You got an exceptional amount of hate in your HipHopGame journal. Why?
Man, it went all over the site! Do you have a long list of haters who try to get at you in the worst way?
What do they say, like, ‘Fuck you, 730’ and shit like that?
Someone told me to go kill myself.
(laughs) I got the same dude! I’m telling you, your site’s nuts, bro. All you need now is a good thing to happen, like a hater from the comment column to get killed by a rap artist. The headlines for that would be huge!
Why do you get so much hate on the site?
I get so much hate because dudes are just envious, man. I don’t mean to brag or boast, but there’s only one Jojo Pellegrino. There’s only one! You can’t find me another one. You might find someone who claims to be something that I am, but I’m special, bro. Some of the dudes who hate on me on the website, they say some of the most hurtful, hateful things. But then when I start flooding music on the site, they say it’s hot.
They’re just mad because when they don’t see you moving, they think you’re wack and they think you can’t be successful. But they don’t know the trials and tribulations of a motherfucker like myself goes through. I think that’s what it is because these motherfuckers want to do what I do. Half of these kids are white kids and they can’t stand the fact that another white kid is doing what they wish they could do. They could never be anywhere on my radar like that. So instead of admiring that and saying that it’s hot, they’re hating.
So you’re saying there’s some serious white-on-white crime.
Yeah, yo! The white-on-white thing is serious, yo. If you’re white and you make beats, it’s like the white producers hate on each other. White rappers automatically hate on other white rappers. I don’t. It just so happens that some white rappers are some of the corniest rappers in the world. I don’t hate on white rappers. I was in a group of all Italian kids back in the day. I don’t hate on these kids. Most of these white kids that rap wear baggy songs and use the N-word loosely and talk about how they’re Muslims and they’re corny. I think that’s why motherfuckers hate on Jojo Pellegrino because I just got it. I got it. Even white rappers who are incredible and mastered the art, they still don’t got what I have. I don’t hate on it. I spread love.
Would Eminem sign Jojo Pellegrino? I would love to be under that umbrella. What? That would be a dream come true. And anyone that came his way, I would chop their head off and I would ride with him to the end. I don’t care if what color he is. It’s crazy. I don’t know. The white-on-white shit is fucking crazy!
Was signing with Eminem ever a possibility?
Eminem’s camp has always showed me love, like Paul Rosenberg. Certain people in his camp would probably be very upset if he heard what his people have said. They said Eminem would never sign me because I’m white. I refuse to think that. The kid looks like a cool kid. He contributed a lot of good stuff to hip-hop music and a lot of people don’t want to see us together. I can’t say if Eminem would act like that. I mean, he’s got Alchemist around, right? If he really hated on white people, he wouldn’t have Alchemist around him. That’s nice. That’s dope. I would like to hear him rap on some Alchemist beats and shit. But I’ve never witnessed Eminem hating on anybody because they were white.
Was doing the journal on HipHopGame a good move?
Well, first off, I don’t regret anything I do. It was a privilege to have a journal and to be able to let motherfuckers know what I’m thinking. But once again, it’s a classic case of dude’s not being able to grasp what I’m thinking. Dudes are corny. Dudes are like real, real, real corny. They kind of sit behind the computer and watch other dude’s real lives and they sit behind the corner and they say little shit and they come up with their own conclusion, but they don’t see what things are really about.
I’m not a journalist. I’m an MC. The reason why I stopped with the journal is because I wanted to let the music speak for itself. Whenever somebody is talking, trying to put you onto something, it’s not as powerful as when they show you. The journal is just talking and talking and talking, telling people about what’s going on and what’s going on with these cornballs out here. It’s more powerful for me when I put it across in a song. I don’t regret doing the journal, but these dudes just can’t grasp half of the shit I was doing in the journal.
What was the best hate message you got?
To be honest, I didn’t get any messages sent directly to me. Every once in awhile I would go into the infamous HipHopGame comment columns. The only people that write in those columns are the fans who are infatuated with you and just can’t seem to get enough of you. That’s the first thing you have to grasp. If a man or a female takes the time out to observe you and study you and say some shit to you…I hate typing. That’s another reason why the journal was a pain in the ass. I wish I could write it to you and send it in the mail. These dudes go out of their way and type paragraphs and all that. That’s flattery, yo.
I would love to get all these dudes to work for me for $100 a day on the Pellegrino Street Team. Say good things or bad things, but just go say my name to everybody. And you get these messages. Sometimes people tell you to go kill yourself or “Fuck you.” You could just tell though that most of these kids in the comment column, they’re corny kids, man. (laughs) These kids are real, real corny. They just sit here and say some wild shit. In the beginning, that shit used to affect me and shit. I was like, ‘Damn, dude, these dudes are really some hating-ass motherfuckers’ and I couldn’t even understand it because I go out of my way to represent these kids. I know these are little white kids from all over middle America and from other countries and I’m representing these kids, not just because they’re white, but it just so happens that they’re being represented by me. So to be hated on by them, overall, it does hurt as an MC because I’m here to gain fans, but you can’t tell me where I’m at.
I battled myself on records in 2000 and I never put it out. Maybe I should have put it out. I killed hip-hop in a record on a beat produced by E-Millz. They asked me what I would do if I saw hip-hop in the streets like he was a dude. Basically we had a real emotional conversation and I popped him in the head. I killed hip-hop way before Nas ever said it was dead. These kids can say whatever they want to say. It’s all promotion, both good and bad.
Hitman 4 Hire is probably your best project to date and that’s almost seven years old…
(interrupts) That was hosted by DJ Kay Slay. It’s a lot of original music and a couple of freestyle tracks that I couldn’t resist doing. That was in the magazines. My man Bonsu at XXL waited for the issue to drop and gave me a great review next to Nas’ God’s Son album. I appreciate that. MTV gave me mixtape of the month for that mixtape. It really got great reviews, man. And with the title, I was referencing being a free agent, not claiming to be a murderer that you could pay money to to go kill somebody. It’s just crazy, man. That’s kind of like Flawless Execution. Hitman 4 Hire was to let dudes know that I was a free agent and at that time in my career, I was still waiting for somebody to come by with big money and do everything for me. I realize now that self-reliance is key. Nobody out there has the balls and the heart and the patience to go and try to take you from zero to 100, but if you can take yourself from zero to 60, zero to 40 or zero to 50, that’s when you get everybody’s attention and they want to take you to 100.
Hitman 4 Hire was a classic mixtape and now Flawless Execution has me executing flawlessly everything that I want to do. I could put out 15 mixtapes a year but I don’t want to be played out before I come out. I have over a million songs but I don’t want to just leak them out. I spent money on the records to make and I busted my ass on them. Some of them I did across the country and now I’m putting them out. That’s really what’s up.
The fact that it’s been seven years since Hitman 4 Hire, how overdue is a new project?
It’s extremely overdue! But let me just say something, Hitman 4 Hire will be available along with Flawless Execution and PellaFreestyles. We put some remixes and new tracks on that and now it’s PellaFeestyles. The Pella project is mad overdue but one thing that people need to keep in mind is that even though Jojo Pellegrino has been killing it ever since you can remember, I’m still a new artist. I have never released an album. I’m a brand-new, spanking new artist. I’m very overdue and I’m glad I didn’t pop off yet. This shit looks more and more fun every day. I want to get this future money.
The game went digital and I would have drowned along with everybody else if I would have already popped off. Everything went digital. People say, “Big deal, Jojo’s putting out an album digitally.” Then it comes out that Dre is putting out Detox, the most anticipated album in hip-hop, digitally. I guess I’m not that stupid after all. I want to be a part of the future game. You can’t go buy no more music in stores. You have to get money and get on the road yourself. I want to be a part of that. I don’t want to be a slave to the rhythm where I get $50 grand and he collects all my backend money and without him I ain’t shit. As much as I’m overdue on the project, right now is the time.
All of these dudes who came up under me and all these lyrically-respected MCs, they got at me when I was on and when I had $150,000 in the bank and a Land Cruiser and I was chilling out with all nice shit. I had love for these dudes. And a lot of these dudes, they got lost in the game now, didn’t they? They got lost in the game, didn’t they? But there’s no more of this slave to the rhythm shit and that’s what I’m going to do right now. They can put albums out digitally and sell 10,000 albums. Motherfucker, I thought you were a star. You’re bragging about being a star. A lot of dudes hate on JJP because they don’t want to see him come up, but when I put the album out digitally, I’m going to move some nice units because I go overseas and I make friends everywhere and I stand on the corners.
My goals are not to sell 10 to 15,000. My goals are to sell 150,000. Even if I don’t sell that on the first album, which would be a great accomplishment, digitally, I’ll do it on the other projects. I have all this wild shit. And at the same time, things are going great for me. I’m doing big things. I’m just doing everything I can at once to make everything as big as possible and to keep showing dudes my star quality.
I don’t know if you want me to keep rambling on, but I got a nice situation right now with Lions Gate Films for Pellavision. These dudes came to me and told me they love my music and asked why the fuck I wasn’t out. These are corporate motherfuckers! They’ve done all sorts of these wild things and this production company is telling me that they need to tell my story. I tell them that Jojo Pellegrino isn’t no star right now, but it’s bigger than Jojo Pellegrino and hip-hop music. It’s the story of a kid growing up in Staten Island in racially-tense times who was willing to give up everything for a chance in the rap game. It’s all real stories and it’s all true shit. And when you’re watching it, you’ll forget what it’s about and that its’ about a rapper. It’s called Closer to my Dreams. We’re going to have some nice, sexy screenings and try to get it to MTV or BET or have it be put out as a major production. That’d be a dream come true. Come on, man, what I’m going through is more unique than these fucking dudes and that’s why right now this story needs to be told and that’s why I’m hitting them with these projects. I’m putting the Closer to my Dreams DVD out and trying to get it commercially-released on a big, big level, man. I still feel that what I went through in the ‘90s is what people are going through in the rap game right now. I’m proud to be doing this shit right now.
You talk a great game, but can you see how people want to see more music and less talk?
Yeah, and that’s what’s important. Flawless Execution is coming in the next couple of weeks and whether or not they go out and get it and stay true to themselves, that’s up to them. People are still listening to Hitman 4 Hire and they’re mad that I haven’t put anything else out. They have a right to feel that way. But I’m giving them something flawless and that’s going to be available for them to get. It doesn’t have a billion dollar marketing budget but it’s a major company putting it out. They’re distributing it digitally and you’re going to be able to cop the music right there and get the artwork and the credits and everything is going to be official and well put-together. That’s going to be dropping in the next couple of weeks.
How would you compare Flawless Execution to Hitman 4 Hire?
Actually, man, Flawless Execution is Hitman 4 Hire on steroids. It’s soulful. It hits you in the soul for real. It’s real good music. Real good music! It’s a kid telling his story. This is the goal with Flawless Execution – to flawlessly execute and have the people know who I am, where I’m coming from, what I’ve been through and what I’m going towards. Flawless Execution is not full of a bunch of pop records. It’s not full of a whole bunch of club records. I have a ton of those records, but those were made with the intention of having a big budget and those will be done next. This album is for the fans who love hip-hop music. This isn’t one of them underground albums. This is a big album, but it’s got incredible music on it. It’s not just for the streets. It’s got incredible music on it. It’s for the fans who want to be a fan of somebody new. It’s an incredible album and they’re going to love it.
And it’s going to set me up properly for Closer to my Dreams to be released, the documentary and short film. It’s going to set everything up perfectly. And I got the other album but I’m not going to put the name put because then there will be another million fucking people trying to bite me like they always do. That’s going to be the biggest fucking album ever released and that’s when I’m going to stomp a mudhole in the world, for real, for real. For real, for real. Dudes can’t fuck with me. I wish I could put that out now to show dudes can’t fuck with me. Dudes can’t fuck with me and I have to set it up right. It’s a business and I gotta do it properly.
Dudes want me to put something out for the clubs and take a beat that I paid $10,000 for and just throw it out there. It’s like fish bait. Why would I just throw it out in the ocean? The fans don’t understand. They just want to comment and say what they wanna say, but things gotta be done properly. But I gotta put out Flawless Execution and then I’m going for it. I’m trying to be the biggest rapper in the world and the biggest artist and I gotta go for it because I still have the same love and respect for this music that I had when I was a little kid when I was calling up Stretch Armstrong’s show at 3 am and waking up everyone in my house to freestyle. Big up to Stretch. I just spoke to Stretch last night. I love hip-hop music. I’m not claiming to be a big Mafioso boss and all of that. It ain’t about all of that. When you hear the name “Pellegrino”, don’t make assumptions. I’m 100% hip-hop. That’s what my nationality is. That’s what I do. That’s who I am. That’s what separates me from all these other dudes and that’s how we’re doing it right now.
You were going to mess with Babygrande at one point last fall. What happened with them?
They were dragging their feet. We were supposed to have a meeting. I spoke to Chuck on the phone. I was ready to give him the meat and potatoes, the real heavy, heavy shit. And he was telling me on the level I was looking to go that he wouldn’t recommend this and he said he would have had to hold my music for at least three or four months before it could come out. I respected that shit. I believed in Babygrande and I still do. The dude’s a smart dude and he has a dope company and I believe that he has what it takes to create a star and he has relationships in high places, but I don’t see no stars. I don’t see anything out there through his label and I was looking to be that dude right there, but again, it’s another classic case of someone not being able to grasp what it is.
You called out your old manager Eric Nix in your HipHopGame journal but now it seems like you guys are cool. What’s going on with you guys?
We have a crazy relationship. Through it all, that’s my brother. Eric put me on. He gave me my shot and he sacrificed a lot. He put his reputation on the line for that. Eric’s taking a break from the music. He went through so many different positions and record labels and he didn’t get what he wanted so he’s actually out of the game right now and we’re just friends. I used to tell him all the time, “E Nix, you could make this happen. I could be the biggest star in the world.” I know Eric Nix and you could tell that the game was starting to get to him too. Whether or not he was telling me everything straight up, that’s a different story, but I can’t get mad at him. He’s a Virgo like me so I understand all his thought patterns and stuff like that.
He used to grab his balls and take chances. I’m telling you, every rapper would go to him for help and he would help everybody. The whole Violator staff and all the rappers would all come to him to ask for favors and help. And when all those artists started to go through their own situations, I think Eric started to become more of a guy who just wanted to get his check every week and just do what he had to do for his family. I think he might have lost his lust for being groundbreaking and introducing the world to new artists. Eric matters to LL Cool J and even LL Cool J goes through trials and tribulations as an artist. I think seeing LL go through that made Eric just want to get his check and just do what he had to do when he was working at a record label.
What’s the next move for you?
Well, what I’m doing right now is every day I’m with these Lions Gate dudes and CinaFilm dudes and we’re shooting every day and we have been for a month and a half. I’m putting the finishing touches on Flawless Execution and I have to turn that in. We’re really going to market that shit right. HipHopGame is getting everything first. I haven’t released any of these records and HipHopGame is my team right there. If you stay in tune with HipHopGame, you’ll stay in tune with JJP because that’s my team right now. So I’m putting Flawless Execution out and this movie is coming out crazy. We’re just getting ready to put this thing out and we’re going hard. I’m doing another mixtape with Kay Slay and that’s going to shut everybody up. That’s going to break a lot of rules as usual. I’m just going to keep on putting that work in and hitting it from every angle.