Willie D Reveals The Origins Of Geto Boys’ “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” (Audio)
In the last three years, Scarface has had at least two very memorable interview conversations with the Combat Jack Show. In his latest episode, Combat sits down with another high profile Geto Boys member in Willie D.
The Houston, Texas native and onetime Rap-A-Lot Records star discusses his views on parenthood, the impetus for his new “Coon” song series, and his prolific late 1980s battle rap career.
At 1:16:00, Willie D discusses his role in the Geto Boys. After the unit’s first album in 1989, Willie D would join DJ Akshen (n/k/a Scarface) to revamp the lineup. After reportedly watching original Geto Boys dancer Bushwick Bill rhyme a Public Enemy verse at the Rap-A-Lot Records office, Willie would suggest that the Jamaican-born Bill join the group (which also featured DJ Ready Red).
“My role [in the Geto Boys] was really [to be] the dude that was the political thinker in the group. I was the guy to be like, ‘What are the hot button issues goin’ on? Let’s talk about that shit,'” Willie deduces. “As far as stylistically, I was the loud dude—I’ma shout my way through this shit. [Bushwick] Bill’s role was to be the humorous guy, the comic relief clown. [Scarface’s] role was to be the smooth, cool, laid back dude. If you watch, for years, we played it exactly like that. They continued to play it like that, but I modified my style somewhat to take my shit to another level–not to say what they had goin’ for them was not working, and does not work today.” Willie D would exit the group in 1992 to focus on his solo career and boxing, before returning for 1996’s The Resurrection. “But just for me, I felt like it was time for me to switch it up, because I thought that I could do better.”
Willie D was a critical part of the Geto Boys’ most famous, and highest charting hit, 1991’s “Mind Playin’ Tricks On Me.” Explaining the origins of the gold-certified We Can’t Be Stopped single, Willie Dennis reveals, “First of all, Brad brought the song to the table.” Scarface took an expression heard regularly in his family. “He got the idea from his grandmother. His grandmother would always say when she [lost] something, ‘My mind playin’ tricks on me.’ So he took that. A light went off—or it came on. He wrote like three verses to the song. The song was basically written. When J. [Prince] heard the song, he said, ‘This needs to be a Geto Boys song,’ ’cause [Scarface] had actually wrote it for himself.” Three months after We Can’t Be Stopped, Scarface released his solo debut, the gold-certified Mr. Scarface Is Back.
At Rap-A-Lot founder/CEO J. Prince’s request, Willie D and Bushwick Bill were added to the Scarface-produced track. “So I went into the studio and I wrote my verse to the song. He ended up with the first verse; that’s why he ended up with two verses.” With Scarface having the first and third verses, Willie took second, and Bill rhymed the fourth verse. Willie’s lines, particularly, “I make big money, I drive big cars, everybody know me” have become heavily referenced Rap lyrics. Artists ranging from The Notorious B.I.G. to Insane Clown Posse, The Clipse to Killer Mike have riffed on the single to varying degrees. Willie opens up about how he initially perceived this as “biting” but would later realize it to be flattery.
“I didn’t even know ‘Mind Playin’ Tricks’ was anything special,” admits the outspoken H-Town vet. “I can’t lie. I didn’t know how to pick songs back then.”
To close the interview, Willie D recalls the Geto Boys performing in New York City during a period of critical controversy for the group. He reveals how, despite the curses and messages in the music, he was able to win over a crowd through acknowledging the life and death of Trouble T-Roy of Heavy D & The Boyz. He closes in an update on if the heralded group will ever make another album, despite the failed 2015 crowd-sourced funding campaign.
Willie D’s aforementioned Relentless Music single is available on iTunes.