Lyrical Fangs: A Conversation with PIFF (aka Pennywise Jr.)

In addition to their passion for producing Italian production combo ManZu Beatz have become sort of a two-man talent scout for quality underground spitters.  In the past two years they have sought out and exposed emerging talent including M Doc Diego, YNX716 and Crotona P

Now they have linked up with Bull City (aka Durham, NC) emcee PIFF who also goes by the moniker of Pennywise Jr for a gritty eight-trackmusical execution entitled The Assassination (dropping on 12/2/21).
PIFF’s dark lyrical narratives are not horrorcore but definitely don’t shy away from the grim realities of the hood and society as a whole.  This is evident throughout the EP including guest fire from M Doc Diego, Indigo Phoenyx, T. Merciless, Irie-1 and B-Maculate

He has also just released another installment in his new War Lord EP series (War Lord 2.5) which is available in digital and limited physical edition via his bandcamp page.
Below is our conversation with the emcee himself.

INTERVIEW

For our readers who haven’t peeped your catalogue yet, when did you start releasing music?   Has your style changed since the beginning and if so, why?

Peace. So, I have been putting out physicals of my music since 1999 on tape and CD. I would say 2017 was the first time I released my music to the digital world. In regards to my style. Yes, I would say I have grown a lot over the years. I’m never comfortable though. I like to explore different avenues which can change my delivery at times.

So, is Pennywise Jr. your alias or were you creating music under that name previously?  A lot of folks don’t know the old late 80’s TV version of IT (with Tim Curry from Rocky Horror as Pennywise) which I actually prefer, did you ever catch that one or did you first catch the recent two-part movie?

So Pennywise Jr. came from my youngest daughter. We both like scary movies and she loves Pennywise and says I’m crazy like him. So, I ran with it and added “Jr” on the end because I’m a Junior. Also I see that Ras Kass uses Pennywise as his alias already so I added on Pennywise Jr. in 2017. I have seen the original. Tim Curry has always been scary to me. LOL

I have to admit I am not familiar with Bull City, considering you were raised in Baltimore (correct?) which locale had more of an impact on you as an artist?  Is there an active scene for boom-bap in bull city currently?

So yes. I’m from Baltimore MD. I moved to Durham, North Carolina aka (Bull City) in 2009. I would say Baltimore has definitely impacted me as an emcee. Most of my friends back home rap or dee-jay. I miss the Baltimore rap scene. Being in Durham NC, has helped me understand the culture here better. I have done collaborations with a few artists from NC. My style has changed some from being here in the south. As far as the music scene here in Durham, yes there is an active scene here, not much in the way of Boom-bap but hip hop in general. There are venues popping up everywhere.  

Your bio also says you are a business owner, if you don’t mind us asking what type of business do you have? and do you also find enjoyment in that aspect of your life?  

Yes, I have two companies under one umbrella. New Look Services is my company’s name. I started this company in 2014. I provide commercial and residential carpet and upholstery cleaning and Power-washing and landscaping services. I find it a blessing to be a business owner. Would not change it for the world!

So when ManZu approach you to do a project together, did you give them any idea of which kind of tracks your vibe to the most?  or did they hit you with a pack to select from?

So, ManZu sent me over a pack. I chose the beats and came with the title and direction of the EP. From there history was made! S/O to my guy ManZu!

I know you also just released a new edition of your “War Lord” EP’s. how does that release differ from The Assassination and do you write to the beat or do you collect concepts and rhymes and then put them to beats?

Yes, War Lord is a series. Latest EP is (War Lord 2.5) produced by F. Plus I dropped this EP on November 5th 2021. I would say that The Assassination is a different affair beat wise and flow wise. I took my time with the writing on the Assassination EP. I wanted to show my story telling capabilities more to the beats selected. I have grown a lot from the writing on this project. ManZu is a monster on the beat making and I felt every track!

One of the joints on The Assassination “Jim” was a dope storytelling joint about an everyday character in the hood, can you give us some insight into how that one came about and was inspired by? 

Nice. So “Jim” was a thought I had came up with. I just started writing about a guy doing dirt and wasn’t watching what was really going on around him. Once I got to the third verse, I got and idea. I messaged T. Merciless and gave him the formula and he ran with it. Very proud of the outcome of the track. ManZu beat defiantly inspired me to tell a grimy story!

Can you tell us some notable emcees you may have collaborated with up to this point and if you have any future, one’s locked in for the near future?

Yes so, I have worked with a lot of artists in my past. All are dope and all have their own style. Just to name a few of my favorites would be Manstar, Fee, Boycott, P-Tag B-MAC Darkness, Juice Gawd, T. Merciless, The Real CEO and Azim the Beast. Plus I’m locking in with a dope artist everyone knows very soon. Keeping this project low key. Stay tuned!

Thanks for your time besides what I have asked is there any other information you want to impart to our readers?

Thank you for inviting me. The Assassination drops on December 2nd. Me and ManZu will make history. We invite you all to join us as we celebrate the culture and his baby girls birthday! I would love for the listeners/readers to go visit my Bandcamp site and check out my music. I would invite the listeners/readers to follow me on IG for updates and exclusive merch drops! Link below!

PIFF IG: https://www.instagram.com/darealpiff/

MANZU BEATZ IG: https://www.instagram.com/manzubeatz

BANDCAMP: https://piffpennywisejr.bandcamp.com

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