Scarface (rapper)

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Scarface (rapper) (cropped).jpg
Scarface in 2013
Background information
Birth nameBradley Terrence Jordan [1]
Also known asMr. Scarface, Face, DJ Akshen, Facemob, Creepy [2]
Born (1970-11-09) November 9, 1970 (age 51)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Genres Hip hop
  • Rapper
  • record producer
Years active1988–present
Associated acts

Bradley Terrence Jordan (born November 9, 1970), better known by his stage name Scarface, is an American rapper and record producer best known as a member of the Geto Boys, a hip-hop group from Houston, Texas. [2] He grew up in Houston and is originally from the city's South Acres (Crestmont Park) neighborhood. [3] In 2012, The Source ranked him #16 on their list of the Top 50 Lyricists of All Time, [4] while ranked him #6 on its list of the 50 Greatest MCs of Our Time (1987–2007). [5]


Early life and education

Scarface attended Woodson Middle School in Houston, Texas. [6] He dropped out of high school and worked as a drug dealer. [7] As a teenager, he attempted suicide, and subsequently spent time in a hospital psychiatric ward. [7]

He was brought up as a Christian, and converted to Islam in 2006. [8]


He began his career as DJ Akshen (pronounced “Action“), recording and deejaying for Lil' Troy's Short Stop, which was a local record label in Houston. After releasing the 12" single "Scarface/Another Head Put To Rest" (1989), which was written by Chris "Mr. 3-2" Barriere and produced by Def Jam Blaster [9] and Bruce "Grim" Rhodes, [10] he would go on to sign with Rap-A-Lot Records and join a group who were collectively known as the Geto Boys, replacing a member who left. The first Geto Boys album he appeared on was the group's second album, Grip It! On That Other Level (1989), a highly successful album that garnered the group a large fanbase. Radio and MTV refused to play any songs from the album because of their violent lyrics, but by the standards of the time, Geto Boys were a major success, and 2 Live Crew were the only Southern rap crew whose success was at all comparable.

Jordan took his stage name from the 1983 film Scarface , starring Al Pacino and directed by Brian De Palma. [11]

In 1992, Scarface appeared (along with fellow Geto Boys member Bushwick Bill) on the Kool G Rap & DJ Polo album Live and Let Die . Kool G Rap was and remains as influential a figure in the development of East Coast hip-hop, especially mafioso rap, as Scarface was and remains in and to the history of Southern gangsta rap, which made the pairing especially notable. During this period of his career, Scarface also worked with the West Coast gangsta rap stars Ice Cube and MC Eiht and with his good friend Devin The Dude, a peaceable stoner rapper and fellow Rap-A-Lot signee.

Scarface’s 1991 solo album Mr. Scarface Is Back was a success, and his popularity soon caused him to overshadow the other Geto Boys. Scarface remained in the group, but he released a series of solo albums that kept him in the public eye, and they sold well. Scarface is the only Geto Boys member who has remained with the group ever since the lineup was revamped in 1989.

Scarface’s popularity as a solo artist peaked with the albums The Diary and The Last of a Dying Breed , the latter of which received positive reviews, sold well, earned him the title of “Lyricist of the Year” at the 2001 Source Awards. [2]

In 2002, Scarface released The Fix , the follow-up to The Last of a Dying Breed. The Fix was one of the most acclaimed rap albums of its time, and featured an all-star ensemble cast including not only both Nas and Jay-Z (whose mutual presence on the album despite the fact that they were engaged in what was at that point the highest-profile rap beef in the history of hip-hop indicated just how widely and truly Scarface was respected in hip-hop culture, but also Faith Evans, Kelly Price, a very well-respected lieutenant of Ice Cube’s from the West Coast named WC, and the Philadelphia rapper Beanie Sigel, an affiliate of Jay-Z’s then-dominant Roc-A-Fella Records with whom Scarface had been good friends since at least 1998 and with whom there were perpetual rumours that Scarface would make a collaborative album.

It was around this time that Scarface also returned to the studio with the Geto Boys for what turned out to be their final album as a trio, The Foundation. Further, he was featured on The Biggie Duets alongside Big Gee and Akon, and he guested on Ray Cash's debut single "Bumpin' My Music".

In addition to his career as a rapper, Scarface was the coordinator and president of Def Jam South from 2000 to 2005, where he fostered the career of the rapper Ludacris, a transplant from Chicago to Atlanta. [2]

Scarface has appeared on Freeway's album Free at Last and on Beanie Sigel's album, The Solution . Scarface has produced three tracks on UGK's Underground Kingz including "Life Is 2009", "Still Ridin' Dirty", and "Candy".

Some of Scarface's early music videos ("A Minute to Pray and a Second to Die") featured community activist Quanell X in supporting roles.

In 2008, Scarface collaborated with rapper Tech N9ne on his album Killer on the song "Pillow Talkin'".

Despite limited commercial appeal, he remains out of the norm and popular among those in the industry, and has been described as "your favorite rapper's favorite rapper". [12] On August 6, 2009, Scarface performed at the 2009 Gathering of the Juggalos. In 2005, comedian Chris Rock praised Scarface as one of the best three rappers of all time on his list of the Top-25 Hip-Hop Albums ever. [13]

On June 30, 2010, Scarface announced that he was working on a new album entitled The Habit, which would include features from John Legend and Drake, and that it was scheduled for release that fall. [14] For one production on the album, Scarface co-hosted a worldwide producer showcase with iStandard from which thousands of producers were considered and after a selection of the top 8, Alex Kresovich was named winner. [15] The album would feature a production from Eminem. [16] In February 2011, news came that he had been held in jail without bail since September 2010 for failure to pay child support in four different cases. [17] As of August 2011, Scarface was released from jail. In 2012, Scarface collaborated with Ice Cube on an Insane Clown Posse remix called "Chris Benoit" on The Mighty Death Pop!'s bonus album Mike E. Clark's Extra Pop Emporium . [18]

Media appearances

Scarface also appeared in the Mike Judge film Idiocracy as a pimp named Upgrayedd. [19] Judge also used the Scarface track "No Tears" and Geto Boys tracks "Still" and "Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta" in his 1999 film Office Space . [20]

He has appeared in the two video games: Def Jam Vendetta and its sequel Def Jam: Fight For NY .

At the 2015 BET Hip Hop Awards, he received the I Am Hip Hop award. [21]

Public service

On June 10, 2019, Scarface launched his campaign to be elected as the Councilperson for District D of the Houston City Council when the current seat holder, Dwight Boykins, decided to run for mayor. [22] [23] Jordan, whose rap moniker was "Scarface," announced his candidacy a day after the death of his friend and bandmate Bushwick Bill. His campaign is defined by the vision of "putting the neighbor back in the hood," which is the motto of Positive Purpose Movement, [24] an organization founded by Jordan. [25] The organization works with area schools to promote education and empowerment among children from underrepresented communities. [26]

Jordan was quoted in The Washington Post stating that "Scarface is dead." Positioning himself as a viable candidate for City Council, he emphasized his desire to build a legacy of public service when he added, "I'm not going to be a 75-year-old rapper... I'm going to be finishing my last term in office as president when I'm 75". [23] Jordan was defeated by former educator Carolyn Evans-Shabazz in a run-off election on December 15, 2019. [27]

Personal life

Scarface claims to be a cousin of singer Johnny Nash. [28] He also owns and collects Gibson Les Paul electric guitars.

In March 2020, Scarface revealed that he had tested positive for COVID-19. [29]


Scarface released a memoir on April 21, 2015, which details various moments from his childhood, getting his first record deal from Rap-A-Lot, and his tenure at Def Jam South. [30] [31] [32]


Studio albums

Collaboration albums

Compilation albums

Related Research Articles

Gangsta rap or gangster rap, initially called reality rap, emerged in the mid- to late 1980s as a controversial hip hop subgenre whose lyrics assert the culture and values typical of American street gangs and street hustlers. Many gangsta rappers flaunt associations with real street gangs, like the Crips and the Bloods. Gangsta rap's pioneers were Schoolly D of Philadelphia in 1985, Ice-T of Los Angeles in 1986, and especially N.W.A in 1988. In 1993, via record producer Dr. Dre, rapper Snoop Dogg, and their G-funk sound, gangsta rap took the rap genre's lead and became mainstream, popular music.

The Geto Boys is an American hip hop group originally formed in Houston, Texas. The group was formed in 1987. The Geto Boys enjoyed success in the 1990s with the group's classic lineup consisting of Bushwick Bill, Scarface and Willie D, earning several certified albums and hit singles, including "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" which reached No. 1 on the Hot Rap Songs and #23 on the Billboard Hot 100.

G-funk, short for gangsta funk, is a sub-genre of gangsta rap that emerged from the West Coast scene in the late 1980s. The genre is heavily influenced by 1970s psychedelic funk sound of artists such as Parliament-Funkadelic.

Horrorcore, also called horror hip hop, horror rap, death hip hop, or death rap, is a subgenre of hip hop music based on horror-themed and often darkly transgressive lyrical content and imagery. Its origins derived from certain hardcore hip hop and gangsta rap artists, such as the Geto Boys, which began to incorporate supernatural, occult, or psychological horror themes into their lyrics. Unlike most hardcore hip hop and gangsta rap artists, horrorcore artists often push the violent content and imagery in their lyrics beyond the realm of realistic urban violence, to the point where the violent lyrics become gruesome, ghoulish, unsettling, or slasher film- or splatter film-esque. While exaggerated violence and the supernatural are common in horrorcore, the genre also frequently presents more realistic yet still disturbing portrayals of mental illness and drug abuse. Some horrorcore artists eschew supernatural themes or exaggerated violence in favor of more subtle and dark psychological horror imagery and lyrics.

Bushwick Bill American rapper

Richard William Stephen Shaw, better known by his stage name Bushwick Bill, was a Jamaican-American rapper and record producer. He was best known as a member of the pioneering Texas hip hop group Geto Boys, a group he originally joined as a breakdancer in 1986 as Little Billy. He went on to become one third of the best-known incarnation of the group, alongside Willie D and Scarface.

Devin the Dude American rapper from Texas

Devin Copeland, better known by his stage name Devin the Dude, is an American rapper from Houston, Texas. He is known for his unique rapping style and his 2002 songs "Lacville '79" and "Doobie Ashtray".

Def Jam South was the music division of Def Jam Recordings. The label focused primarily on southern acts. It was best known for launching the career of Ludacris and his own imprint, Disturbing tha Peace. In 2004, following the signing of Young Jeezy and hip-hop's overdominance of trap music, the division was folded into Def Jam.

Mind Playing Tricks on Me 1991 single

"Mind Playing Tricks on Me" is a song by Geto Boys, featured on their 1991 album We Can't Be Stopped . The lyrics describe the mental anguish and exhaust of life as a gangster, including dealing with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, paranoia, suicidal ideation, and loneliness. It also samples "Hung Up on My Baby" by Isaac Hayes, from his 1974 film Tough Guys. At the song's peak, it reached 23 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the highest-charting single by the Geto Boys.

Def Jam Recordings American record label

Def Jam Recordings is an American multinational record label owned by the Universal Music Group. It is based in Manhattan, New York City, specializing predominantly on hip hop, contemporary R&B, soul and pop.

Rap-A-Lot Records Southern hip-hop record label

Rap-A-Lot is a hip hop record label founded by James Prince in 1986. Smoke-a-Lot Records is a subsidiary.

<i>We Cant Be Stopped</i> 1991 studio album by Geto Boys

We Can't Be Stopped is the third studio album by Geto Boys, released on July 9, 1991. It was among their most successful records in terms of units sold. The album is analysed track-by-track by Geto Boys in Brian Coleman's book Check the Technique. We Can't Be Stopped was certified Platinum in early 1992.

<i>Grip It! On That Other Level</i> 1989 studio album by Ghetto Boys

Grip It! On That Other Level is the second studio album by the Houston, Texas based hip-hop group, the Ghetto Boys, released on March 12, 1989, on Rap-A-Lot Records. Following the disappointing results of the group's first album, Rap-A-Lot CEO James Prince replaced two of the group members with Scarface and Willie D, who joined original members Bushwick Bill and DJ Ready Red. Recording for the album began in 1988, and finished in early 1989. The majority of the album's tracks were produced by DJ Ready Red, and much of the album's lyrical content deals with violent and misogynistic topics, which would later be credited for pioneering the horrorcore hip hop subgenre.

<i>Till Death Do Us Part</i> (Geto Boys album) 1993 studio album by Geto Boys

Till Death Do Us Part is the fourth studio album by the Houston gangsta rap group the Geto Boys, released in March 1993 on Rap-A-Lot Records. Rapper Willie D had left the group in 1992 temporarily to pursue a solo career. In his position, fellow Rap-A-Lot member Big Mike joined Scarface and Bushwick Bill for this album. Till Death Do Us Part became the group's first #1 on the R&B/hip hop charts, and also included the group's second top 40 Billboard Hot 100 single, "Six Feet Deep". Other singles released from the album were "Crooked Officer" and "Straight Gangstaism".

<i>Da Good da Bad & da Ugly</i> 1998 studio album by Geto Boys

Da Good Da Bad & Da Ugly is the sixth studio album by the Houston hip hop group the Geto Boys, released in late 1998 on Rap-A-Lot/Virgin Records.

<i>Music to Driveby</i> 1992 studio album by Comptons Most Wanted

Music to Driveby is the third studio album by American gangsta rap group Compton's Most Wanted. It was released on September 29, 1992 through Orpheus/Epic Records. Recording sessions took place at Big Beat Soundlabs in Los Angeles and at Slips X Factor Studios in Inglewood from May 18 to June 9, 1992. Production was handled by members DJ Slip, MC Eiht and DJ Mike T, as well as The Unknown DJ and Ric Roc. It features contributions from William "Willie Z" Zimmerman on background vocals, keyboards, saxophone and harmonica, EMmage on backing vocals, and guest appearance by Scarface of Geto Boys.

Michael George Dean is an American hip hop record producer, audio engineer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from Houston, Texas. He is best known for recording and mixing songs and synthesizers for major artists across the American hip hop industry such as Kanye West, Kid Cudi, 2Pac, Scarface, Travis Scott, 2 Chainz, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Desiigner, Drake, Madonna, Selena Gomez, Lana Del Rey, and The Weeknd. He has released three solo studio albums: 4:20 on April 20, 2020, 4:22, on April 22, 2021, and Smoke State 42222 on April 22, 2022.

Rowdy Lewayne Williams, better known as Ganxsta NIP, is a rapper from South Park, Houston, Texas and a member of the South Park Coalition, which he co-founded in 1987 with Houston rapper K-Rino. In 1992 he released his debut album South Park Psycho. This record also helped put the South Park Coalition name on the map due to world wide distribution from Rap-a-Lot. He also wrote the Geto Boys hit "Chuckie". NIP stands for "Nation of Islam Is Powerful"; he is also a part of the Nation of Islam. Williams is also looked at as one of the creators of the horrorcore rap genre.

Joseph Johnson, known by his stage name N.O. Joe, is an American musician, hip hop record producer and songwriter. N.O. Joe was a pioneer of the Southern Hip Hop sound during the 1990s. He operates a production company named Gumbo Funk, which is also a name given to his melange of musical styles

<i>Rigormortiz</i> 1993 studio album by DMG

Rigormortiz is the debut album by rapper DMG. It was released on June 1, 1993 through Rap-a-Lot and Priority Records and featured production from Mike Dean, N.O. Joe and DMG's mentor Scarface. The album made it to 40 on the R&B charts and 22 on the Heatseekers chart. "You Don't Hear Me Doe" was released as a single and had a promotional music video shot for it.

Maybach Music Group Record label

Maybach Music Group (MMG) is a record label imprint founded by American rapper Rick Ross. Maybach Music Group albums are distributed by Atlantic Records, a division of the Atlantic Records Group. Atlantic took over distribution following the expiration of a deal with Island Def Jam. As of December 12, 2012, the label releases are now distributed by Atlantic Records. 19 solo and three compilation albums have been released by Maybach Music Group, including five certified Gold albums and three certified Platinum albums.


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