Black as Afro-American music and Pulcinella for the Neapolitan mask. For ten years Clementino has wanted to title a record like this, and now he has done it. In black pulcinella the rapper shows his dark side by recounting his injuries. The album was born between Los Angeles and Italy, between Naples and Hollywood, the two western coasts, and has “a 90s hip hop sound, but projected in 2022.” It’s full of punchline, scathing, ironic, irreverent rhymes, as only a freestyler like Clementino can do, but it also has a very introspective part that “now that I’ve seen the light I can say it”. In addition to music, during this period Clementino also devoted himself to television with made in the south and will be on stage at the May Day Concert in Rome.
Are you feeling a little Pulcinella?
“Many have told me that some of them are. I’m in love with commedia dell’arte so when they compared me to the Neapolitan mask I gladly accepted it. I am the servant of the master but basically I make fun of him. And just like Pulcinella I’m sad on the inside, but super happy on the outside. People perceive me as a very energetic and sunny person but they don’t see the scars I have that are part of a very turbulent past.
In fact, in the piece “Black Pulcinella” there is this verse: he is a buffoon on stage and behind the dressing rooms, you see him laughing but behind his back he has thorns.
“The piece was supposed to be the introduction to the album, so I decided it was better as a closing title to make its mark at the end.”
In “Dark Side Of Iena White” you say that a true rapper is not only the one who streams and goes out of style, but also the one who over the years manages to be a legend.
“Beyond big cars and tastes, I think music should always be at the center of everything. It is better to be original than to be a copy of a copy. The goal is for it to last for years, it is useless if you start well and after a year it has already disappeared. For me, being the boss of this game does not mean having millions of streams, but being able to do 20 concerts in a row without losing your voice and knowing how to freestyle. That’s how I see it.”
What do you think of the new generation of rappers?
“There are many very strong. It is clear that out of twenty new artists coming out, only five are making progress. Many get lost in fashion or always in the same content and the public ends up forgetting about them.
There is a lot of Naples on the album, even in collaborations.
“Naples has a very active new wave. The crazy thing is that I’m the biggest on the record. More than Clementino, I am Uncle Clemente. In the register there are many references to the city, as in my previous works. Even if I was in Los Angeles, I would always take Naples with me, in my backpack there is always something about this city. We live on the 41st parallel, which is the one that connects New York with Naples, so we are on the same line. Our slang is Neapolitan-American, the American in fact, having all the words truncated, is very close to Neapolitan. I think our dialect in Italy is by far the most hip hop inclined. When we speak, we Neapolitans look like Brooklynites.”
Why the tribute to Paolo Villaggio in “The Human Beast”?
“I recently finished reading your biography and immediately thought of this title. The meaning of the song, however, has no references to the Ligurian master».
In this song you write that success is not what you thought it would be.
«When notoriety arrived, I let myself be carried away by the life of the famous between discos, alcohol, drugs. Then I put a point. I prefer to wake up at 8 and see my father cooking, the simple things in life have become the most beautiful for me. I used to walk out of clubs and think of other early risers as losers, now that I’m up at 8, walking past the club, I feel so cool. Who does not know the darkness cannot see the light.
You also gave yourself to TV with “Made in Sud”, do you like it?
“I still have a lot to learn but I really like it. We do hours and hours of rehearsals, it’s a great experience.”
On the album there are introspective pieces and others that are more streetwise. Even a piece of love.
“I love doing my comedy rap, with rhymes that provoke and make you have fun by making you think, but I also like tearful songs”
“Emitares” is about escaping from Naples, have you ever felt the need?
«Right now I would take a flight because I am inundated with information between TV and music, so I would like to disconnect. But seriously, there was a big brain drain, even from the south, when you don’t feel fulfilled you want to escape and unfortunately it exists. We live in an area that does not give us many opportunities. For example, to be accepted I had to go through Rome and then through Milan. If I won a freestyle competition in Naples, no one knew, but if I won in Milan, it was known. You can already see the difference from here.”
How much do you want to live again?
“I can’t wait to start over. After these two long years of Covid, I will be back on stage from mid-June to September. I couldn’t stand the concerts sitting down, with masks, it’s nice to return to normality “
What goal did you set for yourself for this album?
“Do whatever the hell I want. I want to be myself and be original, without censorship. I don’t want to do what I don’t feel like doing anymore, so I’m really proud of this record because it marks my artistic maturity.”