E. Ness vs. Iron Solomon (2010)

Iron Solomon: “My boy Kap Palace was with Grind Time at the time, and he reached out to me. Again, I wasn’t chasing any battles, just really focused on music, and writing for people and producing. For me, every move you make should be your biggest. It’s never about one factor for me. It’s never about only the money, or only the opponent, or only the venue. [But] in this case, it was [mostly] about the opponent.

“Ness may have had a comedic role that he’s played, in Making The Band and being on Dave Chapelle's show. But he’s definitely someone that’s known across the country and that people acknowledge as part of a moment in hip-hop history. There are a million dudes that are super dope and are awesome lyricists where skill-wise it would’ve made more sense. But for me, the magnitude of Ness is what made it appealing for me.

 

Kind of similar to the Jin approach, I used the first round to get some things out there. My thinking was, ‘If I’m gonna say something about Puffy, that’s the obvious route to go. But I can’t not say anything. So I’ll say it all in the first round, and I’ll OD on it, and then won’t say anything else about it at all [for the rest of the battle].’

 

“He didn’t have as much experience in the current type of specific battle formats. The battle thing had really evolved since he was active in it. So people might think, ‘That’s a walk in the park.’ But for me, I’m competing with what I did last time. I’m not competing with E. Ness. I have to be better than what I was last time. For the fans, I have to do something better than what I did last time, or it’s not impressive. So the challenge was doing something new.

“The battle scene has evolved so much that kids think about it every single day. They write rhymes, they freestyle, and watch battles every day. That’s a lot to compete with. And I want to do something better than what they’re doing. It was a lot of work to get back in the mind frame of taking somebody’s head off, and not writing a hook or a concept song. So I thought about it for a while, and bounced some ideas around, and developed it to where it was.

“Kind of similar to the Jin approach, I used the first round to get some things out there. My thinking was, ‘If I’m gonna say something about Puffy, that’s the obvious route to go. But I can’t not say anything. So I’ll say it all in the first round, and I’ll OD on it, and then won’t say anything else about it at all [for the rest of the battle].’

“I felt that it would be fresh [to use the same beginning line I did against Jin, ‘I’m not gonna rap about your background or origin.’] What I wanted to do with that battle was do something different than what people were doing, but also do something classic and something current that everybody is doing.

“For me, the best type of battles balance inside jokes and inside references in the rap community with something that someone’s Mom would get. So that one was such an inside joke, that if you hadn’t seen the Jin battle and you don’t know the significance of it, you won’t get it. It was good to start that way, and then do the opposite of what I did with Jin. With Jin, I didn’t really rap about his career in that verse. So I’m going to totally rap about it with E. Ness.

 

It was three minute rounds, and three rounds. That’s like three or four songs worth of material. I was actually advocating him to people beforehand. He’s not wack. He’s been in battles, and he’s been in the studio, probably writing for Puffy and other people. E. Ness is hip-hop. His flow is dope. He’s got it.

 

“It was three minute rounds, and three rounds. That’s like three or four songs worth of material. I was actually advocating him to people beforehand. He’s not wack. He’s been in battles, and he’s been in the studio, probably writing for Puffy and other people. E. Ness is hip-hop. His flow is dope. He’s got it.

“I sort of expected what was going to happen, that he would be really strong and it would be less focused on me, and that would be the thing that I could sway [because my punchlines would be more personal than his].

“And a lot of people afterwards were like, ‘Oh, it’s Grind Time. That’s your lane.’ But they’re the people that offered me the battle, and that’s the environment I was in. If we had been battling on SMACK, my rhymes would have been different. Maybe some of the things would have [been the same], but you have to cater to your audience.

 

They gave him a pretty good response for most of his stuff. They might have been more fans of me, but it’s like the 50 Cent thing. You can only win so long before it’s more exciting to see you lose. People want to see me take his head off, but I think they would have been almost just as excited by him destroying me.

 

“They gave him a pretty good response for most of his stuff. They might have been more fans of me, but it’s like the 50 Cent thing. You can only win so long before it’s more exciting to see you lose. People want to see me take his head off, but I think they would have been almost just as excited by him destroying me.

“For that one, there was compensation up front. There was no prize money. We both got paid with something up front and [I think] something on the back end, and hotels and flights and stuff like that. That’s always a cool way to work.

“[Ness and I] are cool. I really try to keep it cool with everybody. I recently reached out to him about how ASCAP recently started paying out on YouTube views. So I’ve been registering all my battles with ASCAP. And I reached out to most of the people I battled to suggest they do the same thing. I wanna see people win, and be successful.

“That was the last battle I did. The Jin one was really big, but it was more of an inside thing. But I definitely saw more industry attention from the battle with Ness. He’s an industry rapper that’s been viable beyond the battle scene. It achieved what I wanted to achieve in invigorating that nationwide and industry-wide response.”