Scarface Pours Out Everything in His New Diary
Brad "Scarface" Jordan, center, with the Geto Boys, 2014
Photo by Marco Torres
You heard, yet? The brand-new project from Brad "Scarface" Jordan, Houston's preeminent gangsta poet, drops today. Predictably, it's dope. But don't go scurrying off to Spotify to find it -- try Amazon instead.
At long last, 'Face has broken his offstage silence and dished the goods in his new book, Diary of a Madman. Written together with longtime hip-hop scribe Benjamin Ingram-Meadows, the autobiography covers the rap superstar's entire bumpy and blessed existence, from his beyond-rough childhood in some of Houston's darkest places to his current exploits tearing up the city's best-manicured golf courses. It's about as complete a self-portrait of the intensely private MC that we're ever likely to get.
If you see him around town and you ask real politely, he might even sign your copy. Just don't ask him to read it.
"I don't ever want to read that book, OK?" Scarface says. "I know what I told the writer, and I just hope he used it, because I never want to read it. I never want to relive those moments again in my life. Good or bad, right, wrong or indifferent, I never want to relive those moments."
It isn't difficult to see why. There's plenty of bad recounted in Diary of a Madman, like the years Scarface spent as a child locked up in the metal-health wing of Houston International Hospital. Or his young adult years spent slinging crack to his neighbors on the south side of town. Or the ten months he spent behind bars for failure to pay child support. Or the time he got shot.
To be sure, there are plenty of triumphant moments in the book, too. Putting Houston on the hip-hop map once and for all with the Geto Boys was no small thing, of course, and 'Face never seems more proud than when he's recounting his time as a music executive with Def Jam South, where he helped break Ludacris. But reading the book, it becomes clear that pain and depression have been a constant struggle for the rap legend -- one Diary of a Madman doesn't shy away from confronting.
If you're one of the many fans who has been waiting for the unfiltered version of Brad Jordan's existence, read it now. Because Scarface ain't planning on going over it again.
"We had to go digging back in my past and my childhood, how I was raised," Scarface says. "It was deep, writing that story. There were some very deep moments, heartfelt moments, that really kind of broke me down, just reliving them. To the point where I didn't want to talk about it no more, I got so upset. It was just deep, man. My life story is deep."
Deep, but rarely dull, and Ingram-Meadows does a remarkable job of telling that story in Scarface's own voice. Madman is an uncensored tale, with all of the appropriate "bitches" and "motherfuckers" intact.
"There's no reading between the lines," 'Face chuckles. "It's right there in your face. Bam."
Story continues on the next page.
As the book's title might imply, turning these pages is a little like strolling through 'Face's head, and it's not always the most pleasant journey. But no matter how much adversity piles up, it's still the story of an artist completely undeterred.
"I think that the most exciting part about my life and my book is that I want the world to know that, regardless of what you've been faced with and the struggles that have come your way, you just have to fight," Scarface says. "You can't quit.
"It ain't about the way it started; it's about the fight that you put up, you know what I'm saying?" he adds. "I believe strongly in the fight."
Ultimately, that refusal to fear is what drove Scarface to put his own story into print. It didn't come naturally to him. 'Face is not a rap star made for the social-media era, when every aspect of life is now documented via Instagram. Scarface prefers to remain guarded.
"I live such a private life, and I try not to cross-collateralize my business with my personal life," he says. "I probably was most hesitant to discuss business dealings. Family dealings. I was hesitant to discuss my whole life! I didn't feel like it was anybody else's business.
"But people in my personal life wanted to know what was going on in my business, and people in my business wanted to know what was going on in my personal life," the rapper continues. "It wasn't nothing that I planned. But everything happens in sync with the universe."
The universe has more in store for Scarface, of course, including a new, independently released solo album, as well as a secret project he describes as an "album with a very, very, very, very big, big, big producer." And a whole hell of a lot more golf.
But another book? Don't count on it.
"I'm done!" he says, emphatically. "I wrote a book, made a few albums. A lot of people know me; I'm respected in my craft. Ain't nothing else to talk about. Life is good, and God is merciful. I've said all I needed to say."
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