^ Good looks to my boy VEe Nice on the P-Shop

A few weeks a go I found myself in Philadelphia for the Roots picnic. While in town I decided to get around like I used to back in the day when the fam was posted up at Temple U. Philly is kind of ill in the sense that it hasn't changed too much since the early 90's. There's gentrification going on just like in every city but Philly still retains that Detroit like realness throughout.

I took the subway to the northside and it was still the subway going to the northside. Blunt guts were underfoot as if putting them in the garbagecan was never even part of the ritual. Some dude asking for change on the train looked like he needed a lot more than change. When I came from underground I still recognized Cecil B. Moore as the strip. This is where we used to post up back in the days of the Philly Greek Picnic. The Temple U. auditorium would host the step show and me and the fellas would stand outside waiting for the blowout to get our sidewalk pimpin' on.

Temple has done some rebuilding in the area but the strip is still the strip. I was making my way to a well known record store sandwiched in the middle of a pizza spot, a chinese restaurant and a barber shop. One of those record shops that managed to stay in business by selling CDs, DVDs, magazines and video games. Definitely legit, and definitely hard working. Phenomenal Records also maintains a recording studio in the rear of the shop that helps them pay their bills as well. This is where I met up with one of the Jamboys. A newly minted supergroup consisting of Black Thought, Malik B, Peedi Crackk, Dice Raw and Truck North. I think you can look at them as the Slaughterhouse 5 out of Philly.

Truck North invited me to a listening session of his new mixtape titled 'Truck Jewels'. I was anxious to hear what Truck was working on since I have been really getting to experience his rhymes at the Roots weekly Jam Session here in New York City. Between Truck and Dice Raw they have been able to complement, and occasionally supplement Black Thought on the microphone. Let's be clear though and note that Black Thought is in the Top5 D.O.A. (no Jay-Z). The Truck Jewels mixtape is available here for your review.

Truck North represents the Philadelphia ethos to the fullest. This is a town known for their blue collar work ethic in everything they do. The Roots have been known to put in retarded hours and I even know a couple of people that work here in NYC and commute from Philly and other parts of Pennsylvania. This is the story of the grind that never ceases that Truck North rhymes about in the track called 'The Never Ending Flip'.

Here's a hard track called 'D.Y.B.' Rock rap ain't dead either, it's just been waiting for real emcees to get on the mic. I'm gonna holla at Sean P to see if I can get him and Truck on track together. That shit would be hardbody deluxe.

My favorite track on the mixtape is this joint called 'Sucka Nigga 09' produced by ?uestlove. This shit has the knock and the flow that I fux with. It reminds me of something Dilla would produce.

You know a Roots affiliate project wouldn't be certified without some love shown to Dilla. DJ Bear One definitely plotted out some Dilla music with this track called 'Trapped Maybe'. The Gil Scot-Heron sample is so real. 'Trapped Maybe' is so Hip-Hop. Listen to this joint a couple of times. The art of storytelling ain't dead in rap. It's just waiting for a real emcee to grab a hold of the microphone.

The Truck Jewels mixtape didn't disappoint me and I'm ready to hear some more work from Truck North and Bear One. Philly rappers aren't done yet. They never left actually. They just been waiting for y'all to be like a tomato and catch up.