Scarface & Willie D Have A Heated Exchange About The Grammy Hip-Hop Tribute

On 1991’s We Can’t Be Stopped album, the Geto Boys scoffed at Grammy Awards courtesy of their charged-up song “Trophy.” Over 30 years later, Scarface—a legendary MC/producer without a trophy—performed at the 2023 Grammy Awards, as part of the Hip Hop 50 tribute curated by The Roots’ Questlove. There, Brad Jordan shared the stage with LL Cool J, Run-D.M.C., Ice-T, Too Short, The LOX, Missy Elliott, Method Man, and many others. However, while performing “Mind Playin’ Tricks On Me” (from the same 1991 Geto Boys LP), Scarface did not share the stage with Willie D, who was reportedly not invited.

On February 5, Willie D posted an Instagram video expressing his frustration with the Grammys for not including the Geto Boys group. The other artist from We Can’t Be Stopped, Bushwick Bill, passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2019. Like Bill, DJ Ready Red, who was in the Geto Boys group when Scarface and Willie joined, died in 2018.

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‘Face and Willie currently host a podcast, Geto Boys Reloaded. On the latest episode, released this week, the two Houston, Texas Hip-Hop pioneers have a heated discussion about the performance after Willie confronts his co-host, former band-mate, and longtime friend.

The audio episode comes to life in video clips. “You feel like you was slighted,” Scarface says to his band-mate after 1:30 in the first segment. “Slighted? I feel beyond slighted,” Willie responds. “Like what I’m try’na figure out is … First of all, I asked you [that] Wednesday when we left [taping the podcast], I said, ‘What you got [going on] for the weekend?’ You said, ‘I’m finna go fuck with this Grammys thing.’ I said, ‘Alright man, safe travels.’ Because, you know, that’s how we do it. Saturday come [around], I’m online and an article comes across about the Grammys. And I see ‘Geto Boys and Scarface’ in the lineup.”

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Scarface interrupts Willie. “I wanna see where it says ‘Geto Boys, Scarface. I don’t never wanna get Geto Boys and Scarface intertwined, ever. Because I don’t need Geto Boys to be Scarface, you feel me? So if it said ‘Geto Boys and Scarface’ or any of that sh*t together, then they wrong for that because I can stand on my own two feet with no Geto Boys.”

In the late 1980s, both Scarface and Willie D were Houston solo artists. Rap-A-Lot Records founder J. Prince brought the two men together in an effort to revamp the group lineup. Starting with 1989’s Grip It! On That Other Level, Scarface and Willie D became the MCs, joining Bushwick Bill and DJ Ready Red—who had appeared on 1988’s Making Trouble. Former artists Sire Jukebox and Johnny C. were replaced in this iteration, the latest since the Ghetto Boys first debuted in 1986 with “Car Freaks.” Since joining the group, Willie and Face have had a complicated relationship. Willie left for a time in the 1990s (replaced by Louisiana’s Big Mike), before returning. In the 2010s, Willie D and Bushwick Bill called for a reunion—while Scarface used an subsequently unsuccessful crowd-sourcing fundraiser to test interest. Upon that, Scarface vowed to leave the Geto Boys behind. However, in 2019, just weeks before Bushwick Bill succumbed to a bout with pancreatic cancer, Scarface agreed to a final tour.

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After hearing Scarface’s claim that he is bigger than his former group, Willie D does not disagree. “[That] is why it’s so baffling, because everybody knows that, right?” Willie responds. “You carved out a place in history for yourself. You were so good at what you did as a solo artist – you get that. Can’t nobody deny that, so ain’t no hate, ain’t no jealousy whatsoever. Remember I’m the one who said, ‘Hey man, you oughta call yourself Scarface.’ So I ain’t gon’ never hate on you. Never. When I see you win, I see Geto Boys win because we are a group.”

However, the former boxer adds another layer, “So when somebody start talking about Scarface standing on his own, I said to myself, ‘Well Scarface got enough hit songs where he don’t need to be doing a Geto Boys song. He could have just done a Scarface song.’ If you would have done a Scarface song, that would have been different. A Scarface song is a Scarface song. That’s on Scarface’s catalog, not Geto Boys’ catalog. And to do a song that’s from the Geto Boys’ catalog, ‘Mind Playing Tricks on Me,’ a song that I co-wrote and to not have me included…”

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Scarface interjects his opinion surrounding the Geto Boys’ biggest hit. “Let’s go back to how the song came about too because you did have a verse on that record. Those three verses, we all know where those three verses and that music came from. You put another verse on it. But do you recall back when you heard that song and J. was trying to get you to rap on that muthaf*cka that you didn’t like it? Do you remember that?” Willie, who has the song’s second verse, chimes in, “I don’t know if I didn’t like the song, but I know that I didn’t think it was phenomenal.” In 2016, Willie told Combat Jack that ‘Face brought the song to the table, after inspiration from Brad Jordan’s grandmother. “I didn’t even know ‘Mind Playin’ Tricks’ was anything special,” he said at the time. “I can’t lie. I didn’t know how to pick songs back then.”

In 2023, Scarface celebrates his decision surrounding the track. “Okay well it was phenomenal. And actually now that I think about it, it’s a lot of sh*t that I do that’s phenomenal. And I think the reversal of trying to put that sh*t on me because you didn’t go there to the Grammys is f*cked up. Because my phone rang and if a muthaf*cka didn’t reach out to you, it’s not my fault. So don’t put that shit on me, Willie. That’s not cool.” Scarface adds, “And if I perform that song… I don’t get mad when you go out and perform that song, bro. And I wouldn’t even give a f*ck if you got the call. That’s not how I’m made. Like, I don’t care about that. Have you ever went on and performed ‘Mind Playing Tricks on Me’ without me?”

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Both men agree that they have performed the song at concerts. In another clip, Scarface says he learned that he was asked to perform that song by another person, but does not say who. Willie says he does not believe ‘Face did not think to call his former band-mate. The two men get heated over who is to blame, and what can be done after-the-fact. “I’m glad people got a chance to see me, Willie, ’cause they don’t really…” Scarface says, before Willie interrupts, “‘Cause you’re a selfish-ass ni**a!” Scarface charges back, “You’re way more selfish than me.” Willie is adamant that he would never do that Scarface. “I really don’t give a f*ck about the Grammys; I don’t care about none of them gatekeepin’-ass-ni**as, none of that sh*t they do—what I care about is the Geto Boys. You know, like when we decided to do this podcast, I did this podcast for the sake of the brand.” “I did it for the sake of the brand also,” agrees Brad. “Actually, it was my idea to do this sh*t, Willie.” The co-host agrees, but adds that his Willie D Live podcast was already successful at the time.

In a third clip, the men raise their voices in this debate. Both men agree that Hip Hop deserves more time. Scarface points to other groups, including De La Soul and Wu-Tang Clan, who had group members appear—rather than full lineups. While The LOX featured Sheek Louch alongside a song made by Jadakiss featuring Styles P, Rakim did appear without his former band-mate Eric B. As pointed out in an episode of Ambrosia For Heads’ What’s The Headline podcast, Rakim changed lyrics of “Eric B. Is President” to omit his former partner’s name, while DJ Jazzy Jeff supported him from the turntables.

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The Geto Boys Reloaded episode rollout also includes a fourth video clip, where Willie D tells Scarface that his children deserve an opportunity to value his Hip-Hop contributions on significant stages.

In 2019, both Willie D and Scarface ran for Houston City Council seats. Last week, the man who created the Geto Boys, Rap-A-Lot Records founder J. Prince made headlines in an ongoing war of words with Migos’ Offset. Previously, J. Prince appeared on Geto Boys Reloaded.

#BonusBeat: Geto Boys’ “Trophy”: