When we interviewed Scarface in 2008, the Houston rapper was whacking golf balls every which way at the driving range. Eight years later, Callaway partnered with him to produce a mini-documentary, titled Golf Lives, about his passion for the sport, and ‘Face is once again on the green with a club in his hand, when he calls me for this piece.
He exudes a naturally warm charm, infectious charisma and cracks jokes with a lighthearted approach to most things. Many rappers cringe when referred to by their birth name, but he’s introduced to me simply as Brad and happily rolls with it.
When he answers a question he gives it thought and actually answers the question. When Scarface asks me a question, he’s genuinely curious for the response, and he talks to everyone with a deeply rooted respect.
But he’s also a competitive son-of-a-bitch.
His initial foray into golf began almost a decade ago when his then fourteen-year-old daughter needed a set of clubs for her golf lessons. “They give you clubs at her lessons but she wanted her own personal set of golf clubs,” says Scarface, “So I went to the store and I bought her some clubs. And I bought me some too.”
Not long after, Scarface hit the course with his daughter for the first time, and he didn’t hold back critiquing his game. To quote him, “She beat the cowboy shit outta me.” But the L drove him to hone in and improve his game tremendously.
And when asked if his daughter can still beat him the response is an emphatic, “No, f*ck no! Nah man I’m breaking 80 bro. I’m between 83 and 79. 79 to 83. I’m getting a little better.”
That’s an understatement. Consistently achieving those scores puts Scarface in the top five to ten percent of golfers and a long way from getting the cowboy shit beaten out of him.
To Scarface, it’s not necessarily about the mastery, but rather the road of progression along the way. It’s about pushing the walls of your limits and expanding to new depths that weren’t previously possible. In the short film, he says, “Golf is the best game that you’ll never learn how to play,” but there’s so much reward in enhancing his skill, even though perfection is impossible.
But for Scarface, the drive for growth and knowledge also extends into other facets of his life.
Doubt fuels him.
These last few years, he’s been working improving his guitar skill, and Led Zeppelin is currently one of his favorite artists. During our conversation, he asks me to listen to the band’s 1973 track “The Rain Song” and then to compare it to a guitar cover he posted on Instagram earlier, promising I’ll be amazed.
He’s not the first MC to pick up a guitar. The instrument is all over Atlanta artist, B.o.B’s music, often serving as background on his songs as well as being an integral part of his live show. “He’s a f*cking genius bro,” Scarface says. “It’s cool as shit to see him play. I would love to sit down with him and play. He’s probably a lot better than I am. But nonetheless, I can play.”
The thought of an intimate jam session between those two artists leads me to imagine a wide number of tangents. A new era artist like B.o.B, known for his versatile ability to rap, sing, produce, and play the guitar as well as the piano, combined with a legendary MC of ‘Face’s caliber is almost overwhelming.
There’s a lot of room for the two artists to collaborate together, with the guitar as the centerpiece. Whatever it would be, the resulting record would be sure to have both artists flexing their creative muscles and utilizing parts of their repertoire that many other rappers wouldn’t even go near.
Scarface’s desire to experience new things that wouldn’t typically be associated with him continues to add dimensions to his arsenal. Between swinging golf clubs and plucking guitars, he’s proud of breaking down the typecast of being a rapper. While speaking on how he started playing the instrument, he pointedly mentions, “Contrary to how Gene Simmons says rappers don’t play guitar…Nah, I play guitars, Gene. Yeah, I’m a guitarist too”
Seemingly out of the blue, his dig at the KISS singer’s comments earlier this year, about looking forward to the death of rap, is an unabashed middle finger to anyone who puts a limit to what a rapper can accomplish.
Hip-hop has always been a stepping stone to the next adventure for Scarface. In a genre of music where it’s not uncommon for an artist to go stale within a few weeks, that free spirit is one of the elements that’s kept his music exciting for almost thirty years. And as long as that inquisitive, creative flame burns brightly within Scarface, it will be riveting to witness how his passions lead him to his next innovation and what barriers he may continue to break down during his journey of self-discovery.