This is a the legendary Scarface breaking down his Geto Boys and solo albums. This was a very interesting read because Face takes us back on what his mentality was when he was putting together this music and his creative process as well. This is Part 1 and Im gonna feature Part II and III in the later weeks.
Grip It! On That Other Level (1989)—Geto Boys
I had no fucking idea this record was going to be [so controversial]. I was so excited to finally get my face on somebody’s cassette. The music just drove me. Willie D, Bill and myself literally didn’t know each other. We just sat around for a little while and recorded a few songs and after that James told us, ‘Ya’ll aint getting it done fast enough.’ They took us out to the middle of nowhere and left us together. We were in a house and it was the nicest fucking house I had ever been in my life. But back then we didn’t want to see no beautiful houses in the middle of nowhere. We wanted to be around that hip-hop movement. You also have to take into consideration that we were kids. I was about 17 back then. And we were not recording in a professional studio.
We didn’t get into a professional studio until Rick Rubin came along. But Rick did not want me in the Geto Boys. He didn’t like my rhyme style. Rick wanted to exploit the fact that we were from Texas and I didn’t rap like I was from Texas. I never asked what changed Rick Rubin’s tune. However, I know early on he wasn’t fucking with me. I guess he felt like since we started together, we should finish together, so Scarface stays.
We Can’t Be Stopped (1991)—Geto Boys
I think my manic-depressive state and suicidal tendencies played a huge role on who I was back then. “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” was one of the numerous songs I wrote and produced myself. There were three verses: my first two verses—the verse that Bill rapped was my own third verse. It was a record I originally recorded for my solo album, but nobody wanted that song. I swear…nobody. Willie D. didn’t think the record would work, but he wrote a verse to it anyway after J had done his research on this song. He found some people who were really feeling it. He wanted everybody to rap on it. It became a Geto Boys record.
If you look at my face on the We Can’t Be Stopped album cover you can tell I didn’t want to be apart of that photo shoot. Bill was still in the hospital. He was highly sedated, man. (Just days before the We Can’t Be Stopped photo shoot, a drunken and depressed Bushwick Bill shot himself in the eye after his girlfriend refused to shoot him during an altercation.) We took that picture at the actual hospital where Bill was at. And Chief, who was our manager at the time, said, ‘Bill, take the eye patch down.’ And I was like, ‘Awww shit! Man, this is some bullshit.’ I strongly believe that what goes on in this house stays in this house. I didn’t really want to put Bill out there like that. How many people have gotten their eye shot out and captured it on an album cover for everyone to remember? It’s hard to wake up in the morning and deal with that one.
Mr. Scarface Is Back (1991)
That album cover was shot near the same place we recorded the first Geto Boys album. And, no, that wasn’t real coke on the table. That was fucking flour. But the guns were real. Still, I was so reckless back then that at 19-year-old I know I would have taken that coke and sold it [laughs].
Willie D. didn’t like the fact that Scarface of the Geto Boys was printed on the cover. He did not like that shit one bit. But the plan was for me to always go solo. J new that; it was always understood. I think a song like “Mr. Scarface” became so popular because there were a lot of elements to it. First, it had that nursery rhyme intro that everybody could sing to. Then there was a real story you could follow. I consider myself a storyteller.
Til Death Do Us Part (1993)—Geto Boys
I didn’t want to be in the Geto Boys anymore. I had a successful solo career, so why would I want to join that ****ing group again? But I was contractually obligated to come back. I produced “Six Feet Deep” and “Street Life.” We had a new member in the group Big Mike because Willie didn’t want to be apart of the Geto Boys. Looking back, I did a lot of writing on this album
The World Is Yours (1993)
That funk you hear on The World Is Yours comes from my uncle Eddie. He has played bass on some of my albums. My uncle is an ex-crack head, ex-alcoholic, ex-everything. But he was a bad motherfucker. He played everything. He’s a Stanley Clarke, Bootsy Collins, Eddie Hazel, and Stanley Jordan all rolled up into one nigga. That’s where I got my funk from. I didn’t meet George Clinton and become friends with him until I was in my early ‘20s. So before I got the chance to meet Dr. Funkenstein, Eddie was my Funkenstein. He turned me on to Parliament, along with my mom. She’s another one of my big musical influences.
My mama taught me how to pull instruments out of songs. When I was four-years-old, she would tap out the basslines of a song on my leg while we were driving. There’s a certain theory in music that I feel that’s not necessarily something that you learn in music school. You can’t really teach feeling when it comes to music. Either it’s in your heart or it’s not. I can’t read music, but I can tell you what key the song is in.
The Diary (1994)
I was so dead set against what Rick Rubin had said. But when I got the chance to get into my own personal shit I realized, ‘Man, I can really rap.’ I stopped worrying what other people were saying because I realize that people liked me. My first two solo albums went gold. So, man, it became a point for me to rap about what I know…let me rhyme some shit; let me create some more complex rhyme patterns and show these people I can rap. That’s what you hear on The Diary. I remember recording “I Seen A Man Die”…I was so high. I made the original beat and bassline, but Mike Dean took it to another level when he started playing the organ and adding those eerie sounds. He moved the song into the direction of a scary movie.
It took me a while to write the actual lyrics. One night I was in my condo and I had just broken my hand, so I was taking Demerol. I took a downer, drank some beer and smoked a half a joint and I was so fucking high. I said, ‘God, if you let me come down off this shit, I’ll never do this again.’ But I’ll never forget the vibe in the studio when I laid the lyrics. I was so high and it was so cold and dark in that vocal booth. I had no idea I was breaking new ground writing a song about death in such a detailed way. All I knew was I wanted to come down off that high.
To be continued.. Look out for part 2!