:: Summit Music Hall :: June 14 ::
By Brandon Daviet
Any serious discussion about the early years of rap would be remiss without the inclusion of Geto Boys — the scorching three-man crew from Houston, Texas which features Scarface, Willie D. and Bushwick Bill.
Formed in 1986, Geto Boys almost single-handedly created the style of southern rap during their early years. But in 1990 the group was approached by famed producer Rick Rubin, and together they recorded and released the group’s self-titled breakout album, which stands as their most famous, and perhaps most infamous disc.
With Rubin’s sonic midas touch, the album featured tracks addressing topics like the public school system, the government’s war on drugs, and a host of graphic stories about violence in the ghetto and lewd, pimp-minded tales. In a nutshell, the album was designed to infuriate and it did so to the extent that Geffen Records, the intended distributor of the album, and Sony DADC, the manufacturer of the record, refused to have anything to do with its release — which, of course, only fueled public demand to hear it.
And, in typical Geto Boys fashion, the 1991 follow up — which was not produced by Rubin —We Can’t Be Stopped blasted record companies for their hypocritical practices of censorship, while also taking shots at the Gulf War, among other socially conscious themes.
The album also featured the breakout track and Geto Boys highest charting song “Mind Playing Tricks on Me,” a tale of paranoia that has been called one of “the best hip-hop songs to come out of the ’90s.”
For the last 22 years the group’s periods of activity and live shows have been sporadic. Despite releasing several albums, the group’s popularity waned in recent years, partly because members of the group were largely focused on solo careers, which took time away from Geto Boys. Scarface, in particular, spent years contributing to other rappers projects, developing a longevity and body of work that few rappers reach and earning him the tag, “your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper.”
Now to the delight of many, Geto Boys are poised to make a comeback and the group is launching a full-fledged tour. “The biggest thing is the demand. The fans are constantly screaming that they want to see us in concert,” said Willie D in a recent interview with The Marquee. “There is a whole generation of fans that have never seen the Geto Boys live and we want to rectify that. Also doing a tour is necessary to solidify and put our name back out there, and at the end of the day it will help advance our legacy.”
Many fans had assumed that Bushwick Bill’s surprising new life as a born-again Christian artist would get in the way of a reunion, but Willie D quickly denounced that theory. “Well, of course, the Geto Boys and Christian rap are two different languages. However, you can’t discount the fact that our music touches millions of people and just because Bushwick is doing Christian rap can he say that everything that he did with the Geto Boys is wrong? You mean to tell me just because you’re doing Christian rap ‘The World is a Ghetto’ is not a good song, or ‘Mind Playing Tricks on Me’ was not a good song? I think he is able to differentiate between the two,” said Willie D. “Keep in mind that there are pastors and Christian people that are entertained by hip-hop music. Most artists make music that people can relate to and helps them to get through the day, and that’s what the Geto Boys are really about.”
There have been discussions in the Geto Boys camp about the possibility of a new album, but nothing is in the works quite yet, and Willie D explained that the group differs on who should be involved if a new album does come into play. Apparently, Scarface recently said that he’s only willing to make a new Geto Boys album if Rubin is on board to produce. “I don’t share that opinion but that’s him and he has a right to feel that way,” said Willie D. “Personally, I think if it’s right, it’s right no matter who is involved.”
But while the band may have disagreements on who should be part of the project, where they do not waver is the idea that if they do record they want it to be fresh and different than other rap being released. “Rap is still art, no matter what. I don’t want all of my music to be socially conscious. When everybody is doing the same thing it’s boring. That’s why rap is boring right now. The problem is that there is no balance. Let’s give credit where credit is due. What we need, plain and simple, is balance, and that’s where the problem is. That, and the radio executives that control what we listen to,” Willie D concluded with a laugh.
:: Geto Boys ::
:: Summit Music Hall :: June 14 ::
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