45. Scarface, Mr. Scarface is Back
Release Date: 10/3/1991
With his first album Scarface wanted only to honor his personal demons and create music that his boys would jam on the blocks of Houston's Fifth Ward. It was entirely accidental that Mr. Scarface Is Backinvented an entirely new approach to rap music, independent of either coast but informed by both.
Produced entirely by Scarface and Mr. C, the album's sound design is extraordinarily focused. Scarface knew exactly what he wanted: vintage funk records, the toughest he could find. No singing, no females, and no guest appearances whatsoever (although Willie D. and Bushwick Bill, his fellow Geto Boys, make a crucial appearance on the cover image). Rather than simply refer to criminal enterprises, Scarface expounded upon the grisly details of murder, misogyny, and the drug trade, as if to say: "If you want to know about it, you have to know all of it."
What made him unnerving as an MC was that his extreme brutality was matched by an equally extreme depth of heart. In the middle of his most vile imagery, Face takes stock of himself, and confesses to the listener his regrets and his fears: about his mom, his alienation, and his own unpreventable doom. The feeling of this album-sonically and lyrically-is so earthy and worn-in and true that falls into the blues tradition as much as it does the hip-hop tradition.