Long before the dirty south became the popular trend of the industry, Scarface was it's main representative and he repped it to the death for over a decade. Long before Outkast was saying their sorry to Ms. Jackson, long before Ludacris was throwing them bows and long before JD was welcoming everybody to Atlanta, Scarface stood. With a long line of classic albums ranging from his own solo ventures and those of the Geto Boys saga, Scarface has epitomized the southern style. But through all the success, Scarface has still never been able to breakthrough to mainstream America. With a style to real for some, and not catchy enough for commercial radio, Scarface has played the role of under appreciated legend for the past decade. However, all that is about to change for Face with his newest installment in the Scarface saga "The Fix". The album is not only his first release on Def Jam South, which he runs by the way, it's been getting critical acclaim from everywhere, especially one famous magazine who has proclaimed Face's latest venture as a hip hop classic. And while "The Fix" isn't the Hip Hop classic many proclaim it to be, it will offer something that Face has been lacking throughout his whole career, world wide appeal.
With "The Fix", Scarface goes a different direction than ones seen on previous albums, and looks to gain that "mass appeal" he's never quite garnished. With a variety of different producers this time around, and a variety of R&B joints, it is quite evident right from the start that this isn't your typical Scarface/Geto Boys album. "The Fix" is more "east coast" sounding than ones of the past, mainly due to Def Jams involvement and the variety of producers such as Kanye West, Nottz, The Neptunes & Nashiem Myrick. Kanye West's involvement throughout the album is definitely a high point as he continues to put out nothing but heat. His ability to transform an average track and take it to the next level is never more evident than on "Guess Who's Back" featuring Jay-z and Beanie Sigel. With Sigel and Hova both dropping less than stellar performances on the mic, and Face doing his usual performance, its Kanye who takes the track to super star status, as the production is truly the main attraction. Along with "Guess Who's Back", Kanye also laces the Gladys Knight and The Pips sampled "In Cold Blood". The track epitomizes Scarfaces performance throughout "The Fix", solid but entertaining. While Face wont amaze you with any lyrical verses throughout "The Fix", he continues to remain consistent throughout every track and speaks through his own personal experiences, bringing some truth to an industry that is known for rapping about it, but never living it.
"Safe" very well could have been a Kanye West track, as the China Black produced song engulfs the same type of atmosphere. The track utilizes a nice Gwen McCrae sample from "I've Got Nothing To Lose But The Blues", but the production isn't the tracks only high point. Face rips into the track with his usual hustler/drug dealing tales, but like always, Face pulls it off perfectly.
But for diehard Face fans that maybe turned away by some of the new sounds Scarface has introduced on "The Fix", the lead single "On My Block" will erase some of those doubts. The track is vintage Scarface to the fullest, as the Nashiem Myrick produced track blends well with the Face style. More vintage Scarface material can also be seen on the Nottz produced "Keep Me Down" and the hustling tales of "Sellout".
While casual Scarface fans will be more than pleased with Face's latest effort, diehard Geto Boy/Scarface fans will leave a little disappointed with the final product on "The Fix". The main problem within the album is the overload of R&B joints that consume the album. "Someday" featuring Faith Evans, "Heaven" and "What Can I Do?" both featuring Kelly Price are thrown in unnecessarily to strike a different audience and seem misplaced upon listening to. While the tracks are solid, they are uncharted territory for Scarface and definitely could have been done without. And while "The Fix" is a solid album from start to finish, there are a couple of filler tracks. "I Ain't The One" features West Coast native W.C., and is nothing more than your run of the mill type track that ends up as stale and boring. Also, the Nas collaboration of "In Between Us" is a track everybody would expect to be memorable. But unlike previous times, "In Between Us" doesn't offer the same experience. The Scarface and Mike Dean produced track isn't of the highest quality, and as most fans have found out already, after Nas's verse there is little reason to continue listening.
In the end, "The Fix" is a two-sided story. On one side it represents a magnificent change for Scarface, who continues to put out solid albums. The album will certainty gain Face new backing and introduce him to a whole new fan base. However, on the other hand, "The Fix" represents an album different than those of previous efforts and maybe a little hard to take for some fans. With a plethora of R&B joints and new producers, those wanting to hear the Scarface of old maybe disappointed. Nevertheless, judging by the masses of people now jumping on the Scarface bandwagon (magazines alike), it seems Scarface has accomplished what he set out to do. And if there's one man who deserves all the good fortunes the industry can bring its Scarface. The man has never truly gotten the credit he deserves over the years, and it is great to see it finally happen now. And in Scarface's cases, I guess it's better late than never.