The Junior Black Mafia terrorized inner-city Philadelphia in the mid to late 80s. Since their arrests and convictions in federal and state courts their legacy has lived on in street lore and popular culture. Books have been written, fiction and nonfiction, movies made and magazine articles profiling the crew have appeared detailing their exploits as the baddest urban outlaws to walk Philly’s streets. Members like Aaron Jones, James Cole and Derrick Williams have given interviews from prison to street magazines like Don Diva and F.E.D.S. keeping the JBM’s mythology alive.
Back in the day Philly’s tabloid newspapers ran headline after headline on the crew exposing their “Get Down or Lay Down” motto, detailing their narcotics empire and highlighting the murders they were accused of carrying out and allegedly committed. Gorilla Convict Publications and author Seth Ferranti covered the story of JBM street boss Aaron Jones in Street Legends Vol. 1 but here we revisit the story with some additional information our readers might enjoy. You know we get our info from the source, so here is an exclusive, straight from the penitentiary from a Muslim brother in the know.
“The JBM started about 85,” Ock, the Muslim brother in the feds says. “From like 85 to 90 they had the city on lock. A five year run. Aaron had people do shit for him for real. He had his little crew that put in work for him. A crew that would go all out. A lot of dudes were real nervous around him because of that crew.” That’s because Aaron Jones had a lot of killers around him. Dudes that would bust their guns in a minute and they were armed to the teeth. In the hood, getting that weaponry wasn’t hard at all.
“Everybody had Tec 9s, Mac lls, Mac 10s. A lot of dudes liked Tec 9s. That was a favorite gun. A lot of 9mm’s and .45’s,” Ock says. “The whole Southwest Philly, a lot of cats was scared to go through there, Aaron is from Southwest Philly. There’s two projects down South Philly that were tough, Wilson Park and Passyunk Projects. Diamond Street in North Philly was rough too and Richard Allen Projects in North Philly. Tasker Projects in South Philly, that project was crazy. Little Saigon down 13th Street was a tough ass project on Fitzwater.” The inner-city of Philadelphia was rough all over but the JBM didn’t play. They put their goon hand down.
“They would drive up on the corner and say, ‘Where you getting your shit from? Well, you got 24 hours to get down or lay down.’” Ock says. A boriqua out of the Badlands tells about when Aaron Jones tried to push up on his homie Million Dollar Dave. “Aaron and his cronies rolled up. They got the Mac 10s. They were wearing Fila sweatsuits. They rolled up and then a money green Benz rolls up behind them and Aaron Jones gets out in a money green Fila sweatsuit and money green Adidas. He’s real casual like. His men are strapped but so are we. I’m holding the AR 15 and my man got the 9 mm. Aaron comes up and tells Million Dollar Dave that he’s got to get down or lay down but Dave doesn’t go for it. We run the Badlands, ain’t nobody coming up in here telling us what the fuck to do. So Aaron gets back in his Benz and leaves. The next day his guys rolled through again and lit us up. That was when I got shot. I busted back to, all of us did and when they saw that we meant business they left us alone and moved on to easier prey.” Dudes back then would literally get out of the car to do their thing. They would walk up on dudes. There wasn’t no drive bys. This wasn’t Cali, this was rough and tumble Philly. It was gun battles in the streets and on the corners. Fighting for inner-city supremacy.
In her book True to the Game, Teri Woods who is from Philly and was dating several of the big hustlers, fictionalized the JBM story. “If you look in the book True to the Game, they had a shootout in there.” Ock says. “It was a real event. At the High Rollers Club in 1991, at 59th and Market. Yo-yo was there that night. I seen these cats coming out front, they was arguing, they was like 5 on one side and 6 on the other side. It was like some Wild, Wild West shit, all of a sudden they started shooting. I rolled out, I broke around the block and rolled back around and these niggas was laying all out, bleeding. That was the JBM.”
The JBM would shoot it out but they were known for styling and profiling too. They had the clothes, jewelry and the cars. “The Fila sweatsuits, the Gucci sweatsuits- all different colors,” Ock says. “Aaron had a Benz back then- the 300. They were flossing driving Audi’s, BMW’s. On the door where the handles were at they had JBM emblems on the door handles. They had the rings with JBM and necklaces. When they got busted everybody said JBM meant, ‘Just Blowing Money.’ They went through everywhere. It was rough in South Philly but the JBM went down there. You had cats that was scared to come down there.”
Syrup was big with the JBM too. “There’s a syrup spot down in South Philly that the JBM used to go to. One on 17th and Jefferson. That’s called 7 block where all the syrup was at. Everybody was on the syrup back then. Motherfuckers in Philly been drinking the syrup since the 70s. Syrup was like one of the choice drugs with pot and cocaine before crack hit the scene.” Drunk on syrup, with money and power in spades and high caliber weapons galore the JBM were some dangerous dudes. But they were particularly nasty to their own.
“Leroy ‘Bucky’ Davis was one of Aaron’s lieutenants in southwest. He got killed in 89-90,” Ock says. “He was a little short dude, vicious fighter. He was a boxer. He was high up in that chain of JBM. Him and Aaron was like that. Him and Aaron had Southwest Philly. Bucky got killed on Creighton Street. He was coming home from a party with some broad. Bucky was trying to get a key into the door and these jokers shot him. He tried to get his gun out of his Ostrich skin boots and got aired out. The girl got in the car with the dudes and nobody ever saw the girl again, they said Aaron put the hit on Bucky because it was when Aaron was locked up and Bucky was supposed to get him some money and didn’t. He had a store called the Sugar Bowl on 50th and Springfield on top of the hill, they had little meetings down there talking about certain shit.” It was a deadly and vicious era but now all the members of the JBM are either dead or serving long sentences, even life in federal prison. Aaron Jones, the street boss of the JBM is on death row in Pennsylvania. Read his whole story in Street Legends Vol. 1. And check him out on this blog too.