Greatest Hits

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The prototype for the Dirty South thug image that came years after his debut, Scarface is a harsh and gritty MC who never broke into the mainstream because he had little desire to cross over. On Greatest Hits, Scarface collects most of his singles and well-known album tracks in a collection that has the tiniest thread of chronological order (most of his older songs are found toward the beginning), but maintains a variety that keeps it interesting. What emerges is an image of Scarface the innovator, as he continually evolves his funky gangsta rap without latching onto popular sounds or trends. Growing from a tight and somewhat-dated new jack swing sound to an eerie liquid funk through the years, Scarface maintained an originality that kept him a vital force in the underground. His loyalty to producer Mike Dean is the main reason, giving his body of work a common thread that most MCs rarely bother with. His unique delivery predates the gruff Dirty South sound with a harsh and immediate approach, but his often-overlooked lyrics are some of the most personal in the genre. None of his awesome Geto Boys tracks are included, but his simplistic early solo work transitions into his complex and thoughtful later years quite well. Scarface isn't afraid to look at both sides of his raps, and he often injects harsh truths into songs that would be nothing more than childish fantasies in the hands of lesser lyricists. Almost like a sequel to the Geto Boys' excellent Uncut Dope collection, Greatest Hits documents the solo years of one of the genre's most respected voices. It may be an acquired taste, but Scarface is a chilling realist in a music style known for its consequence-free boasts.

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