Pioneering emcee Scarface performed on the NPR Tiny Desk Concert series which was a remarkable experience for both long-time fans and newcomers alike. The legendary rapper took center stage, accompanied by the seven-time Grammy Award-winning producer and frequent collaborator Mike Dean, and they delivered a soul-stirring set filled with several of Scarface’s most memorable tracks including “I Seen A Man Die,” “On My Block,” and “Mary Jane.”
From the beginning, we’re immediately captivated by Scarface’s raw and introspective lyricism as he kicks things off the performance with “On My Block,” a track that symbolizes resilience and the unbreakable spirit of those facing adversity. The song’s infectious melody and Scarface’s passionate delivery had the audience fully engaged, nodding along in unity. There was an undeniable sense of community as Scarface lyrically illustrated the struggles faced by marginalized neighborhoods, ultimately highlighting the power of perseverance and the importance of unity.
Continuing the set, Scarface picks up the guitar and transitions into “Mary Jane,” a song that explores the complex relationship many have with marijuana. Scarface’s smooth cadence and reflective lyrics allowed the audience to contemplate the role that substances play in their lives, further highlighting the rapper’s ability to tackle profound subjects within his music.
Scarface then transitioned to a rendition of “Smile,” a collaboration he had done with the late 2Pac. The song served as a tribute to both artists’ legacies and showcased Scarface’s ability to convey complex emotions. The heartfelt lyrics and Scarface’s poignant delivery leave you in awe and remind you of the power of music.
The hauntingly emotive “I Seen A Man Die” was particularly powerful, as he poignantly delved into the harsh realities of the streets. Scarface’s distinctive voice, filled with both vulnerability and strength, effortlessly transported listeners to the gritty landscapes he lyrically painted. The performance was awe-inspiring, pondering the harshness of life and the importance of cherishing every moment.
The setlist took an exciting turn with the inclusion of “Fuck Faces,” a track that showcases Scarface’s versatility as an artist. As with the My Homies album collaboration with Too Short, Tela, and Devin the Dude, the explicit and provocative lyrics display Scarface’s unabashed confidence and unfiltered expression.
Closing the set, Scarface delivered a soulful rendition of the Geto Boys iconic “Mind Playing Tricks On Me,” a song that has become a staple in Scarface’s discography. As the familiar opening notes filled the room, Scarface effortlessly delivered introspective lyrics that explored the psychological toll of street life. Mike Dean’s accompaniment added an extra layer of musical depth, enhancing the emotional resonance of the track.
To add an extra layer of musical depth to the performance, Mike Dean accompanied Scarface on his signature keys and synths. Dean, a multi-platinum producer in his own right, has frequently collaborated with Scarface throughout his career, and his presence elevated the “Tiny Desk Concert” to new heights. His musical prowess seamlessly intertwined with Scarface’s lyrical flow, creating a harmonious blend that intensified the emotional impact of each track.
Overall, Scarface’s “Tiny Desk Concert” performance showcased the rapper’s enduring talent and his ability to connect with listeners on a profound level. His lyricism, combined with Mike Dean’s musical genius, resulted in an intimate and unforgettable experience. Scarface’s catalog continues to resonate with listeners, reminding us of the power of music to evoke emotions, provoke thought, and inspire change.