Scarface: The Last Of A Dying Breed
He's a genius - it's just taking the rest of the world time to catch up...
With his dark, macabre voice and lyrics, Scarface – who would have been the perfect narrator for the Twilight Zone or an Alfred Hitchcock movie – continues to elevate his game on this, his sixth solo effort. For over 12 years now, Scarface has been one of rap’s most skilled, but underrated rappers, his music going far deeper than just aimless and violent ghetto narratives. Scarface doesn’t deal merely with what happens, but the psychological reasons behind why it happens. And he’s not afraid to speak of his own personal demons too. Like all great writers, Scarface is cursed by introspection and insecurity, bordering on self-scrutiny, reflected not only on self-analytical tracks but in the psyche of his protagonists who forever dwell in their subconscious, thirsting to experience pain or death. One could equate Scarface’s lyrics with Edgar Allen Poe’s gothic horror stories.
This album conceptually refers to Scarface’s credence as a real gangsta. Musically it’s a little more diverse than any of Scarface’s five previous solo albums, although bass-heavy Houston-fried funk and gothic funk, seasoned with a tinge of gospel continue to dominate. As with most Scarface albums, your enjoyment increases as you absorb the lyrics, and while this perhaps doesn’t have the kind of outstanding cuts that you’ll have heard on ‘The Diary’ or ‘The World Is Yours’ it’s probably, track for track, his most consistent album to date. Impressive for a man who’s now recorded some 12 albums, including those as a part of the Geto Boys. Outstanding tracks include ‘They Down With Us’ that uses Boogie Down Productions’ ‘Still #1’ break, and ‘And Yo’ featuring Redman. Jay-Z also appears, keeping up Scarface’s impressive array of collaborations that, in the past, have included Ice Cube and 2Pac.
One gets the impression that if Scarface were a rock or folk star, or he took his narratives out from the ghettos into the suburbs, he’d be hailed universally as a genius. Instead, Scarface prefers to produce albums that differ conceptually, but musically never sells out his Fifth Ward roots. Irrespective of this, he’s a genius nonetheless. It’s just taking the rest of the world time to catch up. Maybe they will once they hear this.
Derek A Bardowell