really incredible feedback from the fans. They already felt passion and heart and some type of personal connection to me from the battles cause I think even when you’re just cursing and dissing somebody there are still social and political statements that you can read – you can read culture in every action. People already felt connected to me in a way that goes beyond being a potty mouth.
HipHopCanada: I challenged you to a rap battle before the interview and you pussied out…what’s your deal?
Iron Solomon: I was super intimidated. You have tattoos on your hands and I felt like you were either gonna shame me lyrically or defeat me physically – and I think I’m probably right about both of those things.
HipHopCanada: Ha! You’re probably right. Well let’s close by talking about the album Monster – most difficult part, and proudest accomplishment?
Iron Solomon: I produced or co-produced every single song on the album – my favorite part about that is being able to have a vision for my music, and not just be a rapper getting emailed beats and putting sixteens and hooks together. And being able to work with my closest friends on it, who are all musically trained…everything I imagined music should sound like I was able to do on this record. So that’s awesome to me. It’s a big blend of genres: no one song is like another song, no one focused topic is revisited. The most difficult thing was just that creating this album was as much as learning process as it was an achievement. Malcolm Gladwell says you need ten thousand hours before you become an expert at something and I think after this project I spent ten thousand hours writing, ten thousand hours recording, ten thousand hours producing – so just the labor of love that is working towards a vision that might be bigger than your skill set but at the end of the road, having built the skill set that goes hand in hand with your vision.
Interview and Photography by Amalia Judith for HipHopCanada