Scarface is a name that often comes up sooner than later when discussing the greatest artists in the history of hip-hop. Staking his claim at a time when the east and west coasts were the dominant players in the rap game, Scarface would be one of the first southern rappers to gain respect and acclaim in all corners of the country, and is considered one of the greatest southern spitters to ever clutch a mic.
Coming to prominence as a member of the Geto Boys, Scarface would quickly emerge as a breakout star. Following the group's commercial breakthrough with the hit single "Mind Playing Tricks On Me" and the album We Can't Be Stopped, Scarface released his solo debut Mr. Scarface Is Back in 1991, and followed it with his sophomore effort, The World Is Yours, in 1993, but it was his 1994 album The Diary that garnered the rapper his first platinum plaque.
More than two years after dropping The Diary, Scarface would return with his fourth solo studio album, Untouchable, which trumped the commercial success of his previous offering, and was considered among the year's stronger releases. Released on March 11, 1997, Untouchable would be Scarface's first album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and be certified platinum in less than three months, serving as a landmark commercial release for the rapper.
With twenty years having passed since it first touched down, we've highlighted 5 of the best tracks from Untouchable to celebrate one of the more popular albums from one of rap's living legends. Did your favorite make the cut?
"Its on and once again I come to you wit rough shit/Game to bust shit when mutha fuckers wanna fuck wit," Scarface spits on the title track. Co-produced by N.O. Joe, Mike Dean, and himself, "Untouchable" is an explosive opening selection that sets the tone for the rest of the album and doubles as one of its more refined salvos.
Scarface paints a description of his H-Town stomping grounds and the way of the land on "Southside," a groovy cut that may be brief but it packs enough power to make it memorable. Produced by N.O. Joe, Mike Dean, and Tone Capone, and powered by 808 drums, synths, and keys, "Southside" is another highlight from Untouchable that's an instant standout and finds Scarface delivering another killer lyrical performance.
"Game Over"Scarface Featuring Too Short, Dr. Dre & Ice Cube
"Game Over" is a posse cut featuring West Coast affiliates Too $hort, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube that is as good as advertised on paper. Produced by Dr. Dre, "Game Over" kicks off with a few words from Short before Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Scarface take turns assaulting the mic with murderous bars of malice and warfare. Matching wits with a few of the best from the west, Scarface scores another highlight with "Game Over."
Produced by N.O. Joe, Scarface, Mike Dean, Tone Capone, "Mary Jane" is a track dedicated to marijuana, although the song was infamously recorded while the rapper was under the influence of ecstasy.
"Do your thang MaryJane mess with all my folks-got 'em high/For the days that they were lost and broke-shit got 'em by," the Rap-A-Lot franchise player raps, as we waxes poetic about the joys of partaking in the sticky. Later sampled by R&B singer Ashanti for her 2002 single, "Baby," "Mary Jane" is a great ode to the sticky-icky.
"Smile"Scarface Featuring 2Pac
Untouchable's most popular song, "Smile," is also one of the definitive singles in Scarface's discography. Featuring a posthumous appearance from 2Pac, as well as vocals by R&B singer Johnny P, "Smile" captures two of the greatest rappers of all time joining forces and creating one of the more indelible collaborations of the era. Produced by Mike Dean, Tone Capone, N.O. Joe, "Smile," which peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, is a certified classic and a timeless effort from Scarface.