Scarface, Return of the ‘G’
When Brad “Scarface” Jordan announced that his last studio album (2009’s Emeritus) would be his final one, the claim was hard to believe. On one hand, the Houston rapper has enjoyed a 20-plus year career, released classic albums, earned platinum sales and has been cemented as a hip-hop legend. What more could he possibly do? On the other hand, how many rappers actually retire?
Face’s comeback, a free viral mixtape entitled Scarface Presents: Dopeman Music, was so well-received when it dropped online last month for Free.99 that 'Face decided to also release the project through traditional retail outlets as well. Whether you choose to download Dopeman Music for free or purchase it is up to you— but when it comes to illegal, unsanctioned downloading, Scarface draws the line. His next album, The Habit, will be independently released on Face Mob Music in October, so get your money up.
XXLMag.com: So is Dopeman Music a free album? Is it retail release? There seems to be some confusion.
Scarface: It was originally supposed to be like a viral type of mixtape, so people can hear me and see me and know that I’m doing my thing. But it got to the point where we had to release physical copies of that shit.
XXLMag.com: Sonically, the project sounds like vintage Scarface.
Scarface: I really haven’t taken that into much thought. I really haven’t given it much thought to separate where it fits in with the rest of my albums. I don’t know, I guess I do work like that. I don’t fuck around when my career is concerned. I just want to make sure I hold up my end of the bargain. My commitment is to the people that listen to my music.
XXLMag.com: When you dropped Emeritus in 2009 you were talking about retirement. What changed?
Scarface: The thing was—and I say this all the time—I’m not trying to work for nobody. And if I have to work for somebody I don’t want to be a part of it. I’m sorry, dude. The direction of where the music business is going the question is; Do I really want to continue to do it? Emeritus was supposed to be my last album, but things change.
XXLMag.com: Every time you try to get out they pull you right back in, huh?
Scarface: I ain’t mad at that. But as long as I’m stepping back in on my terms. I don’t want to be put in a position where I have to make records for anybody other than me.
XXLMag.com: What’s the label then? How is your business set up?
Scarface: Well, I got my own situation with an indie distributor and I have a situation with a major distributor.
XXLMag.com: What’s the name of the label?
Scarface: Face Mob Music.
XXLMag.com: So what’s next? You’re working on The Habit now, right?
Scarface: I wanted to do an album that mirrored The Fix, that’s why I named it The Habit. It’s so dumb. I got a song that’s probably going to change the face of music.
XXLMag.com: How so? What can you tell us about it?
Scarface: It's probably one of the most heartfelt, deepest songs I ever wrote. John Legend blessed me with one of his deep hooks. What else can I tell you about it? It’s more of an alternative type record that a hip-hop type record.
XXLMag.com: Does the record have a name?
Scarface: I can’t tell you the name.
XXLMag.com: Okay, well will The Habit drop?
Scarface: Probably like around October.
XXLMag.com: Who did you work with production wise?
Scarface: You know my usual people. I got this dude named Cardiac. He sent me a record, it’s probably gonna be my first street record. I gotta throw a street record and then a knockout punch. This record is as big as “Never.” This is one of those records. I’m excited. I want to get everybody involved in this.
XXLMag.com: Involved in…
Scarface: Involved in this [web link] that I received from Jim Urie, the [President and CEO] of Universal [Music Group]. The site is Music Rights Now. It’s stopping muthafuckas from stealing our shit online.
XXLMag.com: What in your eyes is the problem and how do we fix it?
Scarface: If you put a song out that you want to be downloaded, then that’s all fine and dandy. But if you put out a song that you need to recoup your money on—it's value in our music, so it should be sold. You can’t walk into Wal-Mart and just walk out with a TV— you can't just download a TV. So don’t go and download the Jadakiss album without paying for it. It cost money to make that album, dude.
XXLMag.com: In your estimation, how does music get leaked? Some people blame the pressing plants, some blame the engineers.
Scarface: It’s the people that work at the pressing plant. Let’s call ‘em interns or low entry level people that work at these spots that make $20,000-$30,000. They just get a brand new Kanye West album and leak it, people paying money for this. Somebody getting some money on this—believe you me when I say that.
XXLMag.com: Can this be stopped?
Scarface: I’m sure. They can find a man in a hole a million miles away from the United States and then hang his ass. So I know they can do anything. They can send a man to the moon.
XXLMag.com: You’re against illegal downloading, but Dopeman Music was a free viral project. So you’re exactly not opposed to giving away music.
Scarface: [As an artist] you should be able to say, Hey, these are some songs that I want to be able to put out for you guys to have, but this album right here you need to pay for it.
XXLMag.com: How much did it cost to make Dopeman Music?
Scarface: Well take this into consideration and I’m not gonna say Dopeman Music—that’s not a good analogy of what I’m trying to get across. Let’s think about this Dr. Dre Detox [album]. How long he been working on it? Between eight and 10 years? The man-hours, the studio hours, the track hours that he had to put in to get people to help to produce, help to write, and help to play. The musicians that they don’t come in there and just play that shit for free. I’m willing to bet you that Dre is probably like $3 or 4 million into the Detox album. Maybe more. For him to drop an $8 million album and somebody steals it—that’s not right. —Rob Markman