The Alpha and Omega philosophy are one of life’s classic certainties. All things, whether good or evil will eventually cease to exist. Period. But who would’ve thought from his humble beginnings as a Geto Boy, that the rapper Scarface would be closing out his career after making “country rap tunes” for well over 20 years. Cultivating into a more impeccable artist as his career developed opposed from the usual decline, Mr. Scarface penned some of most riveting apologues Hip-Hop has ever witnessed such as “I Seen A Man Die” and his 2002 magnum opus The Fix.
So the time has arrived for the Brad Jordan to collect the pension he’s undeniably deserved which in turn, brings us to his 9th solo outing Emeritus. Despite the perodic conception that the album is an effortless attempt of bowing out gracefully, an artist of Scarface’s stature can still run with the best of them in his sleep.
Before Facemob proceeds to submit his retirement papers in full however, he must attend to one of the more peevish issues that’s he made an entire career campaigning against: the Benedict Arnold’s of the dope game. After top dog J. Prince sets the stage on the album’s “Intro,” Face proceeds to assassinate forgotten Houstonite Lil’ Troy’s street credibility on the literatim based “High Powered.” “Let’s keep it real/I got the documents to prove it/you’s a snitching ass nigga/trying to hide behind your music…” The beat’s sinister wads of staccato bass drops and Papa Rue’s rasta-flavored vocals give the track additional dimensions opposed to the typical anti-snitch anthem.
The remainder of Emeritus, much like 2007’s MADE, adheres to the same genetic codes through the entire course of the LP. Consistent in its aurality values, producers such as Illmind, Anthony Gilmour and N.O. Joe rarely excite with their melodies chocked full of begrudgingly driven instrumentation. General flub-ups, such as “It’s Not A Game” with its routine montage of chimes and the well-worn “Soldier Story,” reveal a noticeable lack in focus as they make it easy for Face’s lyrics to get lost in the shuffle. Equally tepid, the dedication to old flames “Where Are They” and the Cialis® inspired “High Note” simply disappoint. Not so much for their raunchy subject matter but simply because they fall short of the standard Scarface has set for himself throughout the years, let alone for a swan album.
Still, the vet inside manages to shine through the shadows and there’s plenty of indicators as to why Scarface functions as a living legend in the Hip-Hop community. With experience comes insight, and the Bilal featured “Can’t Get Right” fits the bill with a plethora of pragmatic revelations. The dignified vocals of “Redemption Song” are manifestation of a seasoned rhyme spitter boasting just because. And the album’s most ambitious selection arrives in the form of the gratifying title track. The phrase “saving the best for last” couldn’t be more suitable as “The truth/Emeritus/the F-A-C/the M to the O/to the muthafuckin’ B–O.G…” summons his most energetic performance to close out the album and possibly cement his legacy.
Whether weary or ready to retire, Emeritus isn’t the equivalent to Jordan hitting the game-winning jumper to close out a storied career. But to it’s credit, it doesn’t warrant excuses like a Washington Wizards jersey either. Nevertheless, as Brad Jordan makes the transition from the booth to the executive’s box, you can guarantee his works will be blueprints for aspiring MCs for generations to come. And Emeritus can show them a thing or two as well.