Producer: Crazy C, Scarface
Album: Mr. Scarface is Back
Label: Rap-a-Lot Records

The Geto Boys don't get enough credit for their unhinged sense of humor: what other rapper in 1991 would have started his unofficial autobiography of a crack dealer by rhyming "The Itsy Bitsy Spider"? It was Face's way of showing the miserable comedy of a life lived among fiends. "Mr. Scarface" transports the listener to a time before cocaine rap was all about yachts and Bugattis. It is as unembellished as the neighborhood from which it came. Houston's Fifth Ward was dirty and muggy and decrepit and full of death but "Mr. Scarface" simply takes all that for granted. There is no setting of the scene, no theatrical boasting, and absolutely no moralization. This place is exactly how it is shown to us: a day in the life that no one chooses until they have no choice. The beat is durable funk with almost no modification for the consideration of hip-hop orthodoxy. That's because hip-hop needed Face more than he needed hip-hop. Anyway, in the Fifth Ward funk IS hip-hop; it didn't require elaboration and neither did Scarface's portrayal of a existence forged in the distance it talks to walk from the stash house to the corner. —Sam Sweet