Houston's history is dotted with albums that, fairly or not, have been swept aside. We'll examine them here. Have an album that you think nobody knows about but should? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Scarface The Fix (Geffen, 2005)
The Fix is the seventh solo LP from Scarface, the album that he recorded for Def Jam. Generally regarded as one of his finest works, it's likely his best-known effort. This isn't because it's the best album he's ever made (it's not; that's The Diary), but because Def Jam had this crazy, crazy notion that not only should they throw a few big names into the album's credits (Kanye, Jay-Z, The Neptunes, etc.) to help it gain notoriety, but they should also promote it(!?). Say what you will about the importance of J. Prince and Rap-A-Lot to the development of hip-hop in the South - and he is, without question, Houston's most important historical figure in that regard - but RAL is just awful at supporting its own product. Despite mostly critical acclaim, The Fix's omission from The Countdown coerced only a minimal amount of homophobic, hate-laden emails into our inbox. There are probably two reasons for that:
- First, we suspect Houstonians made up the bulk of the rap fans that were reading The Countdown. And fans of Houston rap - the hardcore ones, anyway - tend to look at that album with shifty eyes. It's the one where he strayed away from his Rap-A-Lot foundation, and people were unsure how to take that. It became the Houston rap album that people listened to when they wanted to listen to something that wasn't Houston rap but still kind of was, if that makes any sense. It was like cheating on your wife with your wife in a wig.
- Secondly, by that time in his career people already knew 'Face was a phenomenal rapper, so the album served mostly to strengthen his presence along the right coast more so than to expose it. Solidification, though impressive, is never as awe striking as the start-up.
Think on it like this: Let's say you meet up with some buddies this weekend and find out one of them slept with Halle Berry after he ran into her backstage at the Bun B Noisemakers thing at SXSW. That'd be pretty staunch. That guy's stock would shoot up exponentially. Regardless of his position within the group before, he'd automatically become the coolest guy in your little hangout crew. He would become legendary, and probably earn a nifty nickname like "Pistol" or "The Meat" along the way. Then, eight years later at some party in New York, he ended up sleeping with Halle Berry again. He'd come back and brag about it, and everyone would be impressed again, but nobody would really have their ears blown off. In a vacuum, sleeping with Halle Berry is super impossibly boss, but everybody's like, "Yeah, that's cool. But didn't you do that, like, eight years ago already?" Fair or not, that's what happened with this album. Y'allmustaforgotability: 31 percent Read what Y'allmustaforgotability means. This is a relatively low score. The only reason it's up as high as the thirties is because people seem to confuse the most noteworthy singles from The Fix ("Guess Who's Back" and "My Block") as belonging to other albums. Best Verse on the Album: Best verse? Seriously? Um, all of them. 3rd Best Song on the Album: "In Cold Blood" This is one of the tracks that Kanye produced. You have to listen to it for all of about nine seconds before you figure that out. By the way, what are the chances that 'Face has ever read In Cold Blood? We're setting it at 3:1. Most Unreasonable Line on the Album: The 0:45 of ad-libbing that Hova does at the beginning of "Guess Who's Back." He says nothing of importance. Fortunately, his verse is solid. Worst Feature on the Album: This goes to Tanya Herron for her work on "In Between Us," but that's by default. We mean, she was going up against Jay-Z, Nas, Beanie Sigel, Kelly Price and Faith Evans. There's no shame in finishing sixth in that lineup. It's like finishing third in a "Who's Got The Biggest Dong?" contest behind John Holmes and that weird-looking black guy in all of those Bang Bros. videos. Obscure Fact(s) That You Can Pawn Off As Your Own To Make Yourself Sound Smart:
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- Both Jay-Z and Nas are on this album. That's kind of cool. Not sure when the last time that happened was.
- If you're feeling particularly feisty, you could argue that this album is simply The Diary redux. They both have similarly ominous intros and outros, both of which are provided by Mike Dean of Rap-A-Lot. There are 13 songs on each. They both give hat-tips to N.W.A. (though The Diary's is probably negligible). And beyond general aesthetics, they both deal with just about the same subjects. Booyah.