The Southern Hip-Hop scene has undergone vast transformations over the past twenty years. The once neglected region has seen a meteoric rise in popularity, becoming the leading force and trendsetter. Through it all, one artist has been the unmoving standard-bearer: Scarface. Revered & referenced by many of the current bests, Scarface’s career has been rivaled by only a few.
Now, after two decades in the game, Scarface is hanging it up with his final Hip-Hop album, Emeritus. The Crew’s David D. was able to catch up with the King of the South to talk about that momentous album, Face’s plans after retirement and the possibility of seeing him as a 2009 Hip-Hop Honoree. We all know Scarface. Now it’s time to meet Brad Jordan.
Scarface: Dave, what’s up?
TSS: Man, how you doing?
Scarface: I can’t complain about it, you alright?
TSS: I’m doing good, where you at right now?
Scarface: I’m on the golf course (Laughs).
Scarface: Yea, I’m on the driving range.
TSS: How’s the game going? What’s your handicap?
Scarface: I’m probably shooting an 80.
TSS: That’s pretty good, though.
Scarface: It ain’t bad.
Scarface: (Laughs) Well you gotta see this new video I just shot called “Can’t Get Right.” That’s a spooky mu’fucka. I actually died in this video.
TSS: Aww man, c’mon.
Scarface: Yea, I died.
TSS: Man, I was like five when “Mind’s Playing Tricks On Me” and I used to have nightmares of Bushwick jumping out the tree.
Scarface: Yea, he an ugly lil’ motherfucker ain’t he? (Laughs)
TSS: (Laughs) So do you make a conscious effort to make the videos like that or what?
Scarface: Naw, I make a conscious effort to make videos that make sense. That’s probably as far as I can go into it. Whatever the words say in the music, that’s what’s in the video. So if you hear a song, just know the video is gonna be just like that.
TSS: So no broads shakin it up in “Can’t Get Right?”
Scarface: Oh no. You will never see that.
TSS: (Laughs) So, is this really it? This the last album?
Scarface: I mean, it ain’t my last album. It ain’t me doing my last album. It’s more or less the last Scarface album. I wanna break into other shit in music. And like I said before, Scarface limits me to making Scarface music rather than making universal music if that makes sense. It’s a brand new day now.
TSS: So what do you mean “more new music?” What’s the plan?
Scarface: I just want to exercise my ability to make music. You know, start some rock bands and some funk bands. I wanna transfer circuits. I’m gonna get outta the box.
TSS: Yea, cuz I saw a video – you were talking about McCain – you had the guitar with you…
Scarface: Oh yea, that ain’t mine though. I’m left handed. I was playing somebody’s guitar that was at the studio. But I been playing the guitar all my life, though. I grew up in bands. My uncle has been in a few bands. Johnny Nash is my cousin, y’know. I come from a musical background.
TSS: Yea, I saw that and was like “Is he gonna come out with a Blues album or something?”
Scarface: You know what? That ain’t outta the question. I might do some bluesy shit. I’m definitely going to exercise my ability to make music though. Yea, I can’t wait to do this.
TSS: You ain’t gonna get on Autotune huh? (Laughs)
Scarface: Man, hell naw!! Naw the singers gonna sing and the rappers gonna rap.
TSS: So I guess you ain’t gonna get on that Kanye bandwagon?
Scarface: Naw, I got my own bandwagon. What Kanye did was brilliant, though. He’s at a point in his career where he can make an album like that and not piss his fans off. I understand the move he made totally. He’s probably gonna break Europe in half with this shit he’s doing.
TSS: So back to this album, at what point did you know that this was going to be it?
Scarface: I think that right after I finished “Can’t Get Right.” If you sit and listen to the lyrics of that song, you’ll understand what I mean by “it’s just time to do some different shit.” I way surpassed that norm and MC rapping and shit. It’s time to make shit that’s “damn.” It’s time to make shit that’s “wow, this kid is unreal.” I want to make music that lives forever like “What’s Going On” like Marvin Gaye. Grateful Dead-type shit. I wanna have a cult following like The Dead.
TSS: You don’t think you got that kind of cult following now?
Scarface: Yea, it’s Hip-Hop, though. It’s not everybody. Man, I want everybody. I’m way too broad-minded to just be one single style of music. Like, I did a guitar piece on this rock band called The Flaming Hellcats. I did a guitar piece on their album. Like my boy say, “Man you fucking riiiipped it!”
TSS: That’s when you knew you had a feel for it?
Scarface: Man, I always did. There’s a lot of shit out by me that I played on it. I never felt it was a big deal to put my name down on the credits. Y’know, I just look forward to making better music. People call me one of the greats now- the best southern rapper of all time. I’m respected. I appreciate it. Man, that’s 2% of what I can really do.
TSS: I once heard you were thinking about retiring after The Fix, is that true?
Scarface: No. Somebody said that?
TSS: Yea, I saw it when you first announced your retirement. It said you thought about it after The Fix came out.
Scarface: Shit, muh’fuckas think about retiring every birthday I guess. I’m definitely trying to get Scarface outta here.
TSS: So is this album sticking to that Houston sound or–
Scarface: In my opinion, it’s music. The sound of my album is music. I mean, I don’t know what the Houston sound is. Is what I’m doing the Houston sound?
TSS: Well, for The Fix, you had Kanye and the soul samples–
Scarface: Yeah but if they’re names hadn’t been on there, you would have never known, right?
TSS: Well, true…
Scarface: I don’t give a fuck where a motherfucker come from, if the beat’s dope, I wanna use it. If the beat’s dope, I don’t give a fuck If he came from Iraq.