On this day, August 6, in hip-hop history…
2002: The Godfather of Southern Hip-Hop and Houston, TX Royalty, Scarface released his seventh studio album, The Fix. Longstanding member of The Geto Boys (formally The Ghetto Boys), Scarface played a key role in shaping the sound of Hip-Hop and carving out a lane in music that came to be known as Southern Gangsta Rap.
Shortly after being tapped by Def Jam Records and taking on the role as head of Def Jam South, Scarface released his most successful and highly acclaimed classic, The Fix. Scarface’s The Fix went on to be the only album released in 2002 to receive the exceptional, 5-Mic rating of excellence from The Source Magazine.
The Fix continued in the momentum earned by Scarface’s 6th studio album, Last of a Dying Breed, which earned him “Lyricists of the Year” at the 2001 Source Awards. The Fix shows improve, commercially and critically, with a jump in Billboard 200 debut from #7 (Last of a Dying Breed) to #4 (The Fix) and 159,000 sold during the first week of release of The Fix, up from 133,972 for Last of a Dying Breed. Scarface’s unwillingness to commercialize his music is said to have played a major role in his marginalized mainstream success.
The Fix’s leading single; “Guess Who’s Back” is one of three tracks produced by Kanye West and features Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel. The single quickly rose to #5 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Singles Chart. “Guess Who’s Back” like many signature features hosted by Scarface, allowed the guest artists to take the lead while the confident Southern King awaited the perfect moment to interject his unmistakable raspy tone. This can be heard on “Smile” featuring 2 Pac (UnTouchable) and “In Between Us” featuring Nas (The Fix).
Scarface’s unwillingness to commercialize his music is said to have played a major role in his marginalized mainstream success but that had no bearing on his authority within the rap community. Scarface is widely known as “your favorite rappers’ favorite rapper” with his unique ability to paint, timeless images of his truths as a southerner from the streets. Scarface’s influence transcends his home town of Houston, as he articulated the harsh realities of life in the hood that southerners, New Orleans to Memphis, could feel. Scarface’s influence during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s is undeniable as his list of collaborations include most of Hip-Hop’s unforgettable legends. Scarface’s influence is still felt by later generations of MC’s with 2014 XXL Freshman Isiah Rashad dedicating a song to Scarface on his mixtape Ciliva Demo. The song, entitled after Scarface’s given name, “Brad Jordan”, is laced with references to Scarface, his South Park neighborhood in Houston and Scarface’s debut album with The Geto Boys, Grip It! On That Other Level.
The Fix is a timeless classic crafted by a Southern Legend, it should definitely be a part of your collection.—Shay Bullock