Jin Tha MC vs. Iron Solomon (2007)

Iron Solomon: “When the Jin battle arose, I was actually at the time kind of contemplating stepping away from battling. It’s definitely a lot of stress, a lot of pressure, and my focus has always been music and being more of a complete artist. But the battle stuff was creating so much momentum for me that it made sense to run with it.

“I was on Dekalb Avenue at this Middle Eastern spot Black Iris, and I got the call from Executive Nick from Fight Klub, talking about Jin being kind of the reigning champ. He had won the big battle in Puerto Rico at the DJ Summit, and I was undefeated [at Fight Klub], so it only made sense [for us to battle there].

 

Coop just hopped up out of nowhere and was like, ‘Yeah, I got a thousand on Solomon.’ And he just pulled out this wad of cash and put it down on the table. For me, every battle, even when you’re confident, there are still some nerves involved. So now this street dude I just met has got more money on me, and it’s not just my reputation riding on it. So, I’m keeping a game face, but it definitely upped the ante a little bit.

 

“I definitely deliberated over it, which is funny because people might think it’s a no-brainer to accept that battle, but I had been thinking about stepping away so [it wasn’t that easy of a decision]. Eventually, I talked it over with some of my peoples, and it only made sense. It would have been irresponsible for me not to take it. I have so many people around me, and it seemed like such a good move.

“At that time at Fight Klub, they would put money up, and there would be prize money, but then there would always be side bets going on. The night that I got there, I was outside on line, on the humble, and this guy Coop, this street dude from Jersey involved in music who was super icy with humongous diamonds and dinner plates around his neck, came up to me and was like, ‘Yo, I heard of you. I’m gonna bet on you.’

“So we stepped to the table, and they announced the $5,000 prize, which for a title fight was usually the range they would put up. And then they were asking if there were any side bets. And Coop just hopped up out of nowhere and was like, ‘Yeah, I got a thousand on Solomon.’ And he just pulled out this wad of cash and put it down on the table. For me, every battle, even when you’re confident, there are still some nerves involved. So now this street dude I just met has got more money on me, and it’s not just my reputation riding on it. So, I’m keeping a game face, but it definitely upped the ante a little bit.

“So they turn to Jin, and they’re like, ‘Yo, do you have a G? You gonna match that?’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, no problem.’ So him and his people scrape together a G. Then Coop is like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s that easy for you to get that together? I got another G on Solomon.’ And he pulled out another stack of cash and throws it down.

“I think at that point, they had tapped their pockets. So Jin’s manager took off his watch and put it on the table, which definitely was shiny and had some stones on there. It was probably [worth] a couple grand. Definitely enough to cover the extra G.

“I thought the battle was gonna go to overtime, because I had seen the Serius Jones vs. Jin battle, and I thought Jones had washed him, but they still pushed it to overtime because Jin had been freestyling. So I’m ready to keep going and going.

 

I came back with the actual freestyle shit about him complaining that I was not freestyling. And then I think in the end, the line [where I compared his career to Canibus], and then, ‘He said ‘I Quit’ and came right back, he wanna be Jigga.’ I think wordplay and punchlines go a long way, but then when you say something actually about real life, and you can paint a picture of what somebody’s doing in a negative light, it hits home harder.

 

“My first round, I used his name [throughout the rhyme], and that kind of worked. And I think now, a lot of people use that model. I had done that at another Fight Klub battle that hadn’t come out, so that was the first time [people saw that style of battling on videotape].

“He and I had battled years ago at Braggin’ Rights. He won Braggin’ Rights, and I came in like third or fourth, and he beat me along the way, so he was trying to bring that up. To me, as an MC, it was clear that he had mapped out that whole story, and it was not a complete spur-of-the-moment freestyle. But he was trying to play that card.

“Then I came back with the actual freestyle shit about him complaining that I was not freestyling. And then I think in the end, the line [where I compared his career to Canibus], and then, ‘He said ‘I Quit’ and came right back, he wanna be Jigga.’ I think wordplay and punchlines go a long way, but then when you say something actually about real life, and you can paint a picture of what somebody’s doing in a negative light, it hits home harder. I think him talking about an old battle where he beat me didn’t carry as much weight as the observations I was making about his career.

“So the judges picked me, and now there’s this stack of five grand, and the two thousand from Coop, and the one grand from them, and this crazy watch. And Coop just scrapes it all to our side of the table. He’s like, ‘Do you want the cash or the watch?’ And I look at his dinner plate of diamonds on his chest, and I look at my rent bills, and I was like, ‘Coop, I don’t have nothing that matches that watch, and it looks like you have plenty. I’ll take the money.’ It was maybe the non-rapper decision, but it was the wise decision.

 

I get a laugh thinking about the limit at the ATM machine, and Jin’s whole crew on line trying to [get the money] to buy the watch back.

 

“I stayed upstairs [after the battle] to talk to Nick and Sean Price [who was a judge] and get my money right. Joell Ortiz was a judge too. Sean P had this group named Twelve Monkeys that I was supposed to be in that never came to fruition. They all showed love. And being at Fight Klub, I’ve been able to make a lot of connections and network with a lot of other artists. They understand the dedication to the lyricism and the pressure that’s on you when you’re in that arena.

“Anyway, downstairs is always mayhem afterwards with everybody wildin’. And Jin was running around asking where I was, and asking about the watch. I wasn’t there, but Coop told me [he said to Jin], ‘Yeah, I have the watch. If you want it back, you gotta buy it back,’ because he put it up as collateral. I get a laugh thinking about the limit at the ATM machine, and Jin’s whole crew on line trying to [get the money] to buy the watch back. And [eventually they got the money together] and bought it back.

“To be honest, I’m like my own worst critic. I usually don’t watch battles until months after they come out, because all I can see are my flaws and mistakes. It’s fun to watch them and re-live that moment, and I look super skinny in that video so that’s fun too [Laughs]. But I think it was dope, and I definitely analyze it if I watch it. I look at what I could’ve done better, and what I would do better next time.”

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