on August 23, 2002
What's so admirable about Scarface is that when he raps, he never tries to impress anybody. With his voice, social commentary, and wicked on-and-off again flow, you can feel him AND believe him, unlike most icy, studio gangsta rappers today. That's why fans like myself have supported him, even on his okay days. And I'm glad I did, because The Fix is his best solo album since The Diary.
While his last albums (The Untouchable, "My Homies" compilation, Last of a Dying Breed) each had a few hot joints on them, this album never runs out of gems. Scarface still brings those hood tales to us like on "In Cold Blood" and "Keep Me Down". On the latter, the music is just plain funky, and speaking of production, the diverse production from everyone from Kanye West and T-Mixx works in his favor more on this album than on Last of a Dying Breed.
The song that you've all heard already, "On My Block" (which uses a slightly chopped-up, sped-up sample of Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack's "Be Real Black for Me"), sounds just as good now as it did the other million times I played it. Hearing that song (and seeing the video) reminds me of 1994 rap, where there's just a gangsta beat and a gangsta rhyme, minus any pimping, jiggy dancing and popping Mo'. And while most "back-in-the-day" raps are played-out now, Scarface wins by telling original tales of how it used to be.
Though I was skeptical to hear Scarface with The Neptunes and Faith Evans on "Someday", that track actually works, as does "What Can I Do" with Kelly Price. On the latter, 'Face goes back to his low-key, "I Seen a Man Die"-esque voice, which is classic in its own way. The other guest star contributions are also stellar: check out "I Ain't the One" with W.C. (man, that even looks good on paper). And while I loved the Nas/'Face 1999 collabo "Favor for a Favor", "In Between Us" blows that track out the water. Both rappers give introspective tales, and while most people don't like the long chorus in between the two verses, I actually think that it's good to hear a song that defies the usual "16 bars-chorus-16-bars-chorus-16 bars-chorus-fade out" formula.
Only ONE flaw to find on here: though I like "Guess Who's Back" (with Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel) as a single, it sounds a little out of place on this album full of Down South flava (Jay-Z even starts off the track by saying, "Welcome to New York City"). And every time they say, "Guess who's bizzack," I always wanna say, "They were gone? Where did they go?", "And why does this song sound like it was left off Jay-Z's Blueprint album?". But enough hating, this album is great, and it's even 47 minutes long. FINALLY, someone gets it: you don't need to have a long album to get your point across. Scarface is real rap, not HIP-HOP, I said RAP. Get this album now to get your rap fix. Anyone who's looking for Reynolds (read: plastic rap) can seek elsewhere.