Face fans know he’s not one of those dudes that drop an album every year. With that in mind, don’t be shocked about this release–he didn’t put it out. Filled with slightly dated, but nevertheless banging material, Balls & My Word is an offering longtime Scarface fans should be satisfied with, regardless what label gets credit for it.

Where The Fix found him a bit melancholy and extremely introspective, Balls & My Word deftly exposes his street side. Realism is the element that has always separated Face from other so-called “gangsta” rappers. He doesn’t have to mention his hood in every song, or talk about shooting up the neighbors with an AK–he naturally emits a street knowledge and wisdom that garners respect from Compton to the 5th Ward. This concept is seeped into every song on this album. Featuring production from some of Texas’ most faithful contributors (Mike Dean, N.O. Joe, T-Mixx) every track possesses the raw, grim energy that Face fits perfectly. “Recognize” with its bouncy instrumentation (Ensayne Wayne) is a boisterous cut with heart.

The entire album is incredibly confident and should be–he’s earned the bragging rights.

The industry’s silent killer aka Bun B, well, kills it on “B*tch N*gga,” and Houston phenom Z-Ro makes noteworthy showing on the song as well which was rumored to be a 50 Cent dis. Devin and Tela deliver some incredibly witty banter on “Only Your Mother” a T-Mixx-banger about a gold-digging chic. Dated or not, (“Make Your Peace” features the same verse Face spit on “Heaven”) this is easily one of the best rap releases of the year. Now what does that say about the blah state of Hip Hop?