For more than 100 years, the city of New Orleans has cradled of some of the most creative musical genres in history. From the saucy sounds of street corner jazz to call-and-response chants of Mardi Gras Indians to platinum-selling Hip-Hop legends like Mannie Fresh, Lil Wayne and Master P, the Crescent City’s musical influences over generations are undeniable.
Following in the footsteps of so many great artists before him, New Orleans native son Pallo the Jiint (pronounced Giant) is up next to add to the city’s long line of momentous musicians. Riding high off his runaway independent single “Long Way From Home” featuring R&B crooner Roi Anthony, Pallo promises to bring the best of everything the Crescent City has to offer with the Summer release of his solo debut album Better Believe It.
“I’m bringing hot hits. When people see me and hear me, they gone know I am New Orleans,” Pallo contends. “I’mma give you everything you want- from the music to the talent to the swagger to the shows. I entertain. And that’s one big thing that a lot of artists are lacking.”
And he should know. Before picking up the mic, Pallo cut his teeth in music behind the boards. As a producer, he has worked with almost every influential New Orleans rapper. Everybody from famed local bounce artist Kilo to rap legend B.G. and megastar Lil Wayne show Pallo his just musical respects. As a member of production company The Architects, Pallo adds production credits to his resume for laying down tracks for Wayne’s street-praised mixtape The Drought.
“All of the artists in New Orleans know who I am,” he says. “They were waiting on me to do my thing, and now is time.”
Known to Selective Services as Jeffery Johns, Pallo was raised in New Orleans’ Mid-City section right off the busy Carrollton Avenue thoroughfare. Born into a musical family, the art of sound has been as much a part of Pallo’s life as breathing. Between neighborhood block parties, brass jazz bands parading the blocks on any given Sunday and blood cousins like renowned jazz musician Donald Harrison and family members who are a part of Rebirth and Hot 8 brass bands, he was constantly surrounded by music. So naturally, he brought his city’s rich musical traditions to Hip-Hop.
“The music was a blessing being from New Orleans,” Pallo admits. “And I’m the heart of New Orleans. I can’t help my swag because I grew up going to the second lines (parades), Mardi Gras and listening to the music.”
He continues, “It made me enjoy my city even more. Every time I leave, I miss it. I gotta come back home.”
That love for his city prompted his single “Long Way From Home.” Over bouncy, up-tempo production and fluid chant-styled rhymes, Pallo beckons Hurricane Katrina victims to return home. Instantly the song became a citywide anthem.
But Pallo’s ability to tug at hearts with sincerity is just one of his many sides. On the energetic title track, Pallo proves why he brought home the first-place trophy for The Source Magazine’s Unsigned Hype competition held in Baton Rogue, La. last year. Over infectious, bounce-infused production, he chants braggadocios rhymes with conviction.
On the gangster chronicles “Want No Trouble,” Pallo teams with platinum-selling New Orleans rapper BG. Another gem is “Game Ain’t Dead,” where he shares the booth with the late Pimp C (RIP) and UGK Records artist Vicious. But even before Better Believe It even hit the streets, the major labels have been clamoring over the product. Pallo has been approached by such major labels as Columbia, Universal, Geffen and Koch for national distribution. In no hurry to rush a decision, he is just waiting for the best offer.
“People are tired of one-hit wonders. They want a full album. They are tired of buying albums with just one hit single,” says Pallo. “It don’t matter where you are at or where you are from; you gone feel my album. I got everything people are asking for. There ain’t nothing I missed. If it’s missing, bring the album back to the store.”