Here’s a new (and rare) interview with Jojo Pellegrino, one of the top MCs to come from Staten Island, and that’s saying a lot. Over the past few years, Jojo has popped up on a track here, a track there, but there’s been nothing to sustain the plethora of JJP fans that still scream, “South Shore son, ain’t nothin’ nice!” ‘cause “Where I’m From” never left their playlist. The Pride of South Shore is back with a new album, Pellegrino Flow, dropping soon. As JJP will say, it was slated for a July 18th, release, but he got locked up and that delayed the promo.
Catching up with Jojo was a great conversation about where he’s been, his creative process, how his mentality in the game has changed over the years, his relationship with Cappadonna, the best advice Chris Lighty gave him, and, of course, South Shore, his tanning game, and hanging with Angelina of reality show fame. This interview is a must-listen.
Here are some quotes from the feature:
On his new album Pellegrino Flow:
Pellegrino Flow, on my “Fuggetaboutit” record, I said, “The Pellegrino flow, don’t ever doubt it.” ANd I had another record called “Pellegrino Flow” when I was signed to Violator. With the Pellegrino flow, it’s unorthodox, man. It could be anything. It doesn’t always have to be some Italian shit or some South Shore shit or whatever. It could be some fast shit, it could be some raw shit. It’s everything combined. I actually have an album that’s my baby and that’s really got a whole different theme to it, but right now I’m reintroducing myself to the game and Pellegrino Flow is the way I chose to do it. Nice and simple, you’re going to get everything I’m capable of on this album and I’m really, really ecstatic to give it to the people.
On remembering Chris Lighty today:
I remember Chris Lighty as a very straightup person. A lot of the lessons that he tried to teach me, man-to-man, I didn’t get them as the young guy that I was, but I get them now. I think back and reflect often on Chris Lighty, even now. Out of all the things he said to me, a lot of it didn’t make sense to me when I was younger. I was wild and I was a rebel. A lot of the things Chris Lighty told me are just starting to make sense to me now. When I wind up in a situation something that he said to me might pop into my mind and I say, “Wow, here I am years later, applying the knowledge that he passed me then to get through this now.” I always got respect for Chris Lighty. I got love for him. Rest in peace forever. Shout out his brothers and family. Really, there was only one Chris Lighty. There will never be another one. I’m sure of that.
On the best advice Chris Lighty gave him:
Some of the best advice he gave me was simple things, like everybody gets a turn. So while you’re bouncing around worried about when your project is coming out, it’s hard to tell a young guy to chill out, but if you could embrace the fact that everybody gets a turn, everybody gets a turn. Another piece of advice he gave me was that when you’re hot, they answer the phone. When you’re not, they don’t answer the phone. Another great piece of advice he gave me was that, “I know that you’re a human being, but sensitivity and emotions and all that stuff, it hurts you in this business.” He gave me endless advice, man. Those are just some of the endless things that repeat in my mind.
On his classic Hitman 4 Hire mixtape:
I think back on that mixtape and I reflect on it like, “Wow, that was something else, man.” You know, hand-to-hand, we were one of the first mixtapes to come out. We sold 18,000 of those damn things. I think about my management team, my man Grain and Debo. They were working hard and I was watching them really elbow their way into the business. They were in Lyor Cohen’s office and Jay-Z and Murder, Inc. We were really doing our thing. We received Mixtape of the Month on MTV with Sway. It got me a lot of attention. I got a flawless review on XXL. I reflect on it and I think back to myself it’s the inspiration I need to let me know that I still got it and that the people really appreciated the music and they appreciated the music and they saw it for what it was because if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t have got Mixtape of the Month and it wouldn’t have sold so many copies. I wouldn’t have had these guys giving me all their time and energy on it to have success on it. I really think back on it and get proud and then inspired to do the next one.
Pellegrino Flow Trailer