Scarface’s The Diary is celebrating its 20-year-anniversary. The emcee behind the critically acclaimed project says he crafted the effort without thinking about how it would sell.
“I wanted to make music for my people that I grew up with in my neighborhood,” Scarface says in an interview with XXL. “I had no idea that I could sell records on a more boss stage. I had no idea that I could sell records everywhere else. Even though I had sold records, I had no idea that I could or I did. I was more focused on what I was doing in my community, with the people that I grew up with. On the flip side of that, James [Prince, head of Rap-A-Lot Records] knew that the world was a ghetto and every ghetto in the world would be able to feel the shit that I was putting out. The shit that I was delivering. He used to always say, ‘Y’all thinking local. Y’all gotta think national.’ That’s what James always said. James Prince. J. Prince.”
One of the album’s most beloved cuts by fans is “I Seen A Man Die.” ‘Face says that selection was created under the influence of painkillers and alcohol.
“I hate to say it but that was a fucking drug-induced record,” he says. “I had broke my hand, so I was taking painkillers and drinking Miller Light and smoking weed. Back then, we wasn’t getting that good, good California [weed] like we getting now. My buddy from Oakland, who used to bring this shit down called dank. I smoked that muthafuckin’ dank after I popped that painkiller, was sippin’ beer, man, and went to another fuckin’ world. I remembered the shit in my head, so I was high and it was dark in that muthafucka. I couldn’t see nothing. I’m serious. I was high. All I heard was my voice in these beats, in these headphones, and I was lost. I got lost into that groove. I got lost into that groove. At the end of all of that shit, a couple days later or whatever, when we put the finishing touches on it… All the talking in the beginning of it, that came later. We was playing around, me and my partner Ray Ray and dude that used to be working named Cody and my cousin Jamal. We was just in there talking in the studio, laughing and shit. And that shit slipped and made it on the radio. Like, Ray Ray said, ‘I’m sick as a muthafucka, I can’t breathe.’ If you listen to the record, you can really hear that shit. ‘I’m sick as a muthafucka, I can’t breathe.’ They play it all over the radio and everything. Nobody knows that, but me, you, and the viewer that’s gonna read this article right now.”