The Golden Era of hip hop (1990's) is considered to be the most authentic representation of beat making lyricism and let's not forget dee jayin'. You probably can make the argument that the year 1994 become a lyrical cluster of dope emcees and vivid narrations. You had Biggie, Outkast & Nas along with classics from Beastie Boys, Method Man, and Bone Thugs.
The Diary was Scarface’s third solo album and proved to be his biggest album at the time. He was able to achieve quite a bit of success out of the gate despite the controversy over his violent lyrics. Although he was already solidified as a legend in the rap game, or better known as “your favorite rappers’ favorite rapper,” this album proved to draw in a broader audience which propelled The Diary to platinum status in less than two months. It is still to this day one of the few albums to receive a perfect five-star rating by XXL and The Source magazine. The only two features on The Diary came from Houston’s own Devin the Dude and Ice Cube which enabled the listener to get uninterrupted Face Mob knowledge. Many in the industry would name Scarface in their top 5 or top 3 list of the best of all time.
“I hear you breathin’ but your heart no longer sounds strong
But you kinda scared of dying so you hold on
And you keep on blacking out cuz the post is near
Stop trying to fight the reaper just relax and let it go”
Most of the production on The Diary was curated by Houston’s own the legend Mike Dean and another staple within Rap-a-Lot N.O. Joe with minimal sampling. Throughout this album you hear verse after verse of Scarface’s typical deep lyrics that deal with hard times, death and criminal activity. The tone of his voice only magnifies the substance and fits seamlessly with his rap style and reinforces the lyrical content. The imagery he’s able to create can maybe only be matched by a few other MC’s. Scarface’s albums play out like a movie as he takes you throughout his experiences and you can almost picture yourself there. No one else will probably ever be able to convey delusions through song like Scarface could. Just one listen to “I Seen A Man Die” and you can see that whole song play out in your head like a motion picture. The only other song I can think of that literally had people scared to look out of the window would be another song he’s featured on , “Mind Playing Tricks!”
Scarface remains one of the clear examples of Southern lyricism and could go word for word with just about anyone. Just check out “Smile” as he exchanges bars with Pac and makes magic. This just goes to show the lyrical talent and the greatness of Scarface. Celebrate one of Houston’s own as we look back at The Diary in all its greatness and vibe out.