Underrated is a term that’s both endearing and disparaging. Yet, considering Scarface has nearly a dozen studio albums full of critically acclaimed rap tunes and is still often forgotten amidst conversations about who’s GOAT, the Houston icon might just be the most underrated emcee of all time.
However, ask any rapper from the South who their inspirations are, and the ones who matter most will explain how Face Mob used his imaginative storytelling to put their region on the map. Cultured fans will also echo their sentiment.
To reinforce the magnitude of Brad Jordan’s impact on the game and explain why he’s more than simply Southern royalty, we have compiled ten songs that we feel best exemplify his vast-reaching splash of blood-soaked hood poetry.
After successfully helming the South’s preeminent rap group, The Geto Boys, Scarface knew his brand of reality raps would work as a solo artist. To let listeners know his next chapter was just as alarming, Mr. Brad dropped this funky peak into the mindset of a ruthless coke kingpin, which kicked off his 1991 debut album Mr. Scarface Is Back with a bang.
“A Minute To Pray & A Second To Die”
To show his impeccable storytelling skills could resonate beyond the black market, 'Face explained in grave detail the sickening trickle-down effect that can happen after killing another man without apprehension.
“Let Me Roll”
Although his second album, The World Is Yours, didn’t carry the weight of his debut, Face took his visual style mainstream with this 1993 single. Instead of speaking on the dire aspects of his Houston hometown, the Rap-A-Lot emcee broke down the benefits of cold chilling and showed a side of his music that was easier to relate to than his renowned shock raps.
“Hand Of The Dead Body”
Throughout the '90s, rap music was predominantly gangster and blamed for half the country’s problems. To combat the disparaging critical chatter, Scarface paired with Cube and delivered this scathing rebuttal to clear the air.
“Seen A Man Die”
The fact this N.O. Joe & Mike Dean-produced gem from 'Face’s underrated The Diary could be so bleak and still get significant radio burn says a lot about Face’s ability to connect with any audience on any topic.
The lead single from 1997's Untouchable may have benefited from a timely release date after its co-star was gunned down months prior, but this haunting cut is brimming with bleak optimism. Rightfully, it resonates now just as much as it did then.
One of the more endearing qualities about Scarface is that he’s always been able to equate any concept or slice of life into his own downtrodden stylings, which is exactly what he did on this unique weed song. He didn't merely speak on the highs of his potent homegirl. The always insightful legend used this slow-burning Mike Dean-produced jam to give some perspective on the political discrepancies surrounding the organic drug, too.
Sometimes containing yourself can be easier said than done. On this classic slow rap from his double-album My Homies, 'Face and crew explained how spitting some O.G. game can go far with the ladies.
Considering Scarface's career came about because of his ability to poetically address the salty situations going on amidst his hometown, this Nashiem Myrick-produced dedication to his corner proved to be an appropriate lead single to his comeback album The Fix. The epitome of authentic.
“Guess Who’s Back”
Aside from earning critical acclaim with The Fix, Face Mob also saw plenty of rightful radio love thanks to this Kanye West-produced knocker, which found him trading bars with Roc-A-Fella Records' best.