Scarface Explains Turning Down A Jay Z Reference Track 15 Years Ago
Early this month, Scarface released Deeply Rooted. The Let’s Talk, LLC release is nearly seven years removed from ‘Face’s last studio solo, Emeritus. Speaking with VIBE magazine, the Houston, Texas native and Rap legend made some pointed remarks about the state of Hip-Hop music, especially in 2015.
“There’s so much shit going on in the world that could be talked about,” said the MC who appeared alongside Geto Boys brethren Willie D in a 2012 Trayvon Martin tribute song, “Hoodiez.” Nearly 30 years into the music industry, Scarface challenged his peers to do better. “Who cares how much money you have? Does that benefit the village? Who cares about what kind of kush you smoking? Does that benefit the village?” The onetime Geto Boys and Facemob member returned to the adage. “It takes a village. And if one person in the village is sick, the whole village dies.”
Of Deeply Rooted, the independent album which features Nas, Cee-Lo, Rick Ross, John Legend, and Z-Ro, Scarface said he is trying to be the change he wants to see. “I’m bringing words. I’m bringing the beat. I’m bringing the beat back to the village. I wanna spark thought among the people in our village.” Considered one of Rap’s leading influences, Scarface has personally mentored the careers of Devin The Dude, Beanie Sigel, and Ludacris.
In the interview, Scarface expressed apprehension towards publishing his 2015 memoir, Diary Of A Madman, he opens up about his longtime infatuation with death, and describes a childhood different than many. A particularly interesting revelation came when ‘Face revealed that in 2000, he was presented with an entire reference track by collaborator Jay Z. Jay, who at the time had written verses for Dr. Dre, Foxy Brown, and Roc-A-Fella artist Amil, reportedly responded to Scarface’s desire for a “radio hit.”
At the time, it had been since 1997 that ‘Face had a hosted song on the US Top 200 charts, courtesy of the Tupac-assisted “Smile.” Entering a foray at Def Jam Records, making him label-mates with Jay, the reference track ultimately went unused. Explaining his reasoning, Brad Jordan said he “felt uncomfortable” using another writer’s words. Amidst the ongoing discourse surrounding collaborative writing in Hip-Hop, the multi-platinum veteran deduced, “It’s a lot of people who can perform, but they can’t write. And it’s a lot of people that can write that can’t perform.”
In 2002, Scarface would make his next (and most recent) Top 200 appearance on the singles charts alongside Jay Z and Beanie Sigel via “Guess Who’s Back?”
In the same interview, Scarface explains some of his MC influences, and how he has been specifically inspired by the likes of Ice Cube, Kool G Rap, and Chuck D.