Scarface, the sometimes morbid, always enlightening herald of Southern Hip-Hop, period, makes his return.
The cream always rises to the top. While it may seem like the world is suddenly the land of one billion rappers, only a select few deserve or will receive the prestige of a lengthy career. Of that handful, an even smaller minority will possess the longevity to remain just as relevant in their twilight (no offense, please) years as they were during their precocious rise to rap infamy. In that regard, Brad “Scarface” Jordan is truly a rap icon, in every sense of the word.
You should know the history. Texas rapper (Scarface) rises to enough prominence to inadvertently overshadow his none too shabby group (Geto Boys), achieving critical and commercial rap success in the process (four gold albums, three platinum plus albums), while maintaining as much street cred as cats with names like Hoover and Tookie. Notoriously finicky with prodding media, if you catch Face on a good day, you’ll be privy to the rap OG’s fascinating takes on everything from Black music history to the Feds to his appreciation of Soulja Boy. Sure, his new album Made is out December 4, but when the Houston native opines this much, it’s all the more clear why his mastery on the mic has touched so many souls.
That lyrically uncommon sensibility is why even when he gets bored and takes a hiatus to pursue a hobby—lately, playing golf on the daily—Mr. Scarface knows his true calling involves thanking the Lord that his voice is recordable, and especially you, the listeners.
AllHipHop.com: What do you think has been the key to your longevity in the rap business?
Scarface: I think just to make the best f*cking records man. Continue to make records that are relevant, rather than just making f*cking fad records. People make fad records, man. They make records for the times but they don’t make records that’s timeless. My approach on a song is to make sh*t timeless. I go back to my sh*t and be like, “Damn man, can somebody play this in ten years and get the same feeling they got when they first heard it?”
I remember when I first heard the “Kashmir” record by Led Zeppelin. Damn! I had to go get that record. That’s a bad ass song dude. I remember where I was; I was in my momma’s Monte Carlo and we was jamming. Even my momma was like, “Damn!” You play the record today you get the same feeling. Like when I heard the “Eric B Is President.” I was in the back of my partners blue Cutlass Oldsmobile, he had about a 1977, I’ma say. He took the springs out of it so it bounced. It was riding five deep, we was going to this place called Rosalie. And everybody from Houston know what the hell was on Rosalie back in the gap. We heard, “Clap your hands to what he’s doing!”; the car bouncing with the beat, baby.
We heard that sh*t man, smoking that god damn fry; some people call it clickums, some people call it sherm. [Ed. Note: Scarface is reminiscing, don’t use drugs.] I don’t know, we was formaldehyde funk men, that’s what we were. I heard that record, I just knew it was something special man. It was going to change the face of what Hip-Hop was. When I first heard LL’s “Rock the Bells” record, oh sh*t! When you heard the, “Too black, too strong…,” the Public Enemy “Welcome to the Terrordome” record. When you heard, “Listen to my 9 millimeter goes bang.” Those kind of records are the records that are timeless. Those are the records that I want to try to create. Not re-create. But I want to be responsible for making those types of records.
You can’t even make records like that no more. Cause the artists today didn’t take the time out. See we studied this sh*t man. We studied R&B, we studied Rock & Roll, we studied Blues. My house is like a f*cking school of music.
AllHipHop.com: You’ve mentioned great artists with great albums, have digital singles affected album sales?
Scarface: F*ck what it affects man. If ringtones is your hustle…I ain’t going to knock no one's hustle. Digital f*cked up records sales. But it didn’t f*ck artists up. The downloads don’t mean sh*t. The downloads are paid for, the artists need to be getting their f*cking money.
You remember when the record came out “Video Killed the Radio Star”? Okay, that’s what’s happening right now. The Internet killed the record selling star. Some exceptions are Kanye West when his sh*t dropped or Eminem when his [album] finally drop, you know his sh*t is out of here. Them the kinds of artist that Internet sales don’t affect, in my opinion. Keep in mind this is just my opinion now. This is how I think. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the truth.
AllHipHop.com: You’ve long been able to maintain your lane without pandering to radio or the clubs, how have you pulled that off?
Scarface: That’s Face, that’s my life man. That’s how I was raised. I always tell people, if I give you a bag and I tell you there’s a million dollars in quarters in this bag, you can take that motherf*ckin’ bag with you. Cause you know that it’s a million dollars, in that bag, in quarters. That’s just way I am. If I tell you I’ma do something, I’ma do it. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, but it’s gonna get done. I make the records that I feel. If I did a f*cking song with a catchy f*cking hook and I wasn’t talking about sh*t, how could I face my kids?
AllHipHop.com: Or your fans too.
Scarface: Fans is one thing but them kids is heartless man. Them the most brutal, kids, when it comes to making records. I got an 18 year old son in college, I got a 20 year old daughter in college. Dude, if my sh*t ain’t up to par man, they be like, “Man dad it’s a-ight, but I don’t know bruh.” Now my nine year old, he’s brutal and my five year old, he’s brutal. You be playing your sh*t and they be like, “Man, I don’t know who that is dad but you need to cut that sh*t off. We want to hear some Soulja Boy!”
I coach a Little League football team. The kids ask me what do I think about his record, the Soulja Boy kid. My kids love the record. Now me on the other hand…I love that record man! [laughing] I don’t know what the f*ck he said man, but you one hundred with me pal! Good for him. That’s a huge f*cking kiddie record. I never knock a hustle. I like what he do for the kids when that come on.
We need records like that so when Dr. Dre drops a record, you appreciate it. When Kanye drops a record, you appreciate it. I appreciated Kanye’s record man. Cause it let me know that there’s still some heart in it. My honest opinion man is music [is] looking real dumb right now. Let’s go back to the early 1920’s. Let’s even go back further than that. Those records were so timeless. I’ma give a rundown of my music. If you think about the records and how innovative these musicians were. Imagine how innovative Son House was, how innovative Robert Johnson was. How innovative Blind Willie McTell was; he played a 12 string guitar, and he made it sound like a piano, and he was blind. Start picking these records up. They mean something. And then you go to the 60s records, the Chuck Berry records, the Little Richard records. Go to the 70s and then you look at Brass Construction and how innovative those records were and the Parliament records and the Bootsy records and the Prince records.
Think of how innovative these Black artists were to music, and what they gave to music and what these people mimicked, okay? Innovators, of music. And then you get off into the 80s. You got Cameo and look at The Time and just f*ckin’…beautiful records man. Then you think of “The Message.” Then you think of Kurtis Blow, wow. Then you think of Run-DMC, then you think of LL, then you think of what the Beastie Boys did for Hip-Hop, the Joeski Loves and f*ckin Kwame’s and, Kane, Marley! Kris, ya know, Boogie Down Productions Kris. Uh, Ludacris [chuckling]. Look at what Eric B and Rakim did for Hip-Hop. Then you gotta stop and say god damn dog, when did we stop evolving? When did man turn into a machine? We have made some of the best f*ckin’ records known to mankind. And right now we stuck at a standstill. Even R&B. It’s the same f*ckin’ melody over and over. Come on dude. Let’s turn this sh*t back into some innovative sh*t again.
I always wanted [laughing] to be like Jimi Hendrix, when I was a little boy. Who do you want to be like?
AllHipHop.com Who do you see lasting from today’s crop of artists?
Scarface: You know who I really like man, I like that Talib Kweli cat man, he’s f*cking bananas. I like the sh*t that Lil Wayne is doing. I like Jeezy. I like all these little ni**as man. These ni**as got some great sh*t.
Twenty years, umm, we’ll see. I remember the Master P era. I remember when Master P had 30 records spinning at one time. I remember the Def Jam era. Remember when every record you heard was Def Jam sh*t? Like damn, is these motherf*ckers going to ever fall off? You just gotta think about it man. What records have you heard in the past 10 years that’s going to last another 10 years. Ten years ago was ‘97, the “Smile” record is still playing. Tupac’s Don Killuminati came out in ‘96.
AllHipHop.com: OutKast dropped ATLiens in ‘96
Scarface: Outkast will be forever, okay. Those kids are exempt. They can go in a studio and put on a record and package it, and I’ma get it. They can just put they ass on a mic and fart, and I’ma buy that b*tch. Man, these motherf*ckers just farted on a record and sold like 10 million. What?! “Man, check the fart out.” [lauging] You know whatever they come with is going to be so far out there and so innovative to what music is. Hip-Hop is just one kid to music, music is the mother of all that sh*t.
OutKast is forever. Makavelli is forever. Biggie is going to be forever. Hey man, that big old heavy motherf*cker was a rhyming son of a b*tch man. He was cold man, he was cold blooded. “Escargot, my cargo, 160, record by a new one…” His sh*t was freestyle cuz! Look at [Ice] Cube. Cube got a song called “When Will They Shoot”. I think it’s from The Predator. You got to hear this sh*t man.
I remember Tupac playing the Don Killumanati record in the studio and that ni**a got mad as f*ck at me. I was doing The Untouchable album and I was trying to get my singles out the way. Pac was like, “Man, you sitting in the studio all the f*cking time, just get your sh*t out the way man. Just write your sh*t and let’s go! This bullsh*t, just make some records man, just do that sh*t!” [yelling] That’s what he said. From there I just make f*cking record man, you pick it.
You talk about a f*cking mule, a f*cking horse? That f*cking Tupac Shakur, that was a working motherf*cker. Tupac worked from the time he got out of jail to the time he died. He got so many records right now that people ain’t heard. Man, I got some old Tupac sh*t that he laid. This kid worked his @ss off. That’s another thing I wanna tell these little ni**as, keep working bruh. Don’t do like I did. I took off. I was tired of this sh*t. I started coaching Little League football, playing poker, started learning how to play golf. F*cking bored man. If you put your heart and soul into what you do, don’t nobody appreciate you but your fans.
Hip-Hop, that sh*t went off the street to into one of the biggest f*cking businesses man. I give that to anybody that’s out here getting legal money, be real careful because you have people that want you down. You have people that want to see you on your ass. You have people that want to be on your ass because you escaped the plan. And the plan was to keep ni**as in the field.
I look at Michael Vick situation, it just makes me think man, these motherf*ckers hate ni**as so much man they’ll pull some sh*t out the closet about him doing some dog fighting. God damn it, come on man. I got an 18 year old son that’s in college, that plays football. And he doesn’t have time to do sh*t, okay?! Even in the summertime, he’s always working out. And when he’s done working out, he’s too f*cking tired to do anything else. And my son play college football. Think of a dude that’s in the pros man. All this f*cking sh*t he gotta memorize; the playbook, his workout regimen, his eating and all that, you have to know this. And the man gonna have time enough to fight some dogs? F*ck outta here man. What he did is probably gave one of his partners some money to buy some dogs and start a dog breeding business and them ni**as took it to another level and started squabbling them motherf*ckers, and turned on him. That sh*t ain’t cool man. Ya know luckily he can get out of that sh*t. He can do 18 months. He’ll go to a little pre-release program or some sh*t, they’ll let him go.
But T.I. on the other hand. Have you seen the federal sentencing guideline book?
AllHipHop: No, but that mandatory sentencing is…
Scarface: Ni**a…sheeit. I got a partner that was in federal prison for 18 years. He know the book by heart. He told me where to look in this book. It’s called the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Book, it’s a book for lawyers and sh*t. One of them books. Dude, do you know that a silencer is a mandatory minimum [of] 30 years? Do you know that an automatic weapon, mandatory minimum, fully automatic, is 30 years. Imagine two silencers and two fully automatic weapons? And that’s not counting the guns that was in the car, or the guns that was in the house and him being a convicted felon. For every gun they find you add, like a level or two, I think. That sh*t is life. All because…motherf*cker couldn’t hold it, told on him. Oh man, "He told me to do this." He told you to jump off that skyrise right there too didn’t he? Did you jump? Hell no! Motherf*ckers know the difference between sh*t and tar, don’t let nobody fool you man. They set this kid up man. Damn Tip! F*ck! They set him up man. They set that dude up man. He ain’t going to get nothing but a f*cking conspiracy. He going to get a conspiracy case. They’ll probably give him 8 to 10 years, damn!
AllHipHop.com: You’re all too familiar with that, Rap-a-Lot and the Feds.
Scarface: You feel me? They tried to put me in that sh*t. The same sh*t they did to T.I. Get a motherf*ckin’ snitch to come in and infiltrate and start talking about dope. Ahh, this ni**a here like weed, start talking about weed. Nah, man! You not going to get a motherf*cking word out me. Read it. It’s on the Internet. Indicted, never. You can’t. You couldn’t indict me for a motherf*cking thing.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think that the Feds are targeting rappers? Or brothers in general?
Scarface: I mean, ni**as is in trouble man. I can’t even begin to tell you how serious this is man, with the ni**as and feds. Know this, as long as they fishing, they ain’t got sh*t. [But] the minute they do, you got a 2% chance of getting out. They have a 98% conviction rate. As long as they ain’t got sh*it—they keep turning over stones, they keep shaking trees. But the minute them motherf*ckers have it, you're assed [out].
Just remember man, they can say whatever the f*ck they want to say about you man, just don’t let it be so. That’s something to live by. That’s something to grow up and grow old on. Man, they can say whatever the f*ck they want to say about you, just don’t let it be so.