Scarface: The Grand Finale
Emeritus is Scarfaces grand finale. Deriving his ninth solo albums title from a word defined as, one retired from professional life but permitted to retain as an honorary title the rank of the last office held, Face is officially announcing to the world that hes done with the rap game.
After the December release of Emeritus [click to listen], Scarface will be retired from his emcee profession, having attained the rank of legend over the course of his nearly 20-year career.
Or will he? Rappers retiring has become the tool du jour for those artists needing the threat of never recording again as leverage in contract renegotiations (see: Too Short), or just those artists engaged in a self-serving act of egomania (see: Jay-Z, and apparently now Lupe Fiasco). Even Face himself has previously threatened to put down the mic for good, a few years following the release of his 2002 classic solo effort, The Fix, and a year prior to his eighth effort, Made, was released.
So HipHopDX took it upon ourselves to at least attempt to find out if Face is really serious about Emeritus being his last stand. During our recent convo with the Houston O.G. he insisted that his days as emcee Scarface are indeed over, claiming that he is fed up with Hip Hops stagnation and currently preparing for a post-rap life as a musician (Mr. Jordan is a multi-instrumentalist) creating more original compositions in other genres of music including rock and funk. But in true-to-rapper form, The Artist Formerly Known As Scarface also hinted that a group effort with another legendary spitter (or two) may be on the way, a deal with Jigga might be forthcoming, and that after Barack Obama is inaugurated as our 44th President all current plans for his future might change.
HipHopDX: First and foremost, why you lying to the people and saying you done? You know Face cant stay away from that mic.
Scarface: [Laughs] Like I said before, Im not done. I just think that the whole Scarface ride [is] limiting me [from reaching] my full potential as an artist, whether it be [in] Hip Hop, rock or whatever. I think Scarface just [showcased] a one dimensional side of my musical [ability].
DX: So you gonna reemerge as a guitartist, a band leader, like whats the next move?
Scarface: Ima do a few Rock albums. Ima do a few rock songs on some other stuff Im playing guitar on a song with The [Flaming] Hellcats, a Rock band. But, I havent really came up with [a plan for] what Ima do [next]. I just know that Scarface [created] a limit to what I could do [under] that umbrella.
DX: I know youre saying there are artistic and creative reasons behind this, but how much of a role did the root of all evil play in this decision to hang it up?
Scarface: Nah, it aint no money thang. If it was a money thing Id go [be] Scarface. Im really trying to advance and make music thats great.
DX: When we last spoke [click to read] you told me, The business side will make a muthafucka quit, and the business side will make a muthafucka do it again. So what business has to happen for Scarface the rapper to reemerge?
Scarface: I mean, it aint really much that the business side can do [Laughs]. I kinda made up in my mind what I wanna do with the beginning of my new career. I think just making great records is what Im gonna be known for [in] my new career.
DX: You told MTV that doing a group effort with either Ice Cube and Nas, Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel, or Bun B could bring you back to spittin [click to read]. And I was just curious if at least the duo effort with?
Scarface: [Interrupts] Well I know for a fact that one of those three records will be done.
DX: Okay, which one is that?
Scarface: I dont know [Laughs].
Scarface: I dont know, one of the three.
DX: What about the one with Bun [click to read]? I mean, the Rap-A-Lot connection
Scarface: Itll be like Bun [click to read] [and] "The Artist Formerly Known As Face."
DX: Well that Forgot About Me [click to listen] joint yall got with Wayne on the album, that definitely I think signals that theres a need for a duo album between yall.
Scarface: Yeah, well
DX: Now you mentioned wanting to collaborate with Jay-Z, and the last time we spoke you said, Im exercising my free agency, so maybe Jigga got a plan Could The Artist Formerly Known As Scarface join Jay on Live Nation?
Scarface: You know what? I havent got the phone call yet. We spoke on some other stuff, but [not] on that particular movement yet.
DX: On the title track from your new album you spit, You knowin what the outcome was/Fuck with one, fuck with all, we were bound by blood/Not the blood of the gang, but the blood of James/Its outta love for this nigga we pump slugs in frames. So I take from that verse that even if you do a deal with another label, as an emcee or another artist, that shouldnt be seen as a sign of you not fuckin with Rap-A-Lot anymore?
Scarface: Nah, thats my roots. Thats my grassroots. We together forever, regardless.
DX: And I guess Ill just ask the technical question, are you contractually obligated to do more solos for Rap-A-Lot?
Scarface: UhI mean, contractually obligated? Nah.
DX: Now on that title track you served this Bookman cat [click to read], and J Prince went at him on the album intro. But do you agree with J that this is really a conspiracy by law enforcement to use cats like Bookman to take yall down? Aint this just another muthafucka trying to use courtrooms to get paid?
Scarface: I think that whats going on with James and Bookman should be discussed between [them]. You should ask one of them about that. But I do see law enforcement doing whatever they gotta do to put a halt on what we doing. You know, as far as young, black entrepreneurs trying to get out of the neighborhood. And now that we have a president thats kinda seen firsthand how they handle young black men that come out of the ghetto and try to make something out of theyself, maybe itll be a law against that shit.
DX: What was Faces reaction the night of November 4, 2008?
Scarface: It was unbelievable. Me being the [skeptical] cat that I am, I assumed that it was gonna be some bullshit and we wasnt gonna know who the president was until this time next year, honestly. But when they was like, And we waiting on Ohio to come inOh, ladies and gentleman we have a new President. We have the first African-American President, I was like, Oh shit!
DX: So you think change is really gonna come? You a believer in that mantra?
Scarface: I believe in Obama. I believe in God. I believe that Muhammad was his messenger. And I believe that Barack Obama will make a change.
DX: Aww man, I gotta get back to the bullshit. Back on the lawsuit tip, on High Powered [click to listen] you dropped the You hit the highway, got money the fly way line, and you also went at him on Big Dogg Status from Made [click to read], but my question is why? Wanna Be A Baller [click to read] was 10 years ago, we wouldnt even be talking about Lil Troy still if not for Scarface.
Scarface: Well, I mean if you feel like Im talking to Lil Troy, let me clarify that right now. If somebody puts out some shit discrediting your credibility, discrediting your character, you wanna make sure that well, I do the whole world know that hes the muthafuckin rat, and I got the shit to prove it. This aint no typed up shit. This is actually court-documented shit that he went in and told.
DX: Yeah I noticed you flashed some paperwork in the High Powered video, and I know Troy had some of his own paperwork in the 06 Paperwork DVD. Do you plan to release what you have to the public like he did?
Scarface: Well its public record already. At first it was sealed. Then he filed a lawsuit against me for defaming his character. But my only defense to the charges brought up against me by him was for them to open up the books. And if it wouldnt have said what it said then I woulda been guilty of defaming his character. But since his 5K1 [downward departure sentencing reduction below guidelines for assisting the government] shows otherwise, then hes the fuckin rat. So I didnt discredit him. But him thinking that Im a muthafuckin rat, thats totally against my upbringing. I aint cut like that, so I really gotta bury him in the mud that he created.
DX: Are you still having to [deal with the] appeal of [Troys] lawsuit?
Scarface: Nah, thats dead. Dont nobody wanna fight a losing battle.
DX: Lets move off that shit and back to the music. Where do these last two solos, Made and Emeritus, rank in your catalog?
Scarface: Ill leave that up for the public to decide. My honest opinion of my solo My favorite is The Fix [click to read]. But I love Made as well as Emeritus. Emeritus might be right there with The Fix.
DX: Word? Okay, man, thats a statement. Is quality, timeless Hip Hop music a thing of the past you think?
Scarface: I still create quality. I cant speak on everybody else.
DX: But youre retired now so[Laughs].
Scarface: [Laughs] No, that guy [Scarface is] retired.
DX: [Laughs] But I mean in terms of Hip Hop though, you think?
Scarface: I mean its quantity [over quality] right now. With the markets being fucked up like it is, and everybody trying to put something out to pay bills, shit, I understand. You know, put as much crap as you can [out there] and just hope something stick. Dude, I hear so many wack records, man. And I aint gonna say no names, but these fuckin records come out and they have huge impact at radio and video, just totally destroying black music. I dont know whos the culprit of this conspiracy to destroy black music, but that shit does not reflect what goes on [outside of the mainstream]. Its a whole lot of talented writers and musicians out here that just go overlooked because of this bullshit. Its a whole bunch of wack-ass shit that we can go on for days talking about. And [its like], Man, how in the fuck did that even get on the radio? You check the [spins] and the muthafucka is at 2,000 in six weeks or some shit, ya feel me?
DX: Yeah, unfortunately. Now I read where you said the Net fucked the game up, but I also read where you were biggin up Soulja Boy, who got in the game because of the Internet. So is technology
Scarface: [Interrupts] Well he got in the game cause of YouTube and shit like that, and exposing himself like that. [But] as far as giving a nigga shit away for free, cmon man, Im not down with that at all, because we have to pay for that Internet service. I think a muthafucka need to file a class action lawsuit against the Internet. We have to pay for that fuckin service, and the thanks we get for paying for the service is putting my shit online for free. America Online need to be sued.
DX: You dont see the justice in it though, of finally people being able to hear the music before they buy it? Where as in the 90s you would have to buy a tape and you aint even heard one note of music.
Scarface: I think they should go back to leaving it up to the artist to make great shit. I mean, in the 1960s and 70s, and 80s and 90s, like cmon man, thats some of the best music known to man, ever.
DX: I was just listening to The Commodores Zoom and it hit me how music in the 70s was so much more original and complete than anything Hip Hop or otherwise coming out these days.
Scarface: [Starts humming the melody to Zoom].
DX: Lionel Richie and The Commodores!
Scarface: That shit was unreal, right? Now recreate that shit.
DX: Well E-40 did a decent job I thought with his version.
Scarface: Yeah, butI mean, I love Earl [click to read], thats my dude, but man I want [it to be] the rappers rap and the breakers break. You know what I mean? Lets find some musicians out here. Lets make some music again, man. Let the poppers pop and the breakers break, thats what DMC said [on King Of Rock] [click to read]. You know what I mean? Im not fucking with the sampling no more. Im going [for] straight fuckin history. Im going [for] straight music history. Im going horns. Im going string sections. Im going [live] percussion and shit.
DX: So I maybe misheard you earlier, are you really like trying to put together a band?
Scarface: Dude, Im fin to exercise my ability to make music, man. Im a walking music encyclopedia. I probably heard and can play every song that you can name.
DX: But no formal plans of how you wanna channel that creativity?
Scarface: Nah. I am gonna put a band together [though], a nice funk band. Im [also] gonna put a nice Rock band together. And shit, who knows, I may even tour with Sades band or some shit. You never know where youll see me next. I [might be] going on the road with The Flaming Hellcats, cause I did a song with them playing guitar. Its unreal. When you hear it you gonna be like, Man, thats you?
DX: But you can still make classic Hip Hop even with sampling. I mean, A Minute To Pray And A Second To Die schooled me when I was about 14 on why not to chase chicks who chased dope boys A big time dope dealers all she wanted [Laughs].
Scarface: Exactly. That was some fantastic lyrical content over a fantastic beat that was made before. But then when you start looking at the original shit that I made like I Seen A Man Die, that just goes to show you that original shit that come out your head is just as good as shit that came before. Mary Jane is original. The 2Pac Smile [For Me] song [we did] is original.
DX: But you feel like you gotta step away from rappin to do the original [material]. Cant you like you said just make the original creations and still spit?
Scarface: Well, it aint that, it aint the rappin thang that Im concerned about. Cause its gonna always be me. Ima always be here, just Im gonna be moving into another direction in making music.
DX: What about supervising new spitters? Are you still talent scouting for new spitters, the new generation Scarfaces?
Scarface: Man, I heard a kid the other night in Ohio that was unreal.
DX: You remember a name?
Scarface: I cant remember his name. I got his number though. Im waiting on the opportunity to work with him, and The Product [click to read], and The Facemob real soon.
DX: Are there new official releases upcoming we can let the people know about?
Scarface: Theres new releases, but official not quite [yet].
DX: What aboutThis had skipped my radar, but you got a site, HereGoMyDemo.com, right?
Scarface: Yeah, thats just for people to post their music, upcoming artists trying to get they shit seen and heard. And its another community, outside of MySpace and Facebook, that only caters to music and musicians.
DX: Have you discovered any new talent via the site?
Scarface: I like a lot of shit on there, man. And I hope that A few cats made some great fuckin music. Im like, Damn, these muthafuckas deserve deals. I check HereGoMyDemo anonymously, but Im on it.
DX: What about other online operations or business ventures, you expanding your empire?
Scarface: Im just gonna tour overseas, man, and then Im gone. Im gonna take this overseas tour and Ima take a break and find me. Some notes musicians can hit and the whole world love it.
DX: Thats true. Music is universal. But true talent is hard to find, and definitely hard to maintain for as long as you have. So my final question is, is one of the honors youve earned with your retirement that of greatest southern emcee in Hip Hop history?
Scarface: Is that what they say?
DX: Some say. I definitely say.
Scarface: Well I aint gone nowhere [Laughs].
DX: [Laughs]. See I hate this, man, Too Short, Master P, they all did the same Like, Im just trying to figure [this] out. This cant be it. This cant be the end.
Scarface: I mean, nah. Im gonna continue to make records, man. But Scarface, [after] Emeritus hes done.
DX: Wow. End of an era.
Scarface: Id say. [But] Id rather make some more music, man. I got a new outlook on shit now.
DX: Where did this come from? I mean, just overtime
Scarface: I mean, after the inauguration [of Obama as President], man, I really think that my views on shits gonna change a lot.
DX: Its a new day.
Scarface: I think.