There’s nothing like when someone from another hood from like say, the Bronx or Brooklyn, when they touch down in North Philly. Whether you’re from Mott Haven or East New York, North Philly hits a little different.
The blocks, like much of the blocks of Philadelphia, are tight. When I say tight, I mean cars can’t park on both sides of the street and the ones that are parked — they got two wheels up on the sidewalk — and it’s still hard to drive down.
Half of the buildings may be boarded up. Some blocks are short and tail off into…nothing. At the end of that nothing? A crew of twenty or thirty dudes just hanging out. They know you not from there. Shit start feeling claustrophobic real quick.
Keep that in mind when you talk, AR-Ab.
Also worthy of note, A-R’s name rang out all over the city. And when you see him, he’s a quintessential Philly bull, girth and all. Bars and all. From the gate. Again, shout out to Isma’il for putting me on to a Rapper. I saw that PhillyheatTV freestyle, and yo:
My mom keep saying, ‘Ab please change.’ — ‘Mom I’m broke, Ab need change.’ — Ab de-ranged, I catch bodies — Ab need brain, like a zombie — I went to war, poppin’ thangs — Gun for gun, stock exchange
Then, after a few mixtapes, AR-Ab’s name rang out in the industry. But like he boasted in his “Beef” Freestyle, he “coulda signed a deal,” but Ab “had more than what he offered.”
I know, it’s quite easy to question the choices of the next man. The average person may think that signing a deal is the way to go — a nice, clean “out.” Get that advance, buy some jewelry, get some cars, some homes, travel the world, live it up…for a year or so.
For someone like A-R the math wasn’t mathing. Plus, if you’re not lured by the supposed fortune of a label deal, why would you do it?
And you don’t know, until you turned down a block like Sydenham and walked towards Susquehanna on a hot summer day. Trust.