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The Break Presents: Jimmy Wopo

Ben Dipko
Ben Dipko

The city of Pittsburgh is known for a few things. The Pittsburgh Steelers, making steel and producing two of the biggest rappers in hip-hop today: Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller. However, there’s a new generation of rappers starting to make their new path to prominence. One of the best and brightest is Jimmy Wopo.

The 20-year-old charismatic spitta paints vivid pictures in his street tales, giving a bird’s eye view of the streets in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood where he grew up. The song that proves why Wopo is a standout is his breakout track “Elm Street.” No words are wasted as he spits about how he survives the streets, all over eerie keys. Combine that with Wopo’s newest mixtape, Jordan Kobe, and it’s clear the rhymer has promise.

“The Jordan Kobe mixtape title is based around a project building on Chauncey Drive in the Hill District in Pittsburgh, Pa.,” he tells XXL over the phone. “Me and my boys had the key to this abandoned apartment on the first floor and the address was 2423, and we had so much fun that summer. We went through so much shit together, and that crib was the last good memory we all had with my friend, Lumber, who passed away after the summer. On my remix to ‘No Heart,’ I said, ‘We on that deuce-four, two-three Jordan Kobe,’ and that bar was just so lit if you know where I was coming from.”

With the Jordan Kobe tape behind him, he’s set his sights on a potential project with Sonny Digital, which could come later this year. Collaboration can only bolster his fan base. Jimmy Wopo looks to be the next rap star out of the Steel City.

“Some artists get to a certain point and they just start to put scrap together,” he explains. “You can just tell on some jams that the rapper doesn’t even care. Niggas know he lit so he just going to drop shit. Me, I don’t see myself ever getting like that. I will always put 10 in. I will always go extra, I will always go hard.”

Get to know more about Jimmy Wopo in XXL‘s The Break.

Age: 20

Hometown: Pittsburgh

I grew up listening to: “I grew up listening to a lot of local music in Pittsburgh, 50 Cent, The Game, Dipset. I was listening to Chief Keef a lot when I was getting older, Meek Mill too. I was listening to Meek way before he blew, when he was battle rapping.

“My mom called the radio before when I was a young nigga. They used to have this shit on 106.7 WAMO, ‘If you got flow, let us know.’ You call up the station and they ask you to rap. My mom called it and I rapped on the show. I was probably like 7 years old. I was cussin’ like a muthafucka. A couple of niggas was like, ‘I heard you on the radio.’ [My mom] always remember that story. It was a big moment.

“I started taking things serious when I was 18. When I got with Taylor Maglin [my manager], I started taking it super serious. I just got shot and had a newborn. A lot of people were talking to me about how my raps are amazing and I could really turn it into something. People we’re just saying it to me; I started to build a following. It was really happening. I started to do little shows for $200 and verses for $150 when I was younger. It was my little hustle and I thought I could get into this instead of [being in the streets]. I had two pending cases so I had to cool out.

“I stay away from the bullshit and I know how to stay in my lane. I give back and hopefully that goes a long way for me. I look out as much as I could.  I’m a father now so that’s always in the back of my mind. Stay positive as much as you could and keeping myself active.”

My style’s been compared to: “On a couple of jams, like ‘Elm City,’ they say I have an Eazy-E sound. When I heard that I kind of agreed a little bit to that shit. People say I got a West Coast sound. Me myself, I just think [my sound] is original, I can be anywhere.”

Most people don’t know: “Most people don’t know that I want to make a difference. When I get money, I’m going to give back. If I get a good amount, I’ll help get better everywhere. I’m into football and basketball and all that shit.”

My standout records/moment to date so far: “This show I just had might have been my favorite moment. It was small show, sold out 500 [capacity venue] and I had all my niggas there. It was super lit. Everybody knew all the words. I felt like I was really on that day. I got to keep doing that, keep selling these venues out. That shit feel good. My favorite jams that broke me out is probably ‘Ayo.’ I like that the most.”

My goal in hip-hop: “I don’t want to be no one-hit nigga or two years and gone nigga. I want to be on and be in the industry for a long time. And get into some other shit; I’m not a faker. If I do this, I’m doing it all the way and get into all the entertainment shit I can get into. Keep money coming in.”

I’m going to be the next: “The next legend. I’m trying to do what a lot of niggas did in the game. I’m definitely going to stamp my shit and represent where I came from.”

Follow Jimmy Wopo on Twitter and SoundCloud

Standouts: Jordan Kobe

Muney Lane Musik

“Elm Street 2`”

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“Bench Boy”

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“Ayo”

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