As Rap-A-Lot Records turns 20 years old, a lot of the people who made the label what it is arenít there to blow out the candles. Most would concur that thereís none bigger than Brad Jordan, better known as Mr. Scarface. Since 1988ís Making Trouble, the Geto Boys did just that, for anybody who was comfortable keeping southern Hip-Hop out. While juggling the group duties, ĎFace also reigned as King of the South with a grip of successful solos.
Today, Scarface has reportedly retired from making albums. Without a label, ĎFace sticks to features and his always constant, rarely celebrated production duties. With work logged for Nas, Chamillionaire, and U.G.K., the future seems as bright as the past. Get Scarfaceís thoughts on religion, baseball, and his paperwork. Scarface never molded to the conventions people expected him to fit, and this exclusive interview is no different.
AllHipHop.com: What got you interested in Islam?
Scarface: I think the views of this religion are a lot different from the views of Christianity.
AllHipHop.com: Was there anything in particular that attracted you?
Scarface: Itís just that they see things the way you do. I donít really want to go into it right now, itís a long story.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think that Islam provides with you more freedom than Christianity?
Scarface: Weíll see. [laughs]
AllHipHop.com: How long have you been interested?
Scarface: I just started. Right now, Iím not rolling with anyone. You know me; thatís like a gang to me. When you put a stipulation on a boundary or a color or a religion, that sounds like gang talk to me. I want to be somewhere where itís not illegal to me what I am. Right now it is illegal for me to be in church, because my heart ainít pure. Everyoneís sick, thatís what church is, itís a big ass hospital. I would expect the person to lead me, to me a little different from me. Iím a hoe monger. I would hope the person that leads me to where I need to be isnít a homosexual, or a hoe monger, or a pimp or any of that s**t weíre dealing with. I donít need any helicopters, I donít need two churches, I donít need any of that s**t to serve my Lord. I need some pots and some pans, I need some stuff that can help us get income together. I donít think we should be sitting here trying to outdo each other. And thatís just my own personal.
AllHipHop.com: Recently you made a shift to production completely.
Scarface: Iím just making music right now. Iím probably one of the best that did it. A lot of my credit is being taken by other people. But the stuff that I have my name on and the stuff they have their name on, my stuff sounds totally different, because they just canít do it. You canít teach this, what I know about music. This is by blood. There are generations after generation after generation of musicians.
AllHipHop.com: What projects are you currently working on?
Scarface: Iím really proud of the UGK project. Iím not just chucking them beats; Iím a fan.
AllHipHop.com: Do you sit in the studio with them and mold the beat around them? What is the process like?
Scarface: No, I donít need to do that, Iím a fan. I have the blueprint in my head already. For me to listen to anything else, itís a waste of our time, I know where I want them to be as a fan.
AllHipHop.com: People like you and UGK have had longevity, how did that come about for you guys?
Scarface: I donít know, itís by God, thatís all I know to do is jam. I make music.
AllHipHop.com: Is music also a way for you to give back to you community?
Scarface: Itís a way to let my community to reflect, reflect on what it did for me.
AllHipHop.com: What kind of programs or initiatives have you started?
Scarface: It will be so that we can have something to do in our neighborhood. There ainít nothing to do.
AllHipHop.com: Are you a baseball fan?
Scarface: I know that more Black people need to get into it, I wouldnít be surprised if only nine percent of the Black people out there know how to play baseball.
AllHipHop.com: Is it just a matter of giving people opportunities?
Scarface: If you gave them the chance they may appreciate it.
AllHipHop.com: Tell us about some of the production work you do and what you do to put together a beat.
Scarface: Itís not a process at all. I just hear it in my head.
AllHipHop.com: Do most of your ideas come randomly or are you inspired?
Scarface: Itís all random. I need to start carrying a tape recorder.
AllHipHop.com: Do you lose a lot of ideas?
Scarface: Yeah, but they come so frequently.
AllHipHop.com: What kind of samples do you find yourself attracted to more? Scarface: It doesnít matter, if it works it works, if it jams it jams. If you need beats holla at me.
AllHipHop.com: How do you stay on top of your business?
Scarface: Itís a long story, [laughs] just make sure you stay on top all the time. I do admit at the early phase of my career I wasnít on top of it. I have songs on peopleís albums that I havenít collected on, and I have songs out right now that I havenít collected on. Iím about to start collecting.
AllHipHop.com: Why were you so passive about it?
Scarface: Because I loved it that much. I donít mind using my voice to help you on a track. But if you donít look out for me, thatís just not right. If youíre using my talent to get paid, itís only right for me to get chipped off. I got the lawyer and the whole package. Itís illegal for someone else to hold your money. I have tracks on a whole bunch of albums, like the Biggie Duets album, the old Nas album, and the Chamillionaire album I havenít collected on it. I didnít do any contracts on them, it was love, love is love.
AllHipHop.com: Do you have a few million left to collect on?
Scarface: Iím sure itís out there.
AllHipHop.com: Are you shifting any of your attention away from music to get your business straight?
Scarface: No Iím all about work, Iím not handling the business, I got people that do that. My whole thing is about the work.
AllHipHop.com: So are you doing contracts from now on?
Scarface: No, Iíll let people who deal with that deal with that. When you put your voice on a track, thatís contract enough.
AllHipHop.com: What is your situation right now?
Scarface: I donít have anything in terms of that, Iím just making music.
AllHipHop.com: What kind of set up do you have in your studio?
Scarface: I have an MPC 3000, some old analog keyboards, and old Korgs.