Scarface’s Essentials

Gangsta rap is supposed to be all about bravado and bluster — a fantastical playground of platinum-plated pistols, barely dressed women and John Woo worthy shootouts. Houston emcee Scarface provides a dose of realism to the genre with his finely detailed narratives of guilt-ridden murderers, sorrowful drug dealers and disposed “civilians.” First as a member of the Geto Boys and then throughout a lengthy solo career, Scarface is one of the South’s most respected and enduring lyricist. For a 2013 Complex feature, he picked his favorite tracks from his extensive. It’s a comprehensive playlist that covers hits such as “My Block” or “Mind Playin’ Tricks,” but also dips into deep catalog picks such as the excellent “A Minute to Pray and a Second to Die,” a stand-out song from his debut that hinted at the narrative nimbleness and moral complexity that would become his calling card.