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Supporting a six-foot-tall, 300-pound frame, fierce rap lyricist Poison Pen became a promising MC after trailblazing through New York's freestyle-battle scene in the mid- to late '90s. After entering the Blaze Battle competition in 1999, the Brooklyn-born rapper exited the scene as a contender and wound up hosting multiple sessions of Da Cypha Emcees' Battle, another distinguished rhyme-battling forum. He also proceeded on to a recording career, helping found the Stronghold collective, which also counts N.Y. underground rappers C-Rayz Walz, Breeze Evahflowin', and Immortal Technique among its members. Poison Pen first cut a few 12" records for Nervous and Brick Records, including his official debut, "Top of the Food Chain"; moreover, he also penned songs for popular video games Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and The Warriors. As his reputation continued to grow, his recordings were becoming more in-demand, but the Brooklyn rapper didn't have too much to offer through most of the 2000s. In fact, during the mid-2000s, Poison Pen recorded a slew of guest verses for other various, yet top-ranking, underground rappers' material, including contributions to MF Doom's Venomous Villain (2004), Vast Aire's Look Mom... No Hands (2004), and the Molemen's Killing Fields (2006). His first properly released solo effort, the Pick Your Poison: The Mark of the East mixtape, hit shelves in early 2007. Hosted by fellow Stronghold MC Immortal Technique, the mixtape received distribution through Fontana/Universal.