2 Songs, 7 Minutes

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About JoJo Pellegrino

Staten Island native JoJo Pellegrino grew up with Slick Rick and other golden-age MCs as idols, and as a preteen, Pellegrino hit the streets of his neighborhood looking for further inspiration and other aspiring MCs to battle. It was there, in the Brighton and Stapleton projects, where Pellegrino realized that the road to being a recognized MC wasn't easy, yet every day he would head out into the streets with new rhymes and a knack for battling anyone with his fiery freestyling. Though Violator A&R man Eric Nicks was far from the first to recognize Pellegrino's talents, he was the man who helped the young rapper move his career forward. It wasn't long before Pellegrino's rhymes were appearing on New York mixtapes and his white label tracks in DJs' crates. Then, in summer 2001, Pellegrino realized his initial ambitions as his debut LP hit the streets via Violator/Loud; titled Pellegrino Story, the album chronicled the world through Pellegrino's seasoned eyes, along with his lifelong struggle to escape the street corners and become a respected MC. Featuring production work by LT Hutton, Shim, Calogero, and Giz, along with guest rappers such as, most notably, Busta Rhymes, Method Man, and Kurupt -- in addition to Pellegrino's real-life rhymes -- Pellegrino Story proved that the young Italian-American was more than just another exploitative white rapper. During the following decade, he contributed to numerous albums, compilations, and mixtapes, and he released the hard-hitting singles "Devastate" (2010), "Top of the World" (2012), and "My Borough" (2015), among others. ~ Jason Birchmeier

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