Scarface – The Diary Retrospect
1994 gave us atomic bombs including “Illmatic”, “Ready to Die”, and “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik”. October 18th was the date the illustrious Scarface released his magnum opus, “The Diary”. Sure Scarface had released a couple solo albums and a few Geto Boys project, but this album was his best selling and even debuted #2 on the Billboard charts. Scarface showcased his poetic lyrics and vivid storytelling all while getting exposed to a new demographic. Who could forget the opening to Office Space?
Office Space – Michael Bolton Rapping
The Intro (& Outro) of this masterpiece begins with unexpected, cinematic chords for over a minute. Very similar to the way the genocidal “Music to Driveby” or “Stunts, Blunts and HipHop” began. Just when you want to get a glass of cognac and enjoy some Tchaikovsky, you hear the fury of the machine guns. Chill time was over. The first three songs are murder raps with some Texan funk cooked up by the albums main producers, Mike Dean and NO Joe. “G’s” is one of those songs where Scarface lets you know where he’s from and if you try to step to him, he has more artillery than the military.
“I Seen A Man Die” is certainly one of Scarface’s most iconic track, The music is a basic bassline along with eerie bells and other sound effects throughout the tale. He narrates a man’s release from prison then eventual reentry into the life a crime. The path of this mans death is chronicled. Scarface’s narration of his soul leaving the dead body is something we don’t hear too often.
Now your spirit leaves your body and your mind clears
The rigormortis starts to set, now you outta here
You start your journey into outer space
You see yourself in the light but you’re still feelin’ outta place
So you standin’ in the tunnel of eternal light
And you see the ones you never learned to love in life
Make the choice, let it go but you can back it up
If you ain’t at peace with God you need to patch it up
But if you ready, close your eyes and we can set it free
There lies a man not scared to die, may he rest in peace
Scarface – I Seen A Man Die
Scarface wants to let you know he loves the ladies on “Goin Down,” another funky ride through Houston. The playful track with randomly placed piano riffs scattered throughout makes this a multiple listen. Nothing deep here, just stories about getting in the smash with different ladies while their men are at work. We’ve all been there. The Scarface vocals on the chorus are a welcome addition and add a lighter tone to the album.
Please excuse my attitude,
Sorry if I’m being rude, but I’ve got something to say to you
Hoping you won’t lose your cool
I want to sneak you out to play with me,
You can spend the day with me
And we can ride and see the sights
Its going down tonight
Scarface – Goin’ Down
Then Scarface had to go and release the phenomenal, piece de resistance; “Hand Of The Dead Body.” Easily one of the top 20 hip hop songs ever. Over this ominous beat with hints of deep funk, an angry Ice Cube joined the party to show their disgust at folks who claim hip hop is the reason for violence. Face rhymes:
They claim we threats to society
And now they callin’ on the government to try to make somebody quiet me
For the bullshit they done to me
Gangsta Nip, Spice 1 and Tupac never gave a gun to me
So gangsta rap ain’t done shit for that
I’ve even seen white folks from River Oaks go get the gat
So why you tryin’ kick some dust up
America’s been always known for blamin’ us niggas for their fuck-ups
And we were always considered evil
Now they tryin’ to bust our only code of communicating with our people
The passion, delivery and a young Devin the Dude on the hook jettisoned this song into the stratosphere.
Scarface Feat. Ice Cube & Devin – Hand Of The Dead Body
Just when you think the show is over, Scarface decides to update a classic. “Mind Is Playing Tricks on Me 94” is the same Issac Hayes sample, but kicked up a notch. The album ends the same way it’s started. Few albums reach perfection, but The Diary reached that peak. There is a wide range of material here in such a short album. This album solidified Scarface’s persona; a reflective, visionary that always keeps his burner on him because he’s a product of Houston, TX. There are thugs in hip hop and there are thinkers. Brad Jordan, aka Scarface marries the two almost better than anyone in the industry.
Scarface – The Diary Retrospect