Philly Is Still Rocking Truck Jewels…


^ 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.

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  • Pierzy

    While I appreciate your post, the idea that gentrification is not happening here is simply not true. There are several areas (notably Fairmount) where it is occurring and people are not happy.

    And, being a grad student at Temple, I can attest that it’s way better now than it was in the ’90s when I was an undergrad at La Salle.

    I’m not getting defensive…we, as a city, were lagging for decades, for stupid shit like the “gentleman’s agreement” that no building could be taller than William Penn until that was abolished in 1987. However, the city has made great strides and it is certainly coping with the economics of the new America better than other Rust Belt cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Detroit…


      what up p,

      “However, the city has made great strides and it is certainly coping with the economics of the new America better than other Rust Belt cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Detroit…”

      when was the last time you were in the D?

      • Pierzy

        What’s poppin DETROIT…

        Honestly, I’ve never been in the D, however my fiancee’s best friend (basically my future best friend-in-law) is from 7 Mile (shout to Jamal)so I feel like I have a 2nd hand (though certainly not 1st hand) perspective add, moreover, I read as much as anyone and I just know what I read – basically, the statistics, which is a 3rd hand perspective. I read about the vacant lots, the loss of jobs, how the economy has hurt it more than most cities. I meant no malice and was not trying to cast any aspersions.

        As I said below, I read the post very quickly, even misread some parts, and my city is far from where it should be or where it needs to be. I’m just happy that it is not hemorrhaging college graduates from its “City 6” universities (Penn, Drexel, Temple, La Salle, St. Joe’s, ‘Nova) like it was from the 80’s up until a few years ago.

        If I, and anyone else that I talk to or read is wrong about Detroit, then I stand corrected…

      • Pierzy

        And I do agree that the new mayor certainly brings hope and I think he has the ability to turn it around (or improve it further)

        • DETROIT

          i feel you p, you’re my guy, so i wasn’t tryin to check you or anything like that. my only point was this:

          Detroit is currently 83% black! we are, and have always been, the blackest city in america. my reason for saying this is the fact that most detroit problems are just black people problems spread out over a whole city. if you look at philly or new york or anywhere else in america, the black hoods are always fucked up. black cities ALWAYS top the murder lists, etc. the point that i am trying to make is that we will never get a fair shake in the media (the same way it is for hip hop). the other thing is that detroit is like a donut, the inner city is the hood, the outskirts/suburbs are non hoods (like the movie 8 mile). this is different than most cities. but for black people, we have a lot of shit! more rich blacks live in the detroit and dc areas than any other areas in the us. my point is this, there is a recession here right now, but as a city, blacks here have been gettin money since the 1950s! old people have like 50g per year pensions. we have had black leadership for my whole life! mayor, police chief, you name it! we own a lot of shit, now the money isn’t coming in like it used to, so it’s forclosure season. but never the less blacks here tend to have more income than blacks in other cities. so comparing us to a city like philly which is 40% black is like comparing apples and oranges. you would have to compare us to the black parts of philly, or the south side of chicago…if you do that, we don’t look nearly as bad! google don bardon! there are many og’s from the d really gettin it! how do you think we got the rep for gators, and lacs, and shit like that! that type of stuff is not cheap.

  • Pierzy

    And DP – I apologize for not saying what up at the top of my comment, but it’s the last day of the fiscal year so ish is crazy in here…what up fam!!

  • geico lizard

    “There’s gentrification going on just like in every city but Philly still retains that Detroit like realness throughout.”
    Translation: Crime Rate through the roof. Memphis also has alot of realness thats why I live in nashville.

    • Pierzy

      I totally misread that sentence. My bad. Philly was considered the “murder capital” back in, like, ’07 but I believe the torch has been passed…

      • Jamal7Mile

        Yep, that torch has been passed. Guess who has the torch now (lowers head)?

        I believe that Detroit is finally on the rebound, however. We’re cleaning house in the Mayor’s Office and City Council. The new Mayor Dave Bing (check past-Pistons roster) is all about business and appears to be on the right track. I’ve got 3 qualified friends running for City Council that I know for a fact are all about the business at hand. I pray that they win.

        I haven’t been to Philly since I was too young to drive. But I do remember LOVING it out there! Independence Hall/Liberty Bell sticks out in my memory.

        Just a 2-center…

        • DETROIT

          the thing about detroit is that our murder rate has been high for over 30 years. there’s not much difference between being #1 on the murder list and being #6. i’d rather live in a city that’s #1 7 times than a city that’s top 10 every year since 1970!

          hey mal, did you hear bout them kids gettin shot at cody?

        • Jamal7Mile

          Hometown homie! What’s up DETROIT?

          Just heard about those kids at the bus stop. This shit has got to stop! I get my hopes up high when the city appears to be healing it’s wounds… and then some shit like this happen!

          Not sure if you follow or the but those commenters from tha ‘burbs are fucking vicious and racist! After every neg article, they leave a bunch of foul, Foul, FOUL shit!!
          I love tha D too much to let that shit go unchecked so you might see me under my J7 name real soon over there… doing what I do!!

      • Pierzy

        Yeah, my office is across the street from Independence Hall/Liberty Bell and it is crazy to walk past that every day and think of the history (while also trying to avoid fat tourists)

        • $ykotic

          Y’all do know that you just killed this thread!

          And I’ve been to both places(PA more so than the D)! My family has since moved from Detroit(Been back 2 times after that on some grown man stylee. OK tourist.) to NC. And I spent almost every summer in the teenage years in Germantown, Pa(Still have a Vespa out there!). So city hopping was a must.

          I always remember the flyness of Detroit. I never had a bad time there.

          Being from Bklyn, I’ve run through north and south Philly, Wilkes-Barre, Allentown, too many to mention. Them Commonwealth laws are a b*tch.

          Y’all just had me reminiscing.

  • black

    Ur definitely right about gentrification. U won’t b able to recognize anything North of Broad st in the next couple of yrs.

  • KingPoetic

    I buy every new rap cd from phenomenal, go right next door to china house for sesame chicken and white rice, and my day is set


    good drop dp i am very thankful for the music i never heard of this guy truck north before. he has some good musis he kinda reminds me of beanie

  • Incognitus

    You right about that. Philly is dirty and unapologetically hood and it never changes. That’s what makes Philly so real and authentic. Philly swagger always stays the same. Philly cats still rock throwback jerseys, Avirex leathers, butter timbs and field boots. Long beards and fresh cuts. I love Philly, Brooklyn and Queens, but some other cities here on the east coast are funny to me. For example, DC is a weirdo funny style city to me. DC doesn’t even have a real rap scene, they listen to go go music which is basically funk played using garbage cans as instruments. DC dudes rock the ugliest Nikes (Foamposites and Foamposite Nike Boots) with the tightest jeans and rock T-shirts that have hoods and wave caps over their Lil Wayne dreads.

    • DetroitDraper

      Yea I hate that weak ass go-go music. Straight trash and your right on their style…Im not a fan of DC

  • KLAP215

    I love The Roots been here in Philly for 33years(my whole life)…. I whould move if I chould afford it… for my seeds… but I love my city!!!! I get all my mixcd’s from Phenomenal records!!! The best indie records store on the eastcoast!!!! Everyone prayer for MALIK B.!!!! MALIK is one of the illist emces around!!! Big up’s Truck North and P.O.R.N!!! Money Making Jam Boys!!!!! The Roots “How I got over” in stores now!!!!!