Scarface Reminds Us Houston Rappers Are No Joke-He’s the Latest to Speak Truth to Power-Turns Down VH1 Honors

We have to show love and give props to Houston rappers for always stepping up to the plate over and over again, no matter what.

Case in point, when the Geto Boys came out, many did not know  but they would often lay out money and pay for legal counsel of those who were locked away in jail and needed to prove their innocence… I remember doing a show with Bushwick Bill and Scarface and them talking in great detail about the prison industrial complex, the horrors of the death penalty and why they had spent well over 200 thousand bucks trying to free those locked away on trumped-up charges…

What impressed me most was the fact that they were doing this without a whole lot of fanfare. This wasn’t a publicity stunt or anything like that. In fact the way we even wound talking about the topic in the first place was I had asked them about the uproar and controversy around the execution of Shaka Sankofa.

I recall when Katrina happened and interviewing Paul Wall and him talking about the work that him and many of his fellow Houstonian artists were doing to help victims. He talked about the clothes they had donated, much of it new. They talked about money they were raising and how they were doing what they could to make folks comfortable. The list of names involved was a who’s who. It was very impressive. I recall my man DJ Zin doing a number of radio shows from the Astrodome highlighting the efforts that many of the Houston artists had undertaken..

Speaking of Paul Wall we got to give him dap for making a trip to Africa,  learning about Blood Diamonds and then returning to Houston and firing all his suppliers to his grill shop until they could prove they weren’t using conflict diamonds..This was shown in the documentary Planet Bling.

I recall the 2008 election and getting involved in efforts to register the over one million voters not registered in Houston and radio hosts like Matt Sonzala introducing us to everyone from Slim Thug on down to K-Rino who all spoke passionately and insightfully about the day’s political climate and things they felt needed to be done. Artists after artist came through, donating time, videos, music and their likeness for a Get Out to Vote documentary we put together called ‘Texas is in Play‘ . Even though Barack Obama was making his historic run, many of the artists we ran into spoke about local issues and how folks could impact things. End result was record turn out,  all but 4 judges being swept from office and the ouster of a tyrannical sheriff named Tommy Thomas.

Bun B

We saw other Houston artist like Bun B step up. He attended the Democratic Convention in Denver and weighed in on important issues. We saw him recently get down and put together a successful fund-raiser for victims of the Haiti earthquake. Again Houston’s rap community came out in mass to show support..

Over the years we’ve seen artist like Trae Da Truth step up and do everything from visit juvenile halls to put on a festival to raise money and school supplies for kids. Recently we saw him put the gauntlet down and launch a lawsuit against powerful broadcast company Radio One and their station KBXX. This came about because Radio One decided to ban Trae and anyone associating with him after he responded in a mixtape with verbal jabs to being falsely accused by a station jock of ‘attracting a bad crowd’ to his Trae Day community event. Trae was not allowed himself to get bullied by some big time corporate media outlet..

The list of community events engaged by Houston based artists is a long one. The point being made is that many do step up to the plate, speak their minds and try to do what they think is right.

One of the people garnering a lot of attention is Scarface who recently penned an article for Ozone magazine explaining why he wasn’t gonna be apart of VH1’s Hip Hop Honors. Personally I’m  a bit conflicted because I know Fab 5 Freddy who produces the event is my man and he seemed genuinely excited that there was finally an opportunity to honor a region and many of the artists for their accomplishments which he feels are often overlooked.

However, Scarface in his essay lays out some compelling points and left many of us both marveling at his conviction and re-assessing our own place in this culture we call Hip Hop.

Below is Scarface’s article.. Check out Ozone Magazine for more info..


I was nominated [to be honored at the Dirty South Hip Hop Honors] but I declined to accept because I don’t wanna be classified as just “Dirty South.” I’m Hip Hop, man. I’m not going because I feel slighted. Even though it was a nice gesture, I feel like it’s just a pacifier. They’re like, “Let’s give these niggas down there a pacifier so they can stop feeling left out. We’ll make Luke and all these niggas down there look funny,” you know? “Let’s put a plate of fried chicken and some watermelon and let’s just do some nigga-ass shit.” (laughs) Quote, end quote. “Some nigga-ass shit.” Fried chicken and watermelon. “Shit, the faster we get this over with, the better.”

Honoring [Uncle] Luke and James [Prince] and [Master] P and Timbaland and JD and Dungeon Family is a good thing. I don’t wanna fuck their Honors up. They helped lay the foundation. More power to ‘em. I respect what they do and I respect what they’ve done for Hip Hop, but to put us in a category is disrespectful. Why would you categorize us as “Dirty South”? Why can’t you just honor some muthafuckers from down here and leave it like that? You ain’t gotta make us look extra country. We know where we’re from and we know where you’re from. We know where Hip Hop came from, man. We’re cool with that. I’m proud to be from Houston but don’t make a mockery of my accomplishments. We’re not “dirty” down here in the South anyway. This shit down here probably cleaner than the rest of the country, cause we got grandmas down here. Our grandmas don’t play that shit.

I was a part of the Slick Rick and De La Soul and Too $hort and Public Enemy [Hip Hop Honors]. I felt good about being a part of that. I went [to Hip Hop Honors] when they honored Def Jam because I wanted to be a part of that. I felt honored that they would even call me to do it. But this year, I totally disagree with how they’re trying to categorize us. You know how they make us look on TV? Like we live on the front porch with flies and shit flying around us, with our stomachs all big eating watermelon rinds? That ain’t us, man. Don’t fuckin’ make a mockery of us because we come from down here and you have no fuckin’ idea what it looks like. They’re gonna try to put us with some cows and just make us look fucked up, man, like we don’t know what the fuck we doin’ down here. We’re smart, man. Our life is slowed down so we don’t miss nothing. When shit gets moving too fast you miss everything. Shit’s slowed down here so we see it all.

I come from the era when New York and L.A. had the only Hip Hop, and they weren’t fuckin’ with us, at all. If you think I’m lyin’, check the history of Hip Hop. Try to pull up some footage from the 1989/1990 New Music Seminar. That’s what I base my whole fuckin’ life on: the New Music Seminar 1989/1990. They was NOT fuckin’ with us. We sold records all over the fuckin’ country and New York made a mockery of it. They fuckin’ booed the Geto Boys in New York. They sure did.

Back when Luke had Skywalker Records and J had Rap-A-Lot Records, they weren’t tryin’ to do no South shit. “It didn’t come from New York, son, so fuck that.” That was their attitude. Just because a TV was made in Japan, is it a Japanese TV? Or is it just a fucking TV? If a lightbulb was made in China is it a Chinese lightbulb?

It was hard breaking through. It was hard getting respect from the East Coast. We didn’t get no fuckin’ love from nobody. Fab Five Freddy came down here early in our career to see what we were really about, and I respected and appreciated that. But we been having money down here. We been rollin’ fuckin’ Bentleys and Ferraris down here since the 80s. Muthafuckers ain’t just started rockin’ gold and platinum chains. We had that shit in high school. Shit, we just now started running out of money. (laughs) That’s how long we been had money down here.

Everybody throws up a fuckin’ smokescreen to make the picture look how they want it to look, but I know shit stank. I ain’t no goddamn fool. I was there in the beginning. We were fighting the power for real. Our raps were considered negative rap, and we got a lot of fuckin’ flak behind that shit. And we were just telling the truth. We were under immense scrutiny, from politicians to radio stations to the media. Luke got up there talkin’ about “Pop That Pussy” and had naked hoes on the stage; they were going to jail and shit. The Geto Boys were talkin’ this politicially-charged, racist-ass, system-ran, gangsta-ass dope-dealing whoopin’-ass shit, and it wasn’t accepted in New York.

Eventually New York came around and started fuckin’ with us. But for an East Coast-based show to call themselves showing some fuckin’ love by making a Southern watered-down version of what the show is supposed to be or what Hip Hop really is, man, I feel fucked up about that shit. Because we fought harder than a muthafucker. When [Ice] Cube was on Hip Hop Honors, it wasn’t the “Hip Hop West Coast Honors.” Every part of the ghetto is the same mu’fuckin’ story. Hip Hop is one machine, regardless if you come from New York or Bareback, Africa. It’s fuckin’ Hip Hop.

But that’s just [my opinion], and fuck me. I don’t mean nothing. I’m just a nigga who fought harder than a muthafucker to get our records played in New York and on the East Coast period. And now all a nigga needs to do is fart on a record and it gets played. So it’s fine by me. I’m cool with that. I’m not mad about it, I just feel disrespected. Whoever goes [to Hip Hop Honors], it’s fine and dandy by me. But if you wanted to do a Southern-based show you shoulda got a nigga DOWN SOUTH to do it in the South.

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15 comments on “Scarface Reminds Us Houston Rappers Are No Joke-He’s the Latest to Speak Truth to Power-Turns Down VH1 Honors

  1. I get his points, but if they didn’t honor them at all he’d complain about that shit too!

  2. I honestly have never felt Geto Boys and Scarface have ever had that ‘dirrty souf’ sound.

    Luke, yes, Rap a lot, yes, No Limit, yes, JD, yes. Even Andre 3000 and Big Boy to some degree…

    But Geto Boys and Ludacris DO NOT have what I consider and have come to know as THE ‘dirrty souf’ sound..

    And especially Scarface has always seemed to have had more of an ‘underground’ vibe..

    So I can understand how he’d be insulted.
    I would be too…

  3. Pingback: Scarface Reminds Us Houston Rappers Are No Joke-He’s the Latest to Speak Truth to Power-Turns Down VH1 Honors | Analog Blog

  4. I am a native of New Orleans (7th Ward St. Bernard Projects, St. Dennis Court) and I remember when Bounce Music, DJ Mannie Fresh, DJ Duck and DJ Jubilee used to rock Project Jams all night. Unfortunately, I also remember the skyrocketing murder rate, the second lines and t-shirts created for dead Souljahs, 12 year old heroin users, complete hopelessness and despair before and after Katrina and (now) the imminent oil fiasco which threatens to ruin the waters of the Gulf Coast, thus shutting down the one of the last legit ways a few brothers make a decent living from.

    I say all that to say this, while I feel Face on his reasoning for not attending the awards I do not overstand how brothers such as himself can all of a sudden get a conscience when they have gotten filthy rich, willingly or unwillingly, by exploiting, glorifying and further advancing the acceptance of the lifestyles which cause the latter of my original statement above. In my opinion, you can’t have it both ways and saying Geto Boys did some good charity work is like when a rapper has 19 violent laden, chauvinistic, self-destructive tracks (with tight beats) on his new joint but then slips in one “lawd save the hood with your geto heaven, my daddy wasn’t there so I followed in his footsteps” type song.

    We let too much buffoonery slide when it comes to policing our own. When ignorance and minstrelism was making dollars negroes showed they ass. Now that some have made it past that endangered species age limit of 21 they want to get their minds right and make a statement? I am a firm believer of second chances and doing the right thing so I give props to those that deserve it but the work to reach those in the killing fields is far from over and any and all Benedict Arnolds need to be called out. Just think for a second, for an instant, think of how many young lives have been snuffed out, senselessly, ALL across this country because it is customary to keep it real to the point of genocide as portrayed by these fools man. You want to talk about fair, honor the conscience movements. dead prez, Paris, Immortal Technique, etc. are WAY overdue for any positive acknowledgement from the industry and the people for holding it down for as long as they have. But who am I?!?


  5. Naw Goldie.. u can’t say that and just walk away.. Face caused the mayhem u see in ur hood? What are crazy? Face has been on point from the day I first met them cats when they first started.. I shared with u one story.. an important one cause I know they were speaking out on prisons.. But do u want a list or are looking at every single song and then evaluating.. and even if we did that what difference would it make?

    Hood is Hood.. if cats is doing crack, killing each other and acting ill.. me and you take the blame not a rapper like Face unless he came into your community and told kids to do some crazy shit.. which he hasn’t..U got a million and one people in new orleans positive and negative who probably had greatr sway over the kids in ur hood then Scarface ever did.. and if half those kids emulated him.. a lot of buffonery wouldn’t be there..

    all of us have a responsibility to step up.. Geto Boys always spoke out..and they got along track record and paid a price.

    They ain’t organizers.. They rappers.. but rappers who at least had some common sense, most of the time..and said something then and they saying something now..
    as to who are u? Your a cat living in the 7th Ward who can put together an event to honor those artists and make sure every kid on the block knows them.. Thats where it starts..

  6. I guess Goldie isn’t a Geto Boys or Scarface fan, even though he from the N.O. I guess since the GBs and Face are “gangsta rappers”, I guess Goldie hasn’t did his homework. Hmm, I remember where James Bryd was murder, by those white dudes and I don’t remember nobody in hip hop, who said a damn thing about that beside the Geto Boys. Listen to the Geto Boys’s “Eyes For an Eyes”, but see that what happen when you lable somebody just “gangsta rap”. See Goldie, Scarface do talk about the streets, but he & the Gb’s has always talk about race and racism. Maybe you should do your homework.

  7. For the record, I have worked with residents of public housing development projects and their respective agencies in the south, including Mississippi and Louisiana. I have pushed to organize these residents to start 501(c)(3) non-profit community based organizations in their housing projects to give a voice to the victims of urban renewal, redlining and redistricting, to no avail. I have fought to have playground equipment vice gates and fences placed in these same “projects” again to no avail. Like many preachers and politicians, I feel some in the entertainment community have greater influence over the masses than one or two regular individuals do yet, despite some efforts to address some issues they quite often fall short in the long run. The fact of the matter is entertainers can greatly influence the minds of the youth. Just look at the examples some of the brothers in the sports genre have when they attempt to reach out to the children via sports camps and field trips. I am fully aware of the many organizations some rappers have to try to reach the youth and I appreciate their efforts if they are genuine, however, if you told your child not to smoke cess and they found out that you presently smoke cess on the daily, you would be a hypocrite. I have talked to children that honestly want to do better but they always say what about the inconsistencies we adults show them on the regular as far as saying one thing and doing the total opposite. I look at all the revenue generated to aid Haiti yet only pennies on the dollar have actually been distributed and trickled down to the victims when the broader picture is glanced at and the money trail is followed. In my OPINION, when an individual takes a stance to do something at least have the wisdom to follow through and be consistent. Even if you fail, don’t just bounce in the middle. I guess my main thing is that I am tired of seeing one of the most resilient group of people on this damn planet succumb to self-destruction so often. We have more millionaires than in any other time in this country’s history, yet we are also at our most destructive. We DO NOT support each other like other so-called races do. When I see gays, so-called illegal aliens, tea-partiers, mothers that are tired of seeing their children’s education sacrificed by the Department of Education) and countless other groups and societies use tactics that OUR people USED to employ to further OUR cause back in the day (i.e. rallies, marches and sit-ins) I cringe because WE are not consistent when it come to utilizing what got us as far as we have come. All too often it seems that we are our worst enemy. That’s it, cut and dry. If I offended anyone with my original ranting, I humbly apologize. I feel that this site is one of the most prolific and most positive ones I visit and I sometimes leave an opinion because of the dialogue and content of others opinions. Therefore, I appreciate the opportunity to be allowed to do so as well. But it is what it is, opinions, nothing more. I just want to see our future generations living up to OUR full potential. As for the comment about my doing my homework, “The Unseen” by the Geto Boys, which addressed abortion, remains one of my favorites. And, believe it or not, I suffered PTSD after a stint in the Marines and it was Brad’s admission and openness about his own use of a shrink (Look Me In My eye) fictitious or not, that eased some of the stigma surrounding a brother needing “help” in the first place which is still shunned upon by many in our community. On the flip side much of the the brother’s last endeavor, Emeritus, was not reflective of positive growth from the days of “starting small time, dope game, cocaine…” “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) <— This I am an avid fan of!


    GOLDIE = Givers Of Life Destroy It Everyday!

  8. Goldie I hear u fam.. but come on now really? Ain’t no kid who is steeped in songs by Wacka Flacka, Drake or Lil Wayne is listening to Scarface, especially that Emiritus album… I can tell u that as some one who teaches and programs radio… He’s not on their radar…he’ll; tell u that himself-he ain’t on their radar…

    At our age.. and at this point in time.. it’s on us not the artists who gotta step up.. We been around to know that if a multinational corporation like Universal, Clear Channel , Viacom decides to put their muscle into promoting a project, then our focus and anger needs to be on those decision makers and not some half drunk, half high artists plucked out the hood and given a platform and lots of money to share his/her mediocre craft…It’s deliberate and very methodical.

    The reason why so many other groups SEEM to get along is bc they don’t fall for the BS..They go for the jugular

    Too many of us wanna go chastize Lil wayne while honoring cathy Hughes of Radio One, who plays Li wayne to our seeds 15 times a day with no other material to widen our perspectives..

    I cant tell u how many times I’ve spoken before grown folks in our community to give them insight as someone working in this bizness as to how they could start the process of dismantling a machine that doesn’t do right by us.. Gays, Latinos, Asians, Jews they follow up and go directly to the decision maker and hit hard..They make strong demands and get them..

    Us, we wanna yell at the artist, cut deals to get our own show on an offensive radio station and put a campaign around one person with a job on the plantation versus burning it down.. In addition we won’t highlight and push the excellent work of others..

    Today I give props to Scarface.. bc he gave us all a tool and provided us with a teachable moment to pass on to others.. He went after Viacom which is what so many of us never do..and now we have discussion about Brads’ album and not the institutions that routinely degarde us..

  9. What Scarface is sayin is very important. we need to start seein ourselves as one HIPHOP NATION we need to rise to self government an build a HIPHOP CITY NOW!!!!!!!!

  10. Goldie, Face has always been a street dude, so he rep the streets. He never claimed to be a angle, but u can’t tell me u don’t listen to street rap. U say u didnt hear any grownth, from his last cd. Goldie, there’s nothing but grownth. He’s not that same rapper, he was when he release “Mr. Scarface is Back”, when most of his stuff was about hustling. When Face was yelling on most of his songs, face has mellowed out. What u have and most people refuse to give, Face growth as a lyricist. That last Cd by face, proved that Face is a better rapper now than he was 20 years ago. Face was nice then but he’s a beast now.
    U never answer my question, who beside the GB’s said any about James Bryd? The GB’s was taking about how bad the school system are in the black community, Willie D was talking about screw the KKK back in the day, why didnt u write about that? U dont talk about song like “smart”, “My City Under Siegh”, “Do it Like A G.O” or “I’m Black”, why is that? The GB’s maybe streets, but they alway have stood up.

  11. FACE is right why pnpoint someone because of where they are from either they deserve an honor or they don’t leave that otherr shit at home….besides I lived in Miss, Lou, Tex, NY, and Chitown due to a military upbringing and career and I can tell you that when the bullets start flying no one cares where that hell you are from buddy just can you execute your job…..hip hop is ours and NY and the entire east coast theology of supremacy (a reflection of the evil perpatrated on poor people by whites in america and now copied by blacks from the east) is a lie! The west coast had to bring out gangsta rap just to get on and I don’t blame them. Purge the dynasy in the east if they don’t willingly acknowledge their brothers and try to enslave us an mock us. Bang with the west when they act arrogant and untouchable. Rep your hood but remember “they world is a ghetto” and anyone can get touched! much love to PE for helping cube be amerikkk’s most and much love for NAS for showing love for HOUSTON and NAtchez Ms. my homes….on a last note anyone ever wonder why Bushwick Bill’s name was Bushwick (as in Bushwich Newyork) fucking assholes!

  12. Pingback: 12 Beefs We Should Remember from 2010 « Davey D's Hip Hop Corner-(The Blog)

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