New York, N.Y. -- Think a battle rap champion like
can't excel as a recording artist? Then you desperately need a refresher course in hip-hop history--do the names "
" or "
" (to pick just two of many possible examples) ring any bells? Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating; anyone who still doesn't believe that the NYC emcee and producer is as much of a
in the studio as he is in a freestyle tournament need only take a listen to his debut album to be confronted with the error of their ways. Released to record stores and online retailers yesterday, March 27, via
, the project comes heralded by DJBooth-acclaimed singles "
" and "
Polo Perks Is Building a Future From Pieces of the Past
We talk to the Surf Gang artist about microdosing alternative music in his raps.
, Iron Solomon steps into The DJBooth to discuss his deepest fears ("Monsters" ain't one of them.), his musical influences, and his experiences at South by Southwest 2012.
Your brand new album, Monster, dropped earlier this week. Were you afraid of monsters as a child?
No. I was not afraid of monsters as a child. One of my favorite movies was "Little Monsters" with Fred Savage and that was cool as sh*t. I grew up in NY so as a little kid the crack epidemic had created enough walking zombies that it made horror movies seem like Child's Play. Pun intended. I was afraid of murderers and burglars. I was like 8-years-old with intricate karate plans of how I was gonna f**k sh*t up of anyone tried to break into our crib.
As it pertains to your recording career, what are you most afraid of?
I'm most afraid of people not fully embracing what I have to bring to the table because of things that go beyond the actual quality of the music we create. My appearance, my history in battles, or any other reason someone might write me off. That and not getting to work with my idols before they decide to stop making music or aren't around anymore.
Artists never like to compare their material or sound to other artists. But for someone unfamiliar with your work, whose sonic landscape has influenced your work on Monster?
Production-wise, I'd say Organized Noize, Kanye West and Just Blaze are pretty good reference points. Of course I'm influenced by EVERYBODY though, Quincy Jones, Rock Rubin, DJ Premier, Nottz, The Trackmasters, Dr. Dre, The Hitmen, The Neptunes, Pete Rock, Scarface, Alchemist, DJ Toomp, The RZA, 40, Boi1da, Saukrates, Lex Luger, Pete Rock, Eminem, the list goes on. Lyrically Jay-Z is one of my favorites, his wordplay and entendre game incredible, Nas paints a really vivid picture, and Eminem's structure and incessant flow patterns are retarded. I think those are great reference points, without being too grandiose of course, ha! Again though my influences are EVERYONE. Biggie, Big Pun, Kanye West, Andre 3000, Tupac, Jadakiss,Cee-Lo, etc...I won't bore you with another rap list, ha!
What do you tell someone, who doesn't believe that a "battle rapper" can create a complete listening experience on an album?
Buy my album. Or stream it. Or illegally download it. It will change your mind.
You recently returned home from this year's SXSW Music Festival. Describe the experience using at least two synonyms of the word "monster."
The collage of different bands and people was
. After a week of sleepless grinding I was a f**king
How can readers find out more about you, your music, and the release of Monster?
Go to my website
where pretty much all my music, videos, interviews, freestyles, battles, show dates, bio, everything is on there. Also go to DJBooth.net!!! You guys have done an amazing job covering all my releases with really informative an insightful reviews.