Scarface is the poster boy for real music. His ability to draw from real experiences has earned him an unmatched respect in hip-hop. Not only is his respect unmatched, but he has carved out a niche for himself. Facemob has consistently released albums since he burst on the scene with The Geto Boys. He threatened retirement a few years back, but after his former CEO, J Prince of Rap-A-Lot Records, released an “unofficial” Scarface album that Face had no creative control over, he made the decision to come back and release an original body of work overseen by himself. The sum total is Deeply Rooted, an almost spiritual body of work.
Deeply Rooted finds Scarface at his best. Every bar is extra sharp. Every verse has been masterfully crafted. Every story feels true. Scarface has been viewed as a legend in rap music for over a decade. The coveted position comes with some pretty cool perks, like a superstar rolodex and at least one favor ask from any one of them. This time around Facemob, who usually goes it alone, has called on some of the biggest names in music to make this album a masterpiece. Enlisting “King of the Ghetto,” Z-Ro, gives the overall album so much soul.
Overall this album has a somber sound and doesn’t pick up much in tempo. Scarface sticks with his signature melodic flow for the course of the album and it has been so long since we heard it, that it leaves you wishing for more when the album ends. Every song sounds like Scarface went into the depths of his soul to shine light on the darkest corners. Even with platinum artists sprinkled throughout the project, the album is very much so a Scarface solo album. Face effectively brings these celebs into his world and they seamlessly integrate, making this the best Scarface album overall. The best part of the album is Scarface.
The only thing you might hate about this album is that it’s not already critically acclaimed. This album is Grammy-worthy, so you might hate when it’s not even nominated or chronicled as great by receiving a trophy. Also Face could have done a better job of exploring the theme in the cover art, a southern church home. Aside from the fact that the majority of the songs sound like they could have been produced by a Baptist church band, The Geto Boys front man left the theme and cover art grossly understated. Lastly, the sequencing could have been better. Album sequencing is not a priority when albums can be picked apart for .99 cents a single, however, if the sequencing had been a priority, I believe the theme would have been crystal clear throughout the body of work.
Scarface is still one of the best writers in hip-hop culture. On the John Legend-assisted “God,” Face raps,:
“If I had to play God for a day, I’d open the gates and let the world see my face, [so I could] remove all doubt from the ones without the faith. Put them on a path of the straight; a safe place.”
The song takes you to a place where Scarface is God and what he would do with omnipotent power. But then Scarface raps about a world where God is absent and the Earth is run by the devil for a day in the second verse.
“I wonder when I sleep is he there sitting on my chest, stealing breath, shortening my days even less. Lost souls never rest. A killer walks the streets seeking flesh. An adolescent hangs; she’s depressed…A father kills his son; it’s a mess. Imagine if the Lord up and left.”
Only a legend could seriously explore the idea of God from both angles and paint a clear picture of these two very different worlds. Songs that you’ll definitely want to hear are “The Hot Seat,” a song about accepting your prison sentence and surviving prison; “Do What I Do” features Rick Ross, Nas, Z-Ro, and a song with lyrical heavyweights like these four need to be heard. “Eviction notice on the door, fuck it gotta go for broke,” croons Z-Ro on the hook. Nas is in rare form on this song and we have not heard Nas and Scarface on a song together since Scarface’s classic album, The Fix. Be sure to check out “You,” featuring Cee Lo, “Fuck You Too,” “Anything,” and “Keep It Moving,” featuring Avant, a single about love and relationships.
Born and raised in Washington, DC, Nikki Mack began writing as a way to vent. Nikki Mack is an avid reader, and recluse, who is currently working tirelessly on an urban fiction novel.