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Jo Jigga was born Joseph Ballard on April 14 in Chicago, IL to Elizabeth Ballard (Secretary at AT&T) and Joseph Ballard Sr (Army Officer). Jo Jigga was the third and youngest child of his mother and only son of his father. During his childhood his father was in and out of his life, so his mother and older brother practically raised him,
Jo Jigga was raised in the Dearborn Homes, a housing project on the southside of Chicago in an area where gangs were prominent. He became involved with the Mickey Cobras, a gang in his housing project at the age of twelve. His mother moved the family to Indianola, MS to keep her youngest child out of the gangs.
Jo Jigga became interested in rapping at the age of thirteen after hanging out with his cousin, Ant Dub, a local rap artist and adopted the stage name Jo Jigga. Music became his life after meeting and freestyling with Universal artist Wildstyle from the group Crucial Conflict in the summer of 2002.