Scarface – Emeritus [Review]

“He is to the East Coast what Snoop is, to the West Coast what Face is to Houston”. You probably remember that line from Jay-Z’s 2003 track “Change Clothes” (Hova referencing himself by the way). And if you know anything about Scarface, you’ll also know that the rhyme is partially right. Scarface IS to the SOUTH what Jigga is to East Coast. So, you would think that after an impressive and extensive career, Scarface’s rumoredlast album would get a lot of hype and buzz right? Wrong. On the list of 2008’s notable releases, Face’s latest album, Emeritus (Meaning a title of a retired professor or professional), isn’t really garnering the attention that should be rewarded to someone who’s in 20 years has worked with everyone from Tech N9ne to Tupac. Enough with the build up, let’s check out what might be Brad Jordan’s final curtain call.

1. Intro
Featuring J. Prince; Produced by Mike Dean
“Awwwwwwww yeah.” If you have listened to any Rap-A-Lot releases in the past few years, you already know that label owner J. Prince is most of the time on the intros. This one is even more self serving as J. Prince talks for almost four minutes about his real life enemies and “rats” (by name). No rhyming and just Scarface saying “he approves this message” at the end. This IS Face’s last album right?

2. High Powered
Featuring Papa Rue; Produced by N.O. Joe
Scarface first song off the album shows that after two decades, he’s still goes in on snitches (“Represent the mob, since you niggas want heat I’m bought to turn up the knob”). The beat is kinda strange; for some reason the break down sounds like Lil’ Wayne’s “A Milli”. Not that it’s a bad thing because I actually like the track. Throw in the reggae stylings of Papa Rue and you have a winner.

3. Forgot About Me
Featuring Lil’ Wayne & Bun B; Produced by Cool & Dre
This one is a banger. This is what a three way all-star Hip-Hop collabo is supposed to sound like. Everyone brings there A-game over a hard hitting Cool & Dre provided production. This leaked a while ago and it’s still first-class now. The South has something to say.

4. Can’t Get Right
Featuring Bilal; Produced by Nottz
This song sounds like something that would have been on The Fix. Scarface talks about topics such as Saddam Hussain’s capture to racial inequalities. Nottz provides good soulful production and Face drops some science.

5. Still Here
Featuring Shateish; Produced by Nottz
I personally wouldn’t have placed both Nottz productions back to back like this; they kinda run together (In sound and topic). Not to say it’s a bad song (it’s actually alright), the placement is just wrong.

6. It’s Not A Game
Produced by Illmind
Even though Illmind is most known for working with acts like Sean Price and Little Brother, his production fits alongside Scarface’s thoughts about street life (“So please believe that when it’s time to show, I’ll be ready with my arms crossed dying to go”). The hook here can get redundant though.

7. Who Are They
Featuring K-Rino & Slim Thug; Produced by Illmind
This theme of this track is like that of Mike Jones’ “Back then they didn’t want me, now I’m hot…”. Even though the topic has always been beaten to death by rappers, this one is funny. K-Rino steals the show as he talks about women in the past who dissed him when he was broke; “Making records for fun/You 37 at the strip club getting naked for ones/But I ain’t tripping you can hit the room with me it’s fine/And when I bust on a chin I’m like clean up on isle 9”.


8. Soldier Story
Featuring The Product & Z-Ro; Produced Anthony Gilmour
Scarface links up with on of his many crews, The Product, as well as his lablemate Z-Ro. With Z-Ro’s weak singing and whoever the first guy was offbeat rhymes, I wasn’t into this track at all. The whole feel of the song is dull.

9. Redemption Song
Produced by N.O. Joe
Here it sounds like Scarface wasn’t going full force. It’s one of those songs that doesn’t have a hook; just a loop and talking on the chorus. For this kind of song to work, you have to come hard with the lyrics.

10. High Note
Produced by Jake One
Jake One and Scarface link on this track about slanging d (And I don’t mean drugs…). On the hook, you can even hear a women “hitting a high note” in the background. The end result is actually a little lower than I expected. The hook is so-so and I guess I expected better production from Jake One; more like what was on White Van Music.

11. We Need You
Featuring Wacko; Produced by N.O. Joe
Here, UTP’s Wacko does the hook (“I don’t believe you!”) and Scarface goes in more about snitches and fake gangster. This is another track that I felt sounded a little boring. Ehh…

12. Unexpected
Featuring Wacko; Produced by Young Cee & Sha Money XL
Why is Wacko on two tracks back to back? Was he hanging out at the recording sessions or something? Face sounds like he rapping a verses from the previous song in terms of subject matter. The production from Sha Money and Young Cee also sounds generic.

13. Emeritus
Produced by Scram Jones
On the last song of the album, Scarface raps for over 3 minutes straight about his place in the Hip-Hop history book. He goes in about his respect and huge catalog of material; I guess this is a fittingly exit. It’s really hard to find a song that would sum up the last album of a 20 year career. “Nigga I came up on motherfucking Rakim and KRS-One and NWA and shit like that nigga. Bitch you came up on me”.

14. Outro
Produced by Mike Dean
No rhyming, no talking. Just music playing that would be fit for burying a decorated solider. Oh, I get it. Appropriate

Bottom Line:
After listening to this album all week, I finally realize that most of the songs are actually good. So what’s the problem? Album sequencing. Why put back to back Illmind produced tracks then do again with Nottz. Also some songs are blurred together with subject matter. Still, Face should be happy because all in all, Emeritus is a solid album. Just like Scarface’s album last year, Made, I’m pretty sure that this album will get lost in the shuffle of this year’s Hip-Hop releases. No, it won’t get the attention needed but that’s not always the sign of success. Did Scarface end his career on his terms making the music he wanted? Yes. Did he get pushed out of the Rap game on his back? No. Well, then THAT’S a success.

nappyPicks: “High Powered”, “Forgot About Me”, “Can’t Get Right”, “Who Are They”, & “Emeritus”

Download: Scarface feat. Papa Rue – “High Powered”
Download: Scarface feat. Lil’ Wayne & Bun B – “Forgot About Me”