Brad "Scarface" Jordan is a hip-hop legend. Since he debuted in the late 1980s as a member of the Geto Boys, Face made a name for himself delivering deep and dark reality raps. In the 1990s he emerged as a solo star with tracks like "I Seen a Man Die" and "Smile" with 2Pac, then he continued to create classic works in the new millennium with his critically acclaimed The Fix LP.
At the beginning of his career the Houston, Texas, spitter aimed to shed the ridiculous stigma surrounding Southern rappers and hoped to be considered amongst hip-hop's greats, regardless of region. Early on, Face did a lot to break Southern stereotypes and has long been regarded amongst rap's elite -- he's on my personal top 10 greatest rappers of all time list.
Yes, Scarface has lived a life you can write a book on -- ummmmmm, correction, he's lived a life that he's already written a book on. On April 21, Face and author Benjamin Meadows Ingram will drop "Diary of a Madman," the rapper's awaited biography.
Luckily for us, MTV News got an advanced copy, read the entire book and picked out some highlights and little known facts for you.
There's A Lot Of Unreleased Material With Kanye West
Scarface first linked with Yeezy on The Fix in 2002 and while West produced three songs on that album ("In Cold Blood," "Guess Who's Back" and "Heaven"), Face says there is a lot of unreleased material too. "One day -- maybe after I'm dead -- I'm sure somebody's going to find all that sh-t, put it out, and make a ton of money," he writes.
Face Suggested Beyoncé Record 'Landslide' A Year Before The Dixie Chicks Did
"I told her that she should do a cover of Fleetwood Mac's 'Landslide,'" Face remembers telling Bey back in 2001. "I gave her the CD and everything... A year later the Dixie Chicks did exactly that and their version was a smash."
Nas Dissed Jay Z On the Original Version Of 'In Between Us'
Back in 2002, when Jay Z and Nas were still in the middle of their infamous rap feud, Scarface was able to land features from both MC son The Fix LP. In his book Face reveals that Nas took shots at Jay on the original version of "In Between Us," but dialed the verse back after Face's request.
It Was Face Who Signed Ludacris To Def Jam
After Lyor Cohen tapped Face to head Def Jam South, the Houston lyricist put on his executive hat and sought out the best southern MCs to bring to the famed label. In the summer of 2000, Luda signed and went on to sell millions of records.
He Tried To Sign Rick Ross Too, But Def Jam Said No
Face tried to get the label to bite on a little-known Miami rapper by the name of Teflon, but he writes: "They didn't want to f--k with him like that at the time." Well, Teflon eventually renamed himself Rick Ross, signed with Def Jam and is currently one of their biggest acts.
Stevie Wonder Cried The First Time He Heard "Smile" With 2Pac
Scarface and 2Pac were longtime friends and recorded "Smile" right before Pac was murdered in 1996. Before putting the track out Face tried to get Stevie Wonder to sing the hook and the song's producer Tone Capone says he saw the music legend shed a tear while listening.
Scarface Did Not Want Master P Or 2Pac On 'Homies & Thuggs'
According to Face if you were an artist on Rap-A-Lot Records, it was the label CEO J. Prince who had the last say. Though Scarface was against having Master P and a poor quality, posthumous 2Pac verse on his 1998 single "Homies & Thuggs," Prince had the last word. "Taking a dead man's vocals off a videotape to use it in a song? That's the lowest of the low," he wrote.
Virgin Records Made Face Change The Title Of 'I Seen A Man Die'
"I Seen a Man Die" solidified Scarface as a solo rap artist back in 1994, but the execs at his parent label made him change the song title to "Never Seen a Man Cry." "Virgin didn't want anything associating us with death going on the radio," he wrote.
It Took Face A Year To Finally Believe Jay Z Writes Songs In His Head
"He was so sick with it and so damn fast that I though he was spitting prewritten sh-t," he wrote. "It wasn't until a year or so later... that I realized he's just a freak of nature."
Face Believes He's As Good A Producer As Dr. Dre, Timbaland And Pharrell
Many rap fans don't realize that Scarface produces a lot of his own material, and he's super proud of his beats. "I think the only ones close are Dr. Dre, Timbaland, Pharrell, Tone Capone, Mike Dean and N.O. Joe. That's it. I'm really that bad," he wrote.
He Was Just 16 Years Old When He Signed His First Record Deal
Scarface signed to Rap-A-Lot Records as a solo artist on August 18, 1987.
Face Tried To Commit Suicide As A Kid
In the book's first chapter Scarface recalls taking all of his mother's blood pressure medication and passing out on the bathroom floor. "You name it, I'd tried it. Slitting my wrists with a box cutter and bleeding out all over the bathroom floor, putting loaded guns to my head, all of that sh-t," he wrote. "I never pulled the trigger. I never went all the way."
The We Can't Be Stopped Album Cover Was Really Photographed After Bushwick Bill Was Shot
Right before Geto Boys dropped their 1991 album We Can't Be Stopped, group member Bushwick Bill was shot in the eye by a girlfriend. When the group went to visit Bill they were asked to dress up and photos from that day ended up becoming the unforgettable album cover. "I wasn't down with that sh-t. It was too raw," Scarface wrote. "That's why I have that look on my face in the picture like, Holy f--k!"
'Mind Playing Tricks On Me' Was Originally A Solo Scarface Record
Geto Boy's breakout single "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" was originally recorded as a Scarface solo single, but after execs at Priority Records heard it, Willie D. and Bushwick Bill were asked to add verses to it.
Scarface's Original Rap Name Was Akshen
Face's original rap name was Akshen, but after he recorded a local Houston hit titled "Scarface" he adopted the new moniker.
Before He Produced With Kanye West, Mike Dean Worked With Scarface
"It doesn't really matter what type of sh-t you're on -- you can be going for slow-rolling, sh-t-talking Southern gangster sh-t or you can be after that crazy, futuristic orchestral sh-t that he's been doing with Kanye for all of these years -- Mike will come in and tighten your sh-t up," Face wrote.
Scarface Wanted To Be Like Chuck D, Rakim And Big Daddy Kane Rolled Into One Person
"Give me Chuck's delivery, Kane's skills, and Rakim's rhyme style, plus Willie D's content -- that's what molded me," he wrote.