Scarface is a master procrastinator. It’s been said that he holds off until the final hour to get a verse recorded for an album’s final cut. That nervous pressure might shake the average MC, but not Face. The wait is an intricate part of his veteran creative construct. Over the course of the last 20 years we’ve been witness to Face’s incredible rise; from his classic work with the Geto Boys through 2002’s gem, The Fix, there’s never been a reason to doubt his pedigree.
Deeply Rooted, his aptly titled 12th studio record, paints a vivid picture of Face facing the man in the mirror. The sound captures the angst and paranoia of his early Houston days, yet anchors itself in the present thanks to the unparalleled professionalism of one of hip hop’s quietest giants. He’s undoubtedly rooted in the game, experiencing all aspects from recording to running a label (remember Def Jam South?), so what’s an OG to do in 2015 considering we’ve heard incredibly strong projects this year?
Face has never been one to shy away from the power of his influence. He could have pieced together a record ready for the radio, or something catered to the younger crowds who rely on the perpetual turn-up. Instead, he built an album packed with sentiment, ready for purists and newcomers to devour. He goes toe to toe with Rick Ross and Nas on Do What I Do, which rings like a call to arms for old heads to unite around the idea that there’s still a place in rap for bars. These three vets prove it with Nas ultimately stealing the show. It’s also necessary to shout out Akon for putting his nasal touch on Exit Plan, the coldest of the records 18 cuts, included on the deluxe version.
Elsewhere, on the instantly credible Steer, we’re treated to an R&B driven hook by Rush Davis that works effortlessly next to Face’s precise storytelling. The real diamond of this collection though is “God”, a track that finds the MC detailing what he’d do if he were God. The John Legend assist puts this one over the top, proof positive that a reflective, comfortable Scarface can still rock with the best of them.
Scarface isn’t content to rest as the clock ticks. His track record is proven, but he has more to say as if he’s still sitting alone in that four-cornered room staring at candles. Deeply Rooted won’t be remembered as a Scarface classic, but should be played at high volumes in celebration of another dope effort from a real master of his craft.