Scarface Takes A Long, Honest Look Back At The Diary 20 Years Later

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Twenty years ago, Scarface released his third solo album, The Diary. A five-mic album in The Source, the Rap-A-Lot Records effort is cemented as one of the benchmarks in Brad Jordan’s extensive, near 30-year career. With a platinum plaque and two charting singles, the effort had popularity, despite incredibly dark subject matter, dealing with ‘Face’s depression, violence in the streets of Houston, and a strong theme surrounding mortality.

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For their longtime “Classic Material” column, XXL magazine celebrated the 20th anniversary with an in-depth interview with Scarface surrounding The Diary.

We rapped for the neighborhoods. I didn’t give a fuck about Rap, being a rapper. I just wanted to impress the guys in the neighborhood that I grew up with. I just give a fuck about how many numbers of people in my neighborhood loved my shit, how many cars drive by bangin’ my shit.

I think when a person touches on death, and when you further touch on death and touched it in the way that I touched it, you can’t do nothing but think. And [2Pac] used to always say, ‘You gonna make a muthafucka think, or you gonna make a muthafucka dance.’ That’s ’Pac’s words. He’s saying, ‘The niggas want what the bitches want.’ I wanted to make a muthafucka think.

In order to be a great, you gotta be among the greats. For a muthafucka to even put me in the company of the likes of a [The Notorious] B.I.G. or a fuckin’ Nas or a fuckin’ Rakim or a Slick Rick or a Doug E. Fresh or a Big Daddy Kane or a [Kool] G Rap or a Jay Z or a Beanie Sigel or a fuckin’ Q-Tip. Whoever they put me [with]. Or a 2Pac. If my name surfaces in that shit, I know I did something. Out of all of the muthafuckas that could have been, I was one of the best rappers that they ever heard. That’s my legacy.

In a separate segment interview, Scarface recalls writing that album at 23 years old (with a career in Rap eight years deep). The Geto Boy opens up about the elements of drugs and alcohol influencing the album, and Rap-A-Lot’s J. Prince advising certain aspects of the LP, the bad editing job for the singles, and more.

Related: Finding The GOAT: MC Eiht Vs. Scarface…Who You Got?