Scarface: The Glory

HE CAN’T LEAVE RAP ALONE. AFTER A FIVE-YEAR ABSENCE, SCARFACE RETURNS WITH A NEW ALBUM. RATHER THAN JUST ANOTHER BORING OL’ Q&A, XXL ASKED 20 OF HIS PEERS WHAT THEY WOULD ASK THE REVERED SOUTHERN PIONEER. IT’S OBVIOUS: RAP CAN’T LEAVE HIM ALONE EITHER.
If you analyzed the gene pool of today’s rap game, a heavy percentage of creative DNA could be traced back to one man. That’s right, before Snoop hung platinum plaques on his wall, before Hov held a presidential position, before T.I. set his sights on the Southern crown, there was Scarface. Preaching a deep-voiced gangsta gospel, the Houston MC began paving the way for a new generation in 1989, when he was recruited by Rap-A-Lot Records founder J. Prince to join Willie D and Bushwick Bill in the seminal hardcore group Geto Boys. After crafting classics like “Gangsta of Love,” “Trigga Happy Nigga” and the monumental “Mind Playing Tricks on Me,” ’Face started on a storied solo career that would be marked by highpoints like “I Seen a Man Die,” from 1994’s The Diary, “Smile,” with the late Tupac, from 1997’s Untouchable, and “On My Block,” from 2002’s The Fix. He laid a blueprint for business achievement in 1999, when he became president of Def Jam South, signing an as-yet-only-regional Atlanta artist named Ludacris to his first major-label deal. Now, five years after his last official album (he apologizes for 2003’s unauthorized Balls and My Word and 2006’s My Homies Part 2), the 36-year-old rapper extends his influence with his eighth and, in his own description, “most heartfelt” effort, Made. To mark the occasion, XXL gave your favorite rappers a chance to quiz their favorite rapper. Any questions?

FAT JOE: How does it feel to be one of the most respected MCs, especially when you were considered a rap minority, coming from the South?
It’s an honor, and I’m humbled at the same time. I never looked at it like I’m one of the most respected, but I always tried to stay to who I was. The way that I am in my music is the way that I am. I’m just not tryna portray nobody but Brad, period!

PAUL WALL: What was it like being an ambassador from Texas, when the whole world thought we was still ridin’ horses?
It was really, really political. They wasn’t tryna hear nothin’ from down here. If you wasn’t from New York or from California, you were gettin’ no love. At the New Music Seminar on the first Geto Boys album, we were talkin’ about lettin’ a hoe be a hoe, and they was like, “Boooooo.” We [eventually] came back and did Madison Square Garden and the Apollo, and muthafuckas went nuts. We was [finally] accepted by New York. It was pretty cool.

JOELL ORTIZ: I heard that you have a whole album with ’Pac. Is that true?
There is no album with Tupac. I can’t even talk about that, but it’s no album with ’Pac. There’s a lot of shit thrown together that’s never gonna come out. But we did record “Smile” together.

TOO $HORT: What else can you do besides rapping? Do you play any instruments?
[I have a band called] the Sick Ass Psycho Bastards. Right now it’s just for fun. Ain’t nobody really interested in signing a rock band. Not my rock band… I play as many instruments as Prince, and I can write as many songs as him, but he’ll be way better than me forever… [Laughs] It allows me to be a totally different person. When you’re rappin’, you can’t really go into left field. You really can’t go there in rap. It’s a cross between the Smashing Pumpkins and Manowar.

BEANIE SIGEL: When we gonna get on the golf course again?
I love Beans, man. He just too gifted, and he’s so hood. We got a very deep relationship. I brought him out to hit some golf balls with me, and he talkin’ about the funniest shit. I should’ve pitched to him. Next time, instead of him hittin’ the balls off the tee, I’m gonna pitch to him, because he got a baseball swing. As soon as he gets back [to Houston], or I’ll come to Philly and play. He probably on the golf course right now, learning how to play that shit, ’cause of me. Me and Mac finna do an album. Mac and Brad. And we gonna let Kanye produce it.

LLOYD BANKS: What were your earliest musical influences?
I really loved Parliament, and I really loved the Commodores. Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Deep Purple, and shit like that. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Rush. I dunno, I had a lot of shit. Prince. Stevie Wonder was amazing to me. I really like music, man. My timing came from Funkadelic, definitely. Like, timing with beats and music and just different scales and shit on the guitar, that definitely came from Parliament. I think my deepness came from Pink Floyd. And Jimi Hendrix was my idol. I always wanted to be like him.

PITBULL: Who said, “Fuck it, we don’t need a hook on ‘Mind Playing Tricks on Me’”? That was genius.
[Laughs] There weren’t hooks back then. It was a song. When the music changed, that represented where the hook was. [Hums the melody] That was the hook… It was originally a solo song. It was my two verses and the third verse that I wrote, that Bushwick Bill rapped. That was an old saying my grandmother would say all the time: “My mind’s playing tricks on me.” So I just put it into words. I did the beat too… That was one of the deepest, darkest moments in my life.

SAIGON: You being one of the greatest MCs in history, do you feel that new Southern artists are neglecting lyricism?
Southern artists are doing what they do. I can never knock nobody for what they doin’. New York perfected the craft, and they so fuckin’ serious about it. Coming from New York, I can see them saying people from down South are neglectin’ the art form. Yes, I can see them saying that. But I think there’re decent lyricists down here. Some of it’s bullshit, but I think they’re doing their best. I mean, New York is serious about hip-hop. Down here is oil country. This is gold teeth and rims. Here, it’s business.

SOULJA BOY: How did you feel when you first heard my song “Crank Dat (Soulja Boy)”?
[Laughs] I wanted to know what “Superman dat hoe” meant. Soulja Boy got a lot of love with these kids, and that’s where it starts. I can’t say nothin’ bad about his music, ’cause the kids like it. My daughter thinks he’s the best rapper in the world. My kids don’t like my shit, so that tells you something right there. Tell that dude to call me. He could do my MySpace page, ’cause I need one. I want that little dude to blow me up on MySpace like he blew up. I’m being real as fuck. He got that MySpace shit goin’ nuts.

JOE BUDDEN: What’s your take on ringtone music?
Hey, if it’s payin’ the light bill and the phone bill and getting niggas cars and cribs, then so be it… What about Young MC? We had some great ringtone music, but now the shit is classic. Twenty years from now, some of that ringtone music will be classic.

THIS IS ONLY A PREVIEW! READ THE REST OF THE FEATURE IN XXL‘S DECEMBER 2007 ISSUE

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY BRIAN MILLER

  • http://www.xxlmag.com MGG

    This was a dope ass idea…

    • phished

      I got 3 questions for face:

      1. Outta all the BS you been through with rap-a-lot business aside, are you still a friend to j prince?
      2. What was with the beef with yukmouth?
      3. Why do yall not promote your albums? (you know what i mean) No promo, no hype, nothing

  • bongolock

    wow you guys really outdid yourselves. thats one of the most creative and entertaning interview formats i’ve seen in a while.
    seemed as if everyone asked good questions since it was a well respected artist like face.

    thanks for that

  • BAY BOI

    im diggin dat Fri$co hat playa!! keep it 100!

  • BigJDfromSD

    I don’t comment often but I just wanted to big ya’ll up on this article. Its creative and I always appreciate listening to what face gotta say cuz he “keeps it real” w/o yellin it all the time like some other raps. Scarface- A Top 5 Rapper of all time!

  • ddubbzz

    Good job XXL

  • Ali

    leave it to Soulja Boy to ask a question about himself lol….sick idea tho

  • Westside Cartel

    WTF? The interview was going great until that wack ass soulja boy asked about his dumbass song and dance. I hope that Beanie and Face do an album together cuz it’ll fuck the game up.

    • dza

      what the fuck are u dumb how did that change anything. Face didnt feel anything change, I could understand how you would say somethin like that to a video BUT THIS IS FUCKIN INTERVIEW, u ignorant ass fuck he from the same part of the states he answered that question properly u jus a hatin ass niggar

  • Three4

    A Mac and Brad album produced by Kanye????…The best fucking idea I´ve heard in a while. Do that shit, I´ll be waiting…

    • http://xxl sammy johnson

      scarface is a god send to the hiphop community in the south. he is an og to many of us kats who came from that kane and rakim era. i love jay,pac big, and cube. but im texas born and bred country as cattle and cotton fields. raised on red beans,scarface,ugk and cornbread thats my story and im sticking to it. so one luv face i luv what you do,doing so keep it 100. ………………..H.O.G.G.

  • NIG

    GOOD JOB XXL VERY CREATIVE….FINALLY A SCAREFACE ALBUM…..HE SHOULD HAVE DID THE AMERICAN GANGTER SOUND TRACK…HIM ALONG WITH ICE-T AND ICE-CUBE….THE ORIGNAL GANSTER RAPPERS….NOT JAY-Z …..

  • The don dotta

    I got 3 questions face:

    1. Outta all the BS you been through with rap-a-lot business aside, are you still a friend to j prince?
    2. What was with the beef with yukmouth?
    3. Why do yall not promote your albums? (you know what i mean) No promo, no hype, nothing

  • phished

    I got 3 questions face:

    1. Outta all the BS you been through with rap-a-lot business aside, are you still a friend to j prince?
    2. What was with the beef with yukmouth?
    3. Why do yall not promote your albums? (you know what i mean) No promo, no hype, nothing

  • therealrob

    nice read XXL.
    Scarface is one of our true Hip-Hop historians.
    to say that he is a pioneer of the culture would be an understatment.
    20 years later HE will still be classic.

  • grippy

    Scarface > BIG

  • HoustonBandit

    real talk this was the best interview i have seen all month including frank lucas getting at jay-z on ahh. but it goes to show that what i have been saying all these years is true, scarface set the trend for all your fav rappers including pac. i go way back with face music. i have been a fan since he was on lil troy lable shortsop. i reide with face over any mc in the game and i put it lightly by saying that nice. hands down the best story teller to do it. including slick rick and biggie i stand by that prove me wrong. H-Town signing out.

  • dreal88

    i’ll be waiting on that mac and brad, the thought of that is a classic, good article xxl

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  • crooklyn rebelz

    Good 2 hear from tha livin’ legend. We need more ‘Face material in tha game. Hopin’ tha Mac’ n Brad thing ain’t just a tease. Time 2 serve tha pheens homie!

  • http://myspace.com/mister_rei Scrooge McDuck

    thanks for asking souljaboy. I wanted to know shiz about making his entire album on Fruity Loops. haha.

  • los-souljahman

    the KING of the South is back.ALL hail.Can’t wait to pick that album.Can we get another Geto Boys album too ‘Face?.

  • http://XXL H.O.G.G.

    FACE HAS BEEN LOYAL TO RAP-A-LOT FROM DAY-ONE,SHIT I HEARD-TELL LIL J REPLACED HIS BROTHER WITH FACE. NAME ONE NIGGA IN THE GAME WHO BEEN WITH THEY LABLE FROM DAY-ONE. THAT HAS PUT IN WORK FOR YEARS BESIDES FACE AND L.L. FACE IS STREET NIGGA ICON A REGULAR MUTHAPHUKINN GOD FATHER AND THATS ON THE LONESTAR STATE. AND ANY NIGGA OR BITCH WHO CONTEST CAN SUKK DICC GO HOMME AND KISS THEY FAMILY AND ALL HAVE MY DICC ON THEY’RE BREATH. TEXAS BOY,G.B.,UNDERGROUND KING,ANDKING OF DA GHETTO 4LIFE……H.O.G.G.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com TonyBee

    I wonder how scarface got that freestyle with 2pac on his double CD,with Master P,2pac and himself?

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  • Luqman

    aller tous vous faire enculé,the true king is back….

  • http://MySpace.com/ruthless_ryder ROYCE

    Finnally, y’all show some love to one of the greatest legends of the south, Scarface. I didn’t know what to expect from this issue when I saw just Jay on the cover, but when I opened the page with ‘Face on it, I went nuts!! This was an ill interview, y’all setted up this shit right. Keep holdin’ it down XXL, y’all gettin’ iller every issue.

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