Tag Archives: Scarface


If I didn’t know better, I’d think rappers I listen to actually read this blog!  Last May you could catch me lamenting the new directions of the Boosie sound since he re-emerged from prison no longer “Lil'”, but somewhat unconvincingly “Badazz”.  Fresh off of reading Diary of a Madman I was drawing mad parallels between his and Scarface’s careers when they were first given big label time and money to produce a project, resulting in very polished but emotionally lackluster final products.

Today Boosie gave me an easy way to kick off my New Years Resolution to keep active on this writing shit with the aptly titled In My Feelings.  It’s like he put together a perfect 10-song response to every element in that previous post.  Every ounce of emotion and urgency that I missed on Touch Down 2 Cause Hell has been delivered tenfold on this newest offering.  This is the kind of Boosie that you can sit down and listen to with your eyebrows up and your mouth agape trying to keep the tears from falling.  For maximum cherry-on-topness in relating to my critique, he even rocks an ill Scarface cadence on the “Warning Signs” chorus.  Spooky!

Boosie Badazz – Warning Signs

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A couple weeks ago I was taken aback when the homie at Rap Music Hysteria! brought up some concerns he had about the new directions in Boosie’s post-incarceration output.  I’m usually skeptical about comebacks of any kind, it’s too easy for even the most gifted artists to lose the magic when there is a break in their creative flow, but everything I’d heard from Boosie since he completed his sentence showed promise.  I remember watching the Show the World video when it first came out and before verse one I could tell he wasn’t the same man – dark, sunken eyes, prison yard muscles inflating a black sweatshirt that would have hung on old school Boosie like a muumuu, and a facial expression somehow even more resigned yet hopeless than before his penitentiary stint, even when he smiled.

As the music continued to flow, it was clear that Boosie’s transformation was not skin-deep, and I welcomed the new developments with excitement and respect.  He was doing what so few rappers are able to do – age with grace.  He hadn’t abandoned on his old style, but he didn’t resign himself to it to the point of awkward self-imitation.  Sure the music was less fun than his younger material, but I would have been more concerned if it was.  As people mature, I expect them to become interested in more mature subjects.  In place of the levity (to use my man’s term) of old Boosie was a captivating sense of fervency and fortitude that I found just as compelling as his previous (relative) lightheartedness.  As far as I could tell he was doing exactly what a 32 year old rapper should be doing: taking what he’d learned from his youth and distilling it into a new creative fuel that could sustain a whole second wind of quality material free from the self conscious style-morphing or played-out drudgery so often found with rappers in his age group.

So when I read homie’s post I wanted to stick up for Boosie, I thought everything was rosy!  Then I listened to the song he posted from his then forthcoming post-prison debut album and I was suddenly much less confident in my opinion.  I’m even less confident now that Touch Down 2 Cause Hell is on the shelves.  I’d hoped that “All I Know” wouldn’t be representative of the album as a whole, just a tinge of grandiose accessibility insinuated among 18 tracks rooted in the grounded intensity that Boosie has always excelled at.  But the homie’s concerns have proven valid.  There seems to be a clear shift toward appealing to a more mainstream demographic in this effort; the production flashy, reverby, and polished, the features seem to be chosen by either hot-right-now standards (Young Thug, Quan) or established-name standards (Jeezy, Rick Ross, TI, Chris Brown) and not by who would actually be a good compliment to his style (even the two Webbie features feel like they were done out of some sense of obligation than any real chemistry between the two), and, as Si Mane Price points out, there is a total lack of regional identity on this album, which has always been one of Boosie’s strong points.

Boosie Badazz – Spoil You (feat. T.I.)

I just finished Scarface’s new book and he talked about how making The Fix was such a liberating experience for him: he got a fat advance before sessions even started, he was working with a label he’d respected his whole life (Def Jam), he had “the best beats, the best studios, and the best engineers at my disposial”, he could spend “thirty or fifty grand on one track” if he wanted, he worked with all the hot producers of the time (The Neptunes, Kanye West), he almost got a damn Stevie Nicks feature on “In Between Us“.  Everything was luxuriously presented to him like a casino buffet and he got to record a whole album feeling fully supported and free.  But The Fix is not Scarface’s best album.  I’d take The Diary over it any day, and it’s interesting to hear him talk about his process in making that album:

There was never a moment where we sat down and said, This album is going to be this, this, and this, and it’s going to fuck motherfuckers’ heads up for real!  It was never like that with us.  We just knew I was cold, N.O. Joe and Mike Dean and my uncle Eddie were cold, and all of the musicians that we brought in to work with us were bad motherfuckers.  I’d get fucked up and record and see what came of it and then take that and see what we could do with it.

The process shows though heavily on both of these albums, for better and for worse.  The Fix was recorded in an upper echelon New York studio and it fucking sounds like it.  The Diary was recorded at his house with his friends and it fucking sounds like it.  I’m sure the process for The Fix was more enjoyable for him, but it did not result in better music.

Touch Down 2 Cause Hell is Boosie’s The Fix, and while I’m happy that both of these extremely talented artists reached a level of success where they can create in the lap of luxury, the music definitely suffers.  I don’t wish that Scarface had to always record on painkillers, Miller Lite, and pounds of weed because he’d recently broken his hand punching through a wall, and I don’t want Boosie’s process to be any more arduous, but isn’t there a way for these artists to have some room to breathe without them getting all self conscious and wanting to prove themselves as “great rappers” in some abstract sense?  The journalists certainly aren’t helping.  The Fix got 5 mics in The Source, and Touch Down 2 Cause Hell is receiving more favorable press from the mainstream rap media than any of his previous efforts.  I’d like to think that Boosie just needed to get that album out of his system or prove a point before returning to his previous self-assured disposition, but I’ve watched too many rappers start down this road and discover that it’s one-way.  As a human being, I’m happy Boosie has arrived at the comfort level he has earned, but as a rap fan I’m sad to see what I’ve always loved about him fade away.

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I don’t celebrate 4/20 in the usual way but I have much appreciation for the many great songs written about the world’s most rapidly-becoming-legalized herb.

Devin the Dude – Sticky Green

Angie Stone – Green Grass Vapors

Quasimoto – Greenery

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Plenty of rappers have made Tony Montana references in a songs, thrown in a Tony Montana skit before a track starts, sampled his theme, or named a whole song after him, and at least one owes his moniker to him, but it’s not every day you hear a rapper do a full-on Tony Montana impression for an entire song.

King Louie – Tony

Side note: look out for the Chance the Rapper cameo around 0:52.

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Whoa, this video is really far out.

Scarface – Smile (feat. 2Pac & Johnny P)

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I just read Andrew Noz’s interview with Pimp C from 2007.  I’d recommend reading the whole thing, but I couldn’t help but post this excerpt up, with some links added by me.

N: What do you think causes that divide in hip hop?
C: What causes a motherfucker to just straight up be a hater on these streets? What causes a motherfucker that you went to school with your whole life to want to shoot you and rob you? Jealous, envy, greed, wicked men, deceitful hearts, females with penises. Bitch ass niggas is what causes this shit…  That’s why I see there’s so much division. Let me tell you something man, I don’t hear certain motherfuckers tripping off coasts man. If niggas having money I don’t hear them dissing the south. I was just on the phone with Cam’ron. Cam’ron ain’t trippin on the south. Cam’ron’s opening up a record company in the south. I don’t hear him complaining. I don’t hear Jay-Z on his record dissing the south. I don’t hear Fat Joe dissing the south, in fact I see Fat Joe embracing our sound. I don’t hear Scarface on records talking shit about the west coast. I don’t hear real niggas on the west coast like WC or Ice Cube dissing the east or the south. It be pussy motherfuckers with this bullshit. They keep saying “You niggas fucking up hip hop.” Man let me tell you something, everytime a man spit a rap, don’t make them records hip hop records, we making country rap tunes down here. And everybody want to be mad at D4L and Dem Franchize Boys. Guess what man? What’s the difference between them records and [Rappin’ Duke’s] “Da Ha Da Ha”?

N: It’s just party music.
C: Exactly. What’s the difference man? What you so mad about? We need different genres of this music so that it can keep expanding and so that it can stay at the forefront and we can keep eating. It’s got to change. Everything can’t be ice water and cool, everything can’t be hardcore all the time, everything can’t be one tempo. We need different genres of this thing called rap. Mary J. Blige is just as much hip hop as Notorious BIG as King Tee was as Rodney O and Joe Cooley.

UGK – Quit Hatin’ the South

Better yet, maybe we can just quit hatin in general.  RIP Pimp C

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