Scarface, “Remember Those Days” [Behind-the-Story of XXL‘s July/August Feature]
Breaking Down Scarface’s Catalog:
So at first he played me a few records from his new album Rooted that’s coming out later this year. The records were great. Like he’s keeping it real close to him, he’s not really letting people hear it. Then we started going into The Untouchable and right in the middle we would talk about a particular song, and he’d be like, “Yo, play that, play that.” And he would break into the rhyme. He was really on point. So when I’d read certain lyrics, he would make sure that I knew what the right lyrics were. ‘Face is definitely a lot sharper than people realize.
I went through the tracks I knew he would have stories behind. For example, I had “Mary Jane” from The Untouchable record. I listened to it and the funny thing is I never noticed until I listened to it—I’m like, “Hold up, this is that Ashanti joint that goes, ‘baby, baby, baby.’” So I knew I had a story right there ‘cause I need to ask him about that sample that they used for Ashanti to the extent that Ashanti’s ad-libs were the same as Scarface, even in the beginning. Like “I don’t remember feeling like this,” she took that from ‘Face, too. I ended up having a story about how Mary J wanted that record and they never cleared it, but they cleared it for Irv Gotti. I went through all the singles, so I knew there would be a story behind that as far as the label. For example, The Fix, they only came out with one video officially, “My Block.” And I remember them saying they’d come out with “Someday” and it never came out. Obviously, now it’s the age of the Internet, so “Someday” ended up on YouTube and he gave me the whole story behind that and how J Prince was like, “Yo, you don’t want to put that out. That’s not your brand, that’s not you.”
Artists, I think—it’s funny to me when I hear artists talk about how they don’t like talking about their old stuff, ‘cause I find a lot of artists love doing it especially when the writer is knowledgeable. They can pick up on the fact that you’re a fan and can appreciate that. So [Scarface] wasn’t really hesitant at all—and we talked about the new stuff also.
“The only muthufucka that might be able to fuck with my catalog is maybe Prince. Everybody else is trash.”
That was random. I can’t take credit for that quote ‘cause he was starting to say that The Untouchable was basically about him taking his craft seriously and then he just went off like, “I’m the greatest of all time.” And the funny thing about that is at first when he said it I was looking at him like, “Okay…” And out of nowhere he’s like, “Prince might be able to get me.” And I’m like, “Hold up, you’re talking all genres?’ And he was said, “Yes!”
One thing that we did do—and I don’t remember how it came about—but we started talking about Michael [Jackson]. I think it was back in June, so we started talking about the fact that Michael Jackson has been gone for almost three years. So we started listening to old Michael Jackson joints, and by the third joint he was like, “Shit, Mike got me, too.” [Laughs.] That was dope.
Calling Out All Artists:
The ill thing that didn’t make the piece—another thing that he did while we were talking is how he’d get on the phone. So we started talking about Beanie Sigel, and he starts telling me about records that he never put out from The Fix. He’s like, “I got a record with Clark Kent,” and out of nowhere he calls Clark Kent and puts him on speaker phone so I can hear, and he’s like, “Yo, you still got that record we did?” Clark Kent then goes, “I got to check, I got to check.” And then they start talking about Beanie. Both of them are like, “Yo, is he in jail?” “Nah, I don’t know. Try him.” And [Scarface] calls Beanie right after, he never picked up. And out of the blue, he got a call from 2 Chainz. I don’t even know if I’m supposed to say that, but he got a call from 2 Chainz about trying to get ‘Face on his album. And that night, ‘Face was like, “He’s been asking me for that verse for a minute, I got to do it tonight.”
One thing he was talking about Tupac and MC Breed. I remember he was showing me his phone and how he never deleted [MC Breed’s] number after he died. And we’re talking about a guy that died long before iPhones. You know, ‘Face got an iPhone, so that means he had to transfer his shit and he kept that number.
TO READ THE FULL STORY ON SCARFACE AND HIS THREE ALBUMS, PICK UP XXL‘S 2012 JULY/AUGUST ISSUE. IN STORES NOW!