Scarface Breaks Down His 25 Most Essential Songs

Scarface "On My Block" (2002)

Producer: Nashiem Myrick
Album: The Fix
Label: Def Jam South

Scarface: “I remember writing that song on the floor in the studio while Busta Rhymes was next door. I wrote ‘My Block,’ and ‘In Cold Blood’ and a whole bunch of other songs in that little studio right there. Just me and my engineer. I really liked the beat for ‘My Block.’

The Fix was recorded where hip-hop was born. I recorded that last majority of that record where hip-hop was born. Me being a student of the game really made me step my shit up like, ‘I’m not going to make a sucky album.’

“Being in New York, and recording a majority of that album and being in the element can change the outcome of anybody’s records and thought process. You’re in New York. This engineer has recorded Nas before, this engineer recorded Rakim in ’88. Like you would have to step your game up. You ain’t even impress the people sitting in the studio.

 

Before I went to Def Jam, the most money I’d ever seen from making records was a loan for $400,000. I was willing to put my life on it that it was the biggest ticket I’d ever seen from those guys, and it was a loan. I ended up paying it back. I didn’t see checks in the millions until I got with Def Jam. I think my first check from Def Jam when I signed was like $2 million for my album.

 

“Before I went to Def Jam, the most money I’d ever seen from making records was a loan for $400,000. I was willing to put my life on it that it was the biggest ticket I’d ever seen from those guys, and it was a loan. I ended up paying it back. I didn’t see checks in the millions until I got with Def Jam. I think my first check from Def Jam when I signed was like $2 million for my album.

“I was making $350,000 to $400,000 a year working at Def Jam. Plus I played the A&R role so I cleaned up over there. I had the deal and Lyor Cohen said when he signed me to do my album, he was going to make a deal with me that was going to knock my socks off. He broke bread. Lyor Cohen got my utmost respect because he wrote that check.

“It’s something the youngsters need to learn. My advice to anybody is don’t sign a fucking contract just to get your foot in the door because I would just sign anything to get my foot in the door. It will turn around and bite you in the ass because all of those big records I made and produced, I didn’t get a dime. I’m not really worried about it but I know it has to come back to me because I’m the rightful owner.

“Back in the days, a lot of those records we did, we didn’t even get paid for them. We didn’t get accounted to for them. We just on that fucking record. We weren’t [in charge of that].

 

I had the deal and Lyor Cohen said when he signed me to do my album, he was going to make a deal with me that was going to knock my socks off. He broke bread. Lyor Cohen got my utmost respect because he wrote that check.

 

“We didn’t have any lawyers, we didn’t have shit. All we did was make records that people would hear. We ain’t know nothing about getting paid until I got to Def Jam. Def Jam were writing me checks that I couldn’t ever imagine getting. My first couple years at Def Jam, I clocked over $2 million a year and I didn’t even have an album out.

“They flew me all over the place in private jets and I had a company card with no limit that I could do whatever I wanted to do with it, as long as it was in regards to business. Trust me, they bear no fucking expense. They made sure I got anything I could ever imagine. That’s when I realized there was a lot of money in music.

“I missed out on a lot of money. My whole old catalogue, I don’t get no money off that, N-The Water Publishing gets all of that. We don’t get none. I don’t think we get accounted for that shit. That ain’t no bullshit. So when I say fuck hip-hop, I mean it. The music ain’t even the music no more. When I say fuck hip-hop, fuck it. The business side fucked up and the music side fucked up. How can you go to the studio and spend that money to put out a fucking mixtape and give it away for free? That makes no fucking sense to me.”

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