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West Orange, New Jersey, United States | SELF

West Orange, New Jersey, United States | SELF
Band Hip Hop Reggae


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The Hip Hop Juggla
By Brian Falzarano

From the first raps he wrote as a Bloomfield High School student back in the late 1980s, Anthony Minervino carefully crafted his musical image and message.

Unlike many of his hiphop contemporaries who sprinkle their songs with misogynistic and violent lyrics, Minervino is all about imparting something positive while mixing western philosophy over tunes heavily influenced by reggae and Afrobeat. Best known by his musical name Juggla, he performs both as a solo artist and frontman for the West Orange-based Pidgin Droppings.

Although he is not signed to a major label, Minervino, 40, never regrets not selling out, having played with some of his heroes while continuing to make music he enjoys despite performers of his ilk not being embraced by mainstream radio.

“I want to expose people to a new sound, a new fusion,” said Minervino, whose latest solo release, “Leave Babylon” is available for download on and iTunes, as well as “I’m not going to make it corny, but it’s a contemporary hiphop sound,” he said. “We don’t disrespect women, no curses. It’s like grown-up hip hop.”

“A lot of people are disenfranchised with hip hop,” he continued. “This is grown hip hop, it makes you think. And it’s a good-time show. You’re going to get up, but it’s also going to make you think.”

Minervino’s mother influenced his taste in tunes early, spinning Stevie Wonder records. More than just Wonder’s legendary arrangements, his music conveyed a message of social consciousness that spoke to Minervino’s precocious ears.

In the early ’90s, with his first group, The Big Top, Minervino took on the role of what he described as the “lyrical juggler” in addition to being the DJ and lyricist. Soon enough, the Rutgers-Newark graduate shortened his musical name to Juggla, which had more street cred within the world of hip hop.

Also influenced by reggae legends Bob Marley and Shabba Ranks, as well as rap pioneers A Tribe Called Quest and KRS-One – with whom he has performed through the years – Minervino further honed the substance and style of his music as both an artist and producer.

One can hear this on “Leave Babylon,” an album that seamlessly blends styles Minervino playfully calls “Rapropbeat” (rap and Afrobeat) and “yard hop” (hip hop and Jamaican yard/reggae music) along with his homage to African culture and western philosophy, often within the structure of a single song. Featuring Wise the Intelligent from underground hip hop legends Young Righteous Teachers, “Youts of Babylon” is a call to curtail gun violence. The lyrics:

Walk around the town / you hear the distinctive sound / The same thing gonna happen / ’til the gun store get shut down

“My main thing is bringing consciousness to culture music – social and political topics,” Minervino said.

He brings this same cleareyed focus to Pidgin Droppings, a group that formed during the “Leave Babylon” recordings. Although the name is a play on Pidgin English, Minervino and his bandmates embrace the understandable comparisons to their bird counterparts – they call their rehearsal space “The Coop.”

Currently, Minervino and Pidgin Droppings are halfway through recording a CD at Orange Sound Studio in West Orange, which Minervino calls home with his wife and two children. He is hopeful for a release later this calendar year.

“It’s got a funk edge to it with the hip-hop and some singing,” he said. “We’re going to bring in a couple of more musicians to round it out, some horns and drums. It’s all a fusion: reggae, funk, hip hop, yard, the raprobeat.”

- The Observer


PidginDroppings debut album is forthcoming but the individual artists have released several projects as solo artists and with other bands.



Pidgin Droppings feat. Juggla

Pidgin Droppings formed from a collaboration of musicians from different genres finding a common ground with hip-hop, funk, dub, and various types of African music. PD delivers the Pidgin English derivatives from the African Diaspora, especially Jamaican Patois and Nigerian Pidgin English. Jamaican Patois, the dominant dialect in reggae music and Nigerian Pidgin being the backbone for the afrobeat genre created an acceptance of these dialects into the mainstream culture of their respective countries before spreading worldwide. With many bands bending genres and incorporating all the influences that come from this ever-shrinking planet, Pidgin Droppings melds these qualities into a pot of cultural stew. They exist between genres creating new ones along the way including "Yard-Hop" which is Reggae plus Hip-Hop and "Raprobeat" which is Afro-beat plus Rap music. In October of 2011, Pidgin Droppings released an EP entitled "PD-EP". It is a mix of reworked Juggla songs and a few new selections. Pidgin Droppings will release a full length album in 2012.
Pidgin Droppings is frontman Anthony Minervino aka Juggla, guitarist James Dellatacoma, drummer Clyde Alford, bassist Tom Grykien and vocalist Nekeyia Lewis aka Keykey. In addition to the core members, Pidgin Droppings frequently incorporates several other emcees and singers. Through different collaborations, these vocalists rotate in and out of the set with Juggla holding down the bulk of the toasting. Special guest Israyl, brings a conscious, roots and culture vibe to the set on tunes “Youts of Babylon,” “Knock Pon Wall,” and “Yahweh Soldiers”. “Youts of Babylon,” originally produced and recorded in studio by Juggla, features Poor Righteous Teachers legend Wise Intelligent along with a soulful hook sung by New Jersey native Kendal. "Youts" is a call to quell gun violence in America, especially in New Jersey, with Israyl closing out the song pleading, "dash weh di gun and live among the righteous." Juggla ends his verse chatting, "...the same ting gonna happen until the gun store get shut down." "Knock Pon Wall" has a double time “riddim” with rapid-fire vocals by Juggla and Israyl talking about how revelers in real Jamaican dancehalls bang on the walls when a good song is played. Drummer Clyde Alford, bringing a heavy funk and jazz influence to the band, drops a military style snare drum roll. Keykey offers the soul and blues element to the band with a strong voice that Juggla refers to as, “takin’ ‘em to church.”

Juggla and Clyde Alford played in various venues in New York and New Jersey as early as 1993 doing a blend of hip-hop, jazz, and funk. James Dellatacoma, having worked with bass icon Bill Laswell for the past 10 years, brings a rock and dub influence to the table while Tom Grykien adds the foundation with funk and reggae-style bass lines. James subsequently engineered most of Juggla's self-produced, album, Leave Babylon. Juggla then approached James to start a band to play live versions of the album cuts. Juggla notes, “all of the songs translated well from the studio versions so we moved forward making slight changes to suit the live approach”. James transposed many of the keyboard parts and samples played on the original recordings. Juggla, along with vocals, plays the melodica, an instrument made famous in reggae music by the late, great Augustus Pablo. Pidgin Droppings definitely “drops” the Pidgin talk, a conscious, uplifting message over global grooves. They are currently sharing the bill with some of the best underground artists on the New York/New Jersey scene. 201-248-2021