poisenpen_032209_280-copy_phixrFor years, Brooklyn, New York has been the central hub for lyrical proficiency in Hip-Hop.

A strong lineage of MC’s have passed through the historical borough, while preserving the art form long enough to hand it down to those who’ve come after them.

Right now, another one of Brooklyn’s own in lyricist Poison Pen can be considered amongst those who currently hold the fort down for one of the most recognizable areas on the face of the earth.

The once battle MC now turned full-fledged artist has kept his name ringing in circles through the help the underground circuit long enough for him to emerge with his most celebrated project to date, The Money Shot.

And in this candid conversation with iHipHop, the Brooklynite with the larger than life persona spares no expense, as he takes you on an express train ride straight to his side of the tracks.

iHipHop.com: Right now your album The Money Shot is making the rounds, so for those who haven’t heard it yet, what are they in for?

Poison Pen: Sh*t man, just rowdy drunken fun, and Brooklyn music, you know what I mean? [Laughs] The rhymes always have to be sharp, but I really concentrated on having a good time with the music, that I enjoy hearing…

I worked with Gillie Da Kid, Immortal Technique, M.O.P. [Click for M.O.P. intrview], and Silkk The Shocker. So basically, it’s a drunken evening in Brooklyn, you feel me?

iHipHop.com: [Laughs]… Sounds good… Speaking of rhymes or lyrics always having to be sharp, do you feel as if that part of the game is taking a backseat right now?

Poison Pen: In a way, no… Because a lot of the newer mainstream guys know how to rhyme a little bit… Somebody like Lil Wayne may not be the illest lyricist, but he always says something witty, so it’s not like he’s on some A-B-C sh*t…

A lot of other people, and I’m not going to say any names don’t put any effort into their rhymes… So it’s two different contrasts, you know what I’m saying?

iHipHop.com: I just want to go back to your Silkk The Shocker collaboration… How did that come about?

Poison Pen: Well, Silkk [The Shocker] is actually on the West Coast now in LA… But how it got hooked up is because my manager has a relationship with his manager, and we were just talking back and fourth… So one day, he was just like, “I’m down to work, what’s up?”

For me, every time I do an album, I’m trying to do something that the people wouldn’t expect, and obviously no one would ever think that “Poison Pen” would do a record with Silkk The Shocker… It was really fun to do that record, and it was something nobody expected… Since he’s in LA he just sent his verse over, but it was a great joint man…

iHipHop.com: What’s your favorite song from the album?

Poison Pen: I tried not to play it a lot, because I didn’t want to get tired of it… You know when you record stuff, and by the time it comes out; you would’ve heard it in its entirety for like 5-6 months… But there are a lot of joints…

This album is different from the last one because Pick Your Poison was a mixtape album with a bunch of songs really… It was cool, but it really wasn’t a cohesive effort, and this album right here is more of a cohesive effort…

iHipHop.com: Was the two-year gap between Pick Your Poison and The Money Shot planned?

Poison Pen: Honestly, nah… I just had to get a better situation… Actually, last year, I dropped a mixtape but I only gave it out when I was doing live shows; I didn’t put it in the stores or anything… I pressed up 5,000 of those, and gave them out during shows… I try to stay more consistent and put out music…

Some dudes try to hit people with new music every 3-4 months, and I’m not trying to do that, but nowadays people do have a short attention span…

I’m actually slated to drop another album in March of 2010, and that’s pretty quick… Chances are we push it back, and hopefully The Money Shot does so well, I can keep working this one for a while…


poiseniHipHop.com: A lot of people are familiar with your work due to your history on the battle circuit, so when you started to switch it up, was developing song structure a little difficult?

Poison Pen: Yeah, it was very difficult… We were battling from school back in the 90’s, when we were little dudes… I jumped in the game battling, and I didn’t know anything else…

I didn’t know how to write a song, or count bars—I didn’t know nothing… I had no concept of song structure, or anything… The first song I ever wrote had no hook, I literally had a 58-bar verse…

But after a while, making songs becomes the focus, because why do you want to battle somebody wasting your energy on another dude?

Battling is a steppingstone, and I still support the battle scene; I judge battles and occasionally host them, but I just don’t see the point in me doing that anymore… I’ve been doing real music for so long, the battle bug kind of left me…

iHipHop.com: You’ve been making your rounds on the indie circuit for a while now, so is that a route you’re comfortable with, or would you align yourself with a major if given the chance?

Poison Pen: No doubt!!! I’m not one of these suckers out here fronting… Let me tell you something: A lot of these n*ggas say they’re indie, and that they want to stay indie, but they don’t have any other option…

They’re indie because they have no choice, and they need to stop fronting… Don’t front… You’re indie because no one wants to put your record out, it’s not because your standards are so high, and the industry is so shady…

I been in situations, and you can check my resume… I’ve had opportunities with major labels… I was talking to Columbia Records in ’06 and they were like, “We need you to make something like Lil Flip.” I’m from Brooklyn, how do I look doing something that sounds like Lil Flip?

Or they’ll say something like, “Your songs are hot, have you ever been shot, or have you ever been to prison?” After a while it just got ridiculous, and that was me saying that…

I wasn’t saying that because I never had an opportunity… But if the right opportunity came along; then why not?