When reading this article, please pay close attention to Scarface‘s remarks about 360 degree contracts. They’re a very sinister part of the music industry that has really took all of the fun out of making music. The way it is now, if an artist opens up a Taco stand in Botswana, then the record label gets part of his loot. If an artits decides to do a movie, then the record label gets part of his loot. Its straight up crazy and sad. Scarface is only touching the tip of the iceberg.
Scarface: I’m Done
Envision a desolate warehouse; everything about this building is nondescript. Let’s call this place corporate headquarters. Inside the hollow doors, a blinding spotlight shines down illuminating a wretched assembly line. There is a listless conveyer belt; it whines as it shoves forth prepackaged stereotypes. Container after container whirs by in an overwhelming fury. Within these shrink-wrapped skeletons are faux Hip-Hop reproductions. Robotic arms line each side of the conveyor belt; they’re positioned to snatch away any renegade instances of creativity and uniqueness that may have slipped past. These distinguishing traits are no longer necessary and are carelessly tossed aside. Innovation and creativity are sacrificed for a mass-produced sound. The corporation gives little yet reaps millions. That’s the cost-effective “Amerikkkan” way. Somewhere a greedy cash register laughs, cling cling.
AllHipHop.com: With your contribution to the game you have our respect and our ear; what would you say about the evolution Hip-Hop? How would you describe what it was in its infancy to what it has become today?
Scarface: The 360 deal is f***ery. You’re giving up money all the way around. What ever you do the record company is there. That’s bulls***. My advice to any artist is to do what Lil Wayne is doing or what Soulja Boy is doing, maintain the rights to your s***. That 360 s*** is total f***ery. I wouldn’t dare even dream about doing a 360 deal. As a matter of fact, that’s some made up s***; that’s not even in the books.
Well, with any kind of music that you f*** with, you got some great music and you got some not so great music. That’s Hip-Hop, that’s R&B, that’s Rock and Roll—let me give you an example. A Rock guy, his name is f***ing Meat Loaf, right. I think that he’s the absolute f***ing worst! But, people love Meat Loaf. You can think of the worst MC you’ve ever heard and people love it, you can think of the worst R&B singer you’ve ever heard and people love it. So, it’s all in one’s preference on what’s great and what’s not…
AllHipHop.com: What would it take to get you out of “retirement” or this just a self-imposed hibernation period?
Scarface: I don’t know. I don’t like it no more. I don’t like the powers that be at all. I don’t like it.
AllHipHop.com: Are you so disgusted with them that you’ll stop making music, period? So personally, you’ve stopped all recording, or you won’t make another track for the public to hear?
Scarface: That’s hard to tell.
“I think the business side of Hip-Hop pissed me off. You know, the business side, the political side— the business side and the political side of Hip-Hop pissed me off.”
AllHipHop.com: After your work on Emeritus have you made any new tracks?
AllHipHop.com: Have you been back to the studio?
Scarface: Nope, and I don’t plan on going either.
AllHipHop.com: No? [stagnated silence] How can you love Hip-Hop and feel like that?
Scarface: I think the business side of Hip-Hop pissed me off. You know, the business side, the political side— the business side and the political side of Hip-Hop pissed me off.
AllHipHop.com: Do you feel as though you’re equipped as a business man to handle what was going on in the industry?
Scarface: I don’t want to be equipped for it.
AllHipHop.com: You just don’t like playing the game?
Scarface: Yeah, I didn’t like playing the game, you know. You got to play the game fair. If the game ain’t played fair then—you could have it all and still lose everything. They don’t play the game fair. You got to play the game fair, man. Any game that you decide to play in life; you got to play the game fair. If you don’t play the game fair then nobody will play the game with you no more.
AllHipHop.com: Is it inevitable for our respected MCs to stop making music because they’re disgusted with the bogus practices in the industry?
Scarface: It’s so many things on what the industry is. Why would you buy somebody’s s*** when you can download it for free?
AllHipHop.com: But that’s just one aspect. Some of these rappers don’t deserve to get their album purchased when they only have one good track and maybe a funny skit. I know you personally don’t get down like that; but, you have to look at it from both sides. Besides that what other industry practices don’t you agree with?
Scarface: Like I said, I just don’t like the way that these record company owners and executives are playing god with a n**** career.
AllHipHop.com: Why not embrace the indie route?
AllHipHop.com: You will have full creative control; you’d be able to do everything on your own. You wouldn’t have to rely on the puppet master’s approval to get your creativity out there.
Scarface: You know what’s so cold about the puppet masters?
AllHipHop.com: What’s that?
Scarface: The puppet master won’t admit to being the puppet master. That’s what’s so cold about the puppet master. Man, I’d rather not, there’s so many other ways, for me to— I’m so talented in other areas; so, f*** Rap, f*** Hip-Hop! I’ll say it again; f*** Hip-Hop.
AllHipHop.com: But what about your fans; how can you say that?
Scarface: My fans should say f*** Hip-Hop, too. Hip-Hop doesn’t even exist no more. Does it; is it Hip-Hop still? Is there such a thing? Define the word.
“You was proud to go and buy a f***ing Ice-T record— “6’N The Morning,” Power. You was proud to go and pick up A Tribe Called Quest or N.W.A. You was proud of an Ice Cube or Kool G Rap record….you was proud to own that s***.”
AllHipHop.com: To me, Hip-Hop is a cultural element of expression. It expresses lyricism, dance, art; it gives insight into our community. Why do you think Hip-Hop is losing that essence?
Scarface: Any two ways that you get a White boy singing the Blues; somebody’s lying somewhere. You know, the Blues—have you heard the Blues before? For a White boy to put the Blues out, and says what’s hot in Blues, it’s a lie; because, he doesn’t even have no idea. He doesn’t have no idea why this is done and why we feel how we feel. You cannot expect for a 45 year old 50 year old White boy to dictate what’s hot within the Black community.
Why the f*** are they in charge of what we put out? Well they are. But, why the f*** do we allow them to be in charge of what’s put out. That’s not Hip-Hop, man. That white boy is not Hip-Hop, you’re f***ing 50 years old, man. How could you even think that?
AllHipHop.com: Will the public ever reach the point of critical mass to where we will demand that Hip-Hop stop being manufactured to fit one certain sound and fit one certain image? Will a boycott work?
Scarface: Let me tell you what Hip-Hop is [and] let me tell you what Hip-Hop was.
Hip-Hop was The Sugar Hill Gang, Kurtis Blow, Lovebug Starski, and Kool Mo Dee—you know. Hip-Hop was LL Cool J and Whodini, and Run-D.M.C. Hip-Hop was Blastmaster KRS-One, D-Nice, Big Daddy Kane, Marley Marl, MC Shan and Biz Markie.
You was proud to go and buy a f***ing Ice-T record— “6’N The Morning,” “Doggin’ The Wax,” Power. You was proud to go and pick up A Tribe Called Quest or N.W.A. You was proud of an Ice Cube or Kool G Rap record. You was proud to own AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted; you was proud to own that s***. I agree that 2 Live Crew made a mark in Hip-Hop, you know. I believe that a lot of states in this country have dope MCs that made a huge impact on Hip-Hop. The minute it turned into a business and not a culture it became too watered down. The essence of Hip-Hop is not in the music anymore. The element of Hip-Hop is not in the music anymore.
AllHipHop.com: With that being said, and as a veteran MC, shouldn’t you feel some sort of responsibility to bring it back to what it was? The kids coming up now, they really don’t know any better unless they invest that time to go back to discover Big Daddy Kane, to go back to MC Shan, to go back to A Tribe Called Quest, to actually discover what it was then to what it is now—
Scarface: I really think that N.W.A. made the best Hip-Hop records ever! I mean if you define Hip-Hop like you define the Blues; they made it a way of life rather than just a fad. You know, JJ Fad, MC Hammer, Big Kid Flash— I know you’ve heard of these people, right?
“Hip-Hop ain’t no “booty-dew. Do the booty-dew, do the booty-dew—do the so and so, do the so and so-you know. Don’t get me wrong; every genre of music is going to need their dance records… ”
AllHipHop.com: What will it take for Hip-Hop to get to back to embracing creativity and delivering a message rather than being a number’s game?
Scarface: It ain’t no number’s game no more. Nobody has any numbers no more. Hip-Hop is changing; it’s a money thing. Until the power’s that be start taking it seriously it’ll continue to be in the state that it’s in. It’s some s*** that’s out today that wouldn’t have ever made it before the change. I think that today radio and visual played a huge part in what “they” say Hip-Hop is.
Middle-aged black people and middle-aged white people make up Hip-Hop; when honestly, youth is Hip-Hop. I hear some f***ing MCs that will forever go unnoticed because of the way that the game is. [Ed.’s note: Scarface mentioned the greatness of K-Rhino and Z-RO as prolific Southern MCs.] But they always tell us the truth, the story. Hip-Hop ain’t no “booty-dew.”
Scarface: [chants] Do the booty-dew, do the booty-dew—do the so and so, do the so and so-you know. Don’t get me wrong; every genre of music is going to need their dance records. You’ll have to listen very very closely to what I’m saying. I feel like, the power’s that be, that control what’s being heard in black music and what’s being signed in black music, you know, as far as—the people who put that s*** out there, man. They don’t know nothing about our craft and our culture and our struggle.
It’s impossible for Henry Fartburger to know what’s hot in Hip-Hop. It’s impossible, he don’t know the culture, he’s not familiar with the culture, dude. He’s never been to the f***ing hood, unless he signed one of these goofy ass n****s and they took him to out there, on a pass. Them mutha****ers don’t pass through the hood, man. They’re not from there. They don’t know anything about us. They just sign a check. If you ask me it’s a f***ing conspiracy to destroy black music—to destroy the craft.
AllHipHop.com: Will Hip-Hop preserver and escape this stage that it’s experiencing now?
Scarface: With the 360 deals in place and people putting out songs that don’t make no f***ing sense—rather than giving the great s*** a chance? Let’s say that Eminem did between 6 and 7 [hundred] thousand the first week. Man, f***ing Eminem is brilliant. That’s a f***ing artist. It ain’t no f***ing way he shouldn’t have did a million or two the first week. That muthaf***er is dope, man. But then you go to what we call that assembly-line Hip-Hop; muthaf***ers is going crazy for that s***. We’re not hearing Eminem on mainstream radio. We only get to hear that on XM. They’re not playing Jadakiss on mainstream radio.
We hear a lot of Wayne, which is good, to me Wayne is one of the dopest artists that is out. What about Outkast? I’m not hearing them on mainstream no more. Are they trying to repaint the picture of what Hip-Hop really is? Are they trying to put another face on Hip-Hop? How could you?
AllHipHop.com: Did these feelings propel you to retire after you released Emeritus?
Scarface: Nah, man. Dissatisfaction, I’m cool. I’m going to have my fanbase. I think it was a lot of bulls*** between me and my record company that made me not want to f*** with it no more, in all honesty.
AllHipHop.com: Is this just a phase? Can you really stay away from the mic that long?
Scarface: F*** the mic. Man, f*** the microphone. I’d rather watch from a distance.
I don’t want nothing to do with it. I’m done with that s***. That was a phase of my life that was good to pass on. I’m just glad that it’s over. I’m done.