Scarface Explains Why He Is Done With The Geto Boys & Swears It’s For Good
The Geto Boys are a legendary 30-year Houston, Texas Hip-Hop group. While more than 13 years have passed without an album, the trio has toured in recent years. In 2015, the famous lineup of Scarface, Willie D, and Bushwick Bill asked fans to donate $100,000 to crowd-fund another project. A total of 289 backers raised $46,647 towards an eighth LP said to be titled Habeas Corpus. The goal was less than halfway met. In response, Scarface vowed that he was finished recording with the group he’d been with since the late 1980s.
Scarface appears on the latest episode of Questlove Supreme, taped before a live audience in South By Southwest. The artist born Brad Jordan claims he is currently “retired.” The Houston, Texas legend, who released Deeply Rooted: The Lost Files late last year declares that he is uninterested in feature work. Throughout Face’s incredible career, he has made similar claims in the past. He notably stated he was hanging it up after 2008’s Emeritus, his last Rap-A-Lot Records LP. Last year, the MC announced that he and DJ Quik were at work on an album featuring both rapper/producers playing instruments.
As fans wait to see how long Scarface’s currently retirement lasts, the O.G. did not mince words on why he will not record or tour with his former group. In the lucid discussion with Questlove, Phonte Coleman, “Suga” Steve, Unpaid Bill, and Laiya, Face stresses that the Geto Boys were a manufactured group from the beginning.
“We didn’t know who the f*ck we were. We just got in the van one day, and rode out somewhere, and rapped,” says Scarface of signing his first contract in August of 1988. After Rap-A-Lot Records founder J. Prince heard the original 12″ single “Scarface,” the car salesman and fledgling record exec recruited the artist then known as DJ Akshen to join the label’s franchise group. In an overhaul after 1988’s Making Trouble, Scarface and Willie were added. That LP’s Bushwick Bill and DJ Ready Red remained on board. Sire Jukebox and Prince Johnny C were removed from the collective, remaining around the label. Then just a teenager, Scarface admits, “I had no [experience] in the music industry. I just wrote my sh*t, and I left.” Of his newfound band, he says, “We’re not friends. We don’t hang out. We’re not cool. ‘I don’t know y’all. Why do I want to hang around here for?'”
That was 1988. Thirty years later, despite platinum and gold plaques, touring, and many collaborations, Scarface stresses that little changed. “We’re not friends now.” As a host suggests that while they may not be friends a group can be a family. “Family? No.” Face adds, “Don’t say [Bushwick] Bill’s name too loud, ’cause he’ll pop his little ass up in here. I swear to goodness.”
Questlove then provides a 1997-1998 anecdote from a Roots gig. “[Bushwick Bill] took a nap inside my kick-drum!” he recalls of a concert. “He was laying in it; there was a bunch of pillows inside. He sat on the drum riser and then he just took a nap inside of the kit.”
Scarface responds, “I got some Bill stories, but I’ll let him tell his own.” The Questlove Supreme cast brings up the We Can’t Be Stopped album cover. In 1991, Bushwick Bill allegedly attempted suicide by shooting himself. The resulting injury caused the MC/dancer to lose an eye. The aftermath of the incident became the platinum album’s shocking artwork, including gruesome pics of his wound. “I was pissed…that’s so f*cking disrespectful,” Face seems to imply regarding Bill’s attempt on his life. Brad says Rap-A-Lot VP Tony “Chief” Randle called him and Willie D, separately, and asked them to get to the hospital, fast. “We got the call at five o’clock in the morning that Bill had got shot in the eye. I’m like, ‘he’s dead,’ but somehow that lil’ mothaf*cka rose up…I don’t know where [the bullet] went, but I know that mothaf*cka ain’t dead, still, to this day.”
Label founder J. Prince requested that the group assemble for may have been the last photo together. “J’s so motherf*cking smart; he thought Bill was gonna die too.” Scarface says the group obliged. “We thought Bill was gonna die, and we were gonna take a picture on Bill’s deathbed, and that sh*t was gonna sell a million records—and it did. F*ck it. We did it.” However, the 1991 incident (which Bill addressed on “Ever So Clear”) changed the dynamic. “From that point on, Bill has been a walking-24-7-365 f*ckin’ Halloween costume, bro.” The Jamaican-born Bill has regularly dressed up and musical references to Child’s Play‘s “Chuckie” and Batman‘s “The Joker.”
Questlove asks Scarface when he and Bushwick last spoke. “Bro. I don’t never talk to Bill no more. We’re good…I’m fine. It’s good. We left [our relationship] at a great place.” Quest’ asks the same about Willie D. “Me and Willie [D] talk sometimes. But Willie ain’t come out on stage, one time, and I still kinda feel f*cked up about that. We had a concert in Houston and sh*t. It was DJ Quik, E-40, some great sh*t goin’ on; I was the co-headliner with Ice Cube,” begins Brad. “Now a couple weeks before, Willie and Bill came out with Treach to do the ‘Mind Playin’ Tricks…’ record, right? And I wrote [Bushwick Bill’s verse, my verse, and produced] the f*ckin’ record. So I do the sh*t, and I’m thinkin’ Willie [is] gonna come out and [perform] on the strength, ’cause you know, we’re probably gonna go on tour one of these days. And then he didn’t go out on my set; he went out on Ice Cube’s set. I was like, ‘You know what, man? I ain’t never goin’ on tour with you no more.’ We ain’t gonna do no motherf*ckin’ songs no more, none of that sh*t…F*ck all that sh*t.”
Perhaps pointing the Geto Boys’ drama in the ’90s, 2000s, and 2010s, Questlove says, “You know I don’t believe that, right?” Scarface asserts, “On God. There it is. No. Forget it.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Scarface says that Ice Cube’s “No Vaseline” diss towards N.W.A. caused Willie D to leave the group after We Can’t Be Stopped. Face says he discusses the events in his memoir, Diary Of A Madman, he does not specify why, but points out that Cube name-checked the MC/boxer in the scathing diss. After a solo career, Willie returned to Bill and Face in 1995. New Orleans rapper Big Mike of The Convicts replaced Willie on 1993’s Til Death Do Us Part.
In the engaging discussion, Scarface discusses his family’s rich musical history, Mike Dean’s early music chops, and why “Mind Playin’ Tricks On Me” did not end up on Mr. Scarface Is Back, as originally planned.
Listen to the full episode of Scarface on Questlove Supreme.
Ambrosia For Heads and Scarface released the “Now You See Me” edition of the single.