Avalanche vs. Iron Solomon (2009)
Iron Solomon: “I didn’t [actually take a Greyhound bus out to Detroit for the battle]. I forget what the actual line was, but I was making a bunch of color references. Actually, I had a show that Friday at Lion’s Den with my homeboy Vanguard who I know through End of the Weak. We have a group called the Svengali Brothers.
"I drove from the venue to Detroit that night. That just shows the constant hustle you have to be on in this industry. I stepped off stage [in New York], and me [and a bunch of my boys] hopped in a car and headed to Detroit. It was kind of rough, but that’s what we live for.
“Bizarre from D12 reached out to me. He hit me directly. All my affiliates from this crew Fuck Your Lyfe, like Nems and George Burnz, had all been out there to the battles that Bizarre was hosting. It was kind of like a parallel thing to Smack in Detroit. And obviously, Detroit has a huge legacy of lyricism and battling with Eminem and Proof and Royce da 5’9’’. So going out there to battle is cool. It’s dope to see huge megastars that care so much about the culture that they’re still involved at that root level of it. I was excited about that.
The ability to to be able to pull together things you thought of before, things that happen in the moment, and manage all that in your mind and have it come out flawlessly, is freestyle to me. Even if pieces of it are preconceived. So I went there with no specific game plan, but a lot of different ideas, and a couple couplets in my head. And I did some research in Detroit like, ‘What’s that Avenue? What’s that lake?’
“Also, Detroit is super tough as hell. New York is tough [of course], but Detroit is a rough place. The irony is that because everybody knows that everyone is so tough and the whole city is so crazy, they’re not in the venue trying to prove that. They’re in the venue caring about lyrics. Sometimes [in New York] we get insecure about how tough we are and we want to prove that. But despite how many guns were probably in that room, there was no drama.
“We had like five or ten people with us, and [almost] every one of them was battling someone at the event. We got there, and you’re never sure what your actual reach is. But people definitely [knew all about me]. And I kept waiting for my battle to come up, and it [turned out to be] the main event of the night.
“Avalanche, I think he had been on 106 & Park and Fight Klub, and he’s really entertaining, and very dynamic. I wanted to try to match the comedy, but also be aware that we were in Detroit and say some other references that [local] people would relate too.
“Once you get in that mind frame, the second that you hear that you’re battling [a guy named] Avalanche, before you hang up the phone you have eight bars written in your head. As an MC, you just can’t help but think that way.
“The definition of freestyle can be really ambiguous. For me, the ability to to be able to pull together things you thought of before, things that happen in the moment, and manage all that in your mind and have it come out flawlessly, is freestyle to me. Even if pieces of it are preconceived. So I went there with no specific game plan, but a lot of different ideas, and a couple couplets in my head. And I did some research in Detroit like, ‘What’s that Avenue? What’s that lake?’
“I think it’s tougher to adapt to that [strategy]. He seemed like he came from a culture of full, written verses, and not necessarily stuff that’s focused on your opponent [or audience]. It’s kind of tough to match that.
“For me, I made my first round a little bit light. I like to warm up a little bit, and have a little trajectory. I think the first round, people thought it was close, and were really entertained by him. But then when I came back with the freestyle response to the shit that he was saying, I think that kind of swayed them in my favor. You can kind of see on the tape that he lost his heart a little bit. He lost his energy.
Detroit’s a tough place. But after the battle, there was a lot of love. A lot of people came up to me. It was like, ‘This guy was mean-mugging me.’ But then they would come up to me, and they would be like, a fan.
“We kicked it for a little bit [after the battle]. He was super respectful. And I bigged him up too, because he’s super entertaining. And I definitely took a page from his style to use against him. He really cracks me up. He’s almost like a preacher doing comedy. Super slow, and deliberate.
“It was hard to get a read on the crowd. Like I said, Detroit’s a tough place. But after the battle, there was a lot of love. A lot of people came up to me. It was like, ‘This guy was mean-mugging me.’ But then they would come up to me, and they would be like, a fan.
“We kicked it with Bizarre, who is like the best host in the world. We developed a relationship from there, and I’ve been out there a couple times to kick it with him on some degenerate shit. He definitely lives everything he raps about. He’s pretty entertaining.
“I would imagine that I’m probably on [Eminem’s] radar. I have a great relationship with Riggs Morales, who’s a legend in the hip-hop industry who used to write the Unsigned Hype column at The Source, and he’s the head of A&R at Shady. He wrote Eminem’s Unsigned Hype. I would imagine that Em is aware. Alchemist is a big fan [of mine], and so is Paul Rosenberg, so I imagine that he’s seen my stuff, because so many people close to him have.
“He’s incredible, one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time for sure, even so far as to say one of the top artists period of all time. I’m obviously inspired by him, and I would definitely love to link up with him and collaborate with him. I don’t like to chase stuff like that. If I’m with Bizarre, or Riggs, I’m sure everyone always asks them about Em. So I’m not gonna be too pushy. I try to take every relationship for what it is.”