Since beginning his solo career in 1990 while still serving as a core member of the Geto Boys, rap legend Scarface has always been tied to the 1983 classic crime film of the same name. While always embodying a certain kingpin status in the rap game, similar to the way Tony Montana had things on lock in his fictitious 1980s Miami setting, the rapper knew how to separate his real life from the one Oliver Stone created for Al Pacino. That all changed with the album cover and opening sample on Balls and My Word, Scarface’s second compilation LP released by Rap-A-Lot Records 16 years ago today.
Released just six months after his first Greatest Hits album in 2002, Balls and My Word sounded more like a “greatest hits you’ve never heard” record. Unreleased cuts from past projects are pieced together for this project, including the title track which was pulled from Geto Boys’ obscure 1988 debut album Making Trouble. Even though some of the tracks here are borrowed from Face’s prior discography — standout cut “Make Your Peace” shares some similarities to “Heaven” off his 2002 Def Jam South debut The Fix — the raps, production and overall content are right on the money and are seamlessly structured to where you can’t immediately tell that these aren’t new.
The album didn’t come without it’s controversies though. As mentioned before, Scarface was rolling with Def Jam by the time this record dropped, and actually had nothing to do with it altogether. Balls and My Word was primarily handled by Rap-A-Lot CEO J. Prince while Scarface was serving as head of opps at Def Jam South, and as a result the project didn’t really get the shine it could’ve gotten if the guy on the cover was actually promoting it. However, the LP did manage to reach top 20 on the Billboard 200 and included features from vets like Devin the Dude and Bun B. The latter artist appears on the album’s most controversial cut “Bitch Nigga,” which features Houston rapper Z-Ro throwing what many reported at the time to be shots at 2002’s biggest MC at the time, 50 Cent.
Ultimately, while it wasn’t a successful cash grab for Prince and Rap-A-Lot, neither did it birth a hit single as catchy as “My Block” or classic as the Kanye-produced track “Guess Who’s Back” featuring Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel, Balls and My Word had some great moments strictly because it’s filled with rare Face records. What more could you ask for as a hardcore Hip-Hop fan?
Give Balls and My Word by Scarface a full spin above as we celebrate it on the 16th anniversary of its release, and let us know your favorite cuts by hitting us on Facebook and Twitter!