Even when it comes to Full Clip, VIBE has the sense enough to know not to bury the lede. So here it is: Scarface has left Rap-A-Lot Records. In an era of frequent artists drops and changing imprints, the news is indeed surprising given that the man born Brad Jordan has been associated with the James Prince-owned landmark Houston label since 1988. Back then, Scarface made his debut as a member of a revamped Geto Boys with country hard talker Willie D. and menacing dwarf Bushwick Bill. Face, whose at times violent, dark, vivid, complex and emotional lyrics dissected street life, would eventually find immense solo acclaim, becoming the south’s most heralded MC. But when the rapper, multi-instrumentalist and producer talks about going independent on a new album he’s currently finishing up tentatively entitled The Habit, he speaks with both regret and optimism for the future.
“I think with anything that you do in life it has to run its course,” Face tells VIBE of his split from his longtime label home and J. Prince. “And I think that my business relationship with Rap-A-Lot has ran its course. I’m not just a rapper anymore. You can’t make me an artist, anymore. It’s time for me to have my own shit. There’s a lot of money in successful independent records. I was totally unaware of that throughout my career by the label. If you put a few million records out and you are making eight bucks a pop, everything is supposed to be everything. I’m supposed to be a part of that money, right? I think with the amount of money independent artists make I wish I would have made the move a little sooner.”
“I feel good about my opportunities,” Face continues. “I have a son that’s 19-years-old who is a much better rapper than I was at that age! I’m trying to make his career right. I’m going to give him a couple of songs on my new album, which I’m aiming for an October release. He doesn’t have a MC name yet. I’m just going to call him Chris Jordan…because he’s a bad motherfucka, man.”
Whatever the future of Scarface, he can rest assured that he has had one of the most consistent and enviable careers in hip-hop. The always-candid icon takes a look back at his remarkable run. —Keith Murphy
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.