Behind many of the up-and-coming rappers that pack out intimate venues, inciting crowds of a mere few hundred to arena rave levels, are fascinating hometown stories. Prodigal sons and daughters of close-knit communities, armed with small-town values and big-town dreams.
One such story concerns Jimmy Wopo, an upstart from the Hill District in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who’s working to put his name on the city’s rap hall of fame along with Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa. Today MASS APPEAL.
“I want it to be like, ‘Man, we used to hit Wopo after the games,’” he says, at the beginning of the doc, as he daps up small packs of schoolchildren and tyke footballers, “Just something to look back on, you know, just in case they ever go through something where they got beef with each other.”
It’s been a roller-coaster year for the 20-year-old rapper, who was released from jail after serving two months for violating his parole, and promptly thrust to the forefront of an incoming new wave of relevant “Pixburgh” rappers, thanks in large part to tracks like, “First Day Out” and his remix of Tay-K’s “The Race.” Collectively, those music videos have gained over one million views on YouTube, and Wopo is showing no signs of slowing down.
In his new mini-doc with MASS APPEAL, he aims to pay the wisdom he’s gained during his rise forward to the subsequent generation, his peers, and his fans.
Above, you’ll see Wop touch his community in a way that might make another rap city jealous. Pittsburgh has witnessed the ascents of intimate stars like Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller, two rappers that would quicker do an interview with a local blog than a national outlet, even as their careers began to take off. Wop, as if to echo this sentiment, can feel his plane beginning to pick up speed down the runway. And he’ll be damned if it takes off and leaves The Hill in the jet stream.