An example that in battle rap hard work and persistence pays off, Toronto up-and-comer Peppe started battling as in Beastmode, moved over to the KOTD stage and advanced into being one of the faces to watch on their GZ platform. In keeping with this constant progression upwards, his most recent battle came against former King of the Dot champion Porich, a battle in which many feel that Peppe took the win. With the GZ staff seemingly behind the Toronto emcee, one can expect to see bigger and bigger things from him going forward, and if he keeps stringing together solid performances, a main stage look may come his way.
Get to know Peppe a little better with our 20 Questions interview:
Who are you?
Joe Catania also known as Peppe, Pepperoni, pep, Mr. Za Nation but I may really be best known as the PY Prince.
How old are you?
Right now i’m 23 years old, but my dad bod makes me look like I’m atleast 45, recently divorced with a mortgage and kids.
Why do you live where you live?
I currently live in Toronto. I’ve been here all my life, never really moved out of the city.
Grew up in Toronto’s Little Italy, and now I’m in the area known as Etobicoke. Why? Because I haven’t gotten enough battle rap money yet to by a mansion in California.
How long have you been battling/rapping?
I started freestyling by accident once back in the womb, but it was really all written, so not sure if it really counts. I started battling back in 2014 in Beastmode Battles’ Toronto division - shoutout to the homies there who gave me the start; Kriss Cain, Tek, Caution, and everyone down there. They did, and continue to do a lot for young guys such as myself.
What made you start?
I remember coming across some battles on youtube, pretty much watched all of Iron Solomon’s work and then stumbled upon Dizaster. Those two really made me a fan of the culture and got me hooked into it. I saw KOTD later on, and after a year or two of being a fan, I decided I wanted to try it. So I messaged my now pal, Gully, multiple times, to which I got no reply…thanks buddy. I then found out about Beastmode and was able to get into contact with league owner Kriss Cain, and the rest was history. Fun fact, my first battle I brought like 30 people to the venue, then got no showed by my opponent. But I still rapped my rounds for the camera. I actually spit lyrical miracles so crazy, a fan fell over and knocked out a massive light, which caused the crowd to go nuts. It really happened.
How did you get your battle rap name?
My name Joseph, translated in italian is Giuseppe. Peppe is short for Giuseppe. And I’m short so it make complete sense.
How would you describe your style in three words?
Genuinely nice guy. Young John Mayer, or Scrilla Cam’s friend. Checkout Scrilla Cam btw
What makes you different from other battle rappers?
I feel like I’m one of the only guys who really just want to have fun. People get so caught up in the politics, and try to become these “bar machines”, but forget to have fun and be themselves. Don’t get me wrong sometimes there’s little things that aggravate me in here, but then I remember we are just grown ups making aggressive man poems; it calms me down quickly.
I think I’m able too, for the most part, always build a connection with the crowd because they can tell I’m just having a good time, and it makes them more receptive. But with that said I do spit money, drug and a lot of gun bars.
What’s your best battle? (and why?)
I think my best battle is with Q Da General, on KOTD GZ. I knew I had to do really well because Q is a beast, and if he was on his a game he could of really fucked me up. The battle turned out really dope from both sides! Go check that out if you haven’t seen it!
What was your worst? (and why?)
I think my worst battle, might have been on BeastMode against C Greezy. Shoutout to Greezy, he’s the Beastmode version of Goodz, so you know he’s going to be legendary. It was a battle where I had some of my greatest material ever, but didn’t end up performing it the way I wanted to. Then Greezy started kicking my ass. Oh well.
What did you learn from them?
I should always try to keep my battle performance to exactly how I prepped it, and not try to mix up too many things during the battle.
What’s surprised you the most since you started battling?
I think the most surprising thing, is how many good friends I’ve made from battling. It’s cool to see people connect over common interests that they really love. Woah that sounds pretty sappy eh. Oh well. Another thing, I didn’t realize there were so many battlers that were bums. There’s a lot man, it’s wild.
What’s your favorite battle of all time?
Franchise vs Joey Gambello, in what might be one of the best battles I’ve ever seen live. Both these dudes are going to be big names one day.
Who’s in your current Top 5?
To be honest, I’ve never really thought about it too much. Hollow, JC, Bigg K, daylyt, and Slow Loris. Slow loris might be the best ever, so check him out.
Which battle rapper annoys you? (and why?)
Probably Lev Corso, with the amount of times he tries to mention how he should battle Aftershock.
Who would you battle if you could choose anyone?
E Farrell, for sure. Not because I think I’d win, just because I think it be really jokes man. And I would have to push my pen game to a different level. I think I asked him once, then he just called me trash. So that’s usually how it goes. Hopefully it happens one day.
What’s the biggest problem in battle rap?
The amount of bummy looking battlers is an actual problem. How are you going to show up to your battle looking like you haven’t washed your hands for 7 consecutive years, while wearing your 2005 DC shoes that have holes by the toes. And then they ask why they can’t get a buzz.
How would you fix it?
I would honestly just make them go shopping with Chetty. He’s got a lot of money, and he can just buy them some new clothes, maybe even a watch. Chetty the man.
What do you do when you’re not battling?
I like to have a couple cold ones with the boys, in shit hole bars that you can only go to if you have the right amount of hipster XP points.
How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be the first person to make A. Ward swear on camera, or have the highest viewed Witty Smitty News interview, shoutout to Christian Smith.