scarface

While Scarface’s ‘The Fix’ didn’t sell well when it was released in 2002, that shouldn’t stop you from picking it up. (Courtesy photo)

Houston rapper Scarface is the epitome of longevity, with a decorated career spanning over 25 years. Your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper has achieved every level of success and helped established the South as a hip-hop power. Scarface is far from underrated, but his album The Fix didn’t get the commercial recognition it deserved in 2002.

Artists like Eminem, Nelly, Jay-Z and Ja Rule dominated the airwaves in 2002.Scarface became the President of Def Jam South in 2001, ending a rocky relationship with Rap-A-Lot Records. With stiff competition from label mates like Cam’ron, and Jay-Z burning up the charts, Scarface was expected to deliver on his first Def Jam release – and he did.

Production on the album was handled by heavy-hitters like The Neptunes and Mike Dean, as well as Kanye West before he took off as an emcee. Featured artists include Beanie Sigel, Jay-Z and Kelly Price, but it’s Scarface’s storytelling that carries the album.

The lead single, “On My Block,” is a perennial classic story of Scarface’s trials and tribulations growing up on the streets of Houston.  The Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway “Be Real Black For Me” sample soothes the ears as Scarface reminisces.

“Guess Who’s Back” is probably the most memorable track on the album, as the Kanye West produced beat has been used by plenty artists for freestyles.

Jay-Z spits, “We make a great combination don’t we? Me and the FACEMOB every time we face off.”

The three-headed monster that is Beanie Sigel, Jay-Z and Scarface lyrically spar on the track, trying to best each other as they trade street stories.

One of the biggest draws of Scarface is his brutal honesty, his willingness to put his life on wax with no holds barred.  Although he has since become a Muslim, several tracks on The Fix are dedicated to Scarface’s battles as a Christian.

The albums second single “Someday” featuring Faith Evans is a one-on-one conversation with Jesus Christ.

With lines like, “Seems like every other Wednesday I’m attending a wake, but I don’t question you, I know that’s your way,” the song comes off as a genuine plea for help and forgiveness, as Scarface does what he does best – battle his inner demons.

The historic beef between Jay-Z and Nas captivated rap fans in 2001, and Scarface refused to take part when he gave Nas a verse on “In Between Us”.

In Scarface’s 2015 autobiography “Diary of a Madman” he writes about making Nas change his verse after he dissed Jay-Z.

“After Nas turned in his verse for “In Between Us,” I did have to tell him to tone it down. He took some shots at Jay on the original and I didn’t think that would be appropriate,” he wrote.

Nas and Scarface take turns sharing stories and life lessons on loyalty and deceit between friends.

The 13-track album flows like a movie, as Face covers a range of topics and dilemmas in his life. Each featured artist does their part, delivering top notch verses and hooks.

Each track is solid, adding to the direction and feel of the project. There isn’t any forced club or love songs, just raw uncut Brad Jordan, Scarface’s real name.  With strong opening sales and great reviews, it’s a crime that this album hasn’t sold better, but that shouldn’t stop you from picking it up.

In a genre founded on the perception of reality, it doesn’t get much better than Scarface. If you are looking for an artist that you can play in your car as well as make you think and reflect, then get your fix.