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No Misunderstanding

interview by Meshack Blaq
photos by Animal Chan

Brad Jordan is an ordinary guy based on every conversation we've had over the years. This is my opinion. He's not insane like some in this Hip Hop media portray him. He's not this large and imposing figure as described physically, so much as possessing a thunderous voice of authority and conviction. Listening to a Scarface CD is more than just an exercise in simple entertainment. Brad as an artist reminds me of what I used to read about Ludwig Von Beethoven. See, there's a very fine line between genius and insanity. And most who cannot see this will almost always classify someone they may not understand as "Crazy". You not only feel his music, but if you understand the depth of his lyricism and storytelling, it shouldn't be hard to tell that here's a man turning the human experience into more than art. That's too simple a description of the legacy Brad Jordan has left on Hip Hop in the wake of Scarface. To keep this in the context of the character featured herein, we'll call this Cover NO MISUNDERSTANDING

KRON: At this point in your career 13 years down the road, how much does the music mean to you? Do you see music the same way that you saw it when you first came in?

FACE: I think right now at this point in my career that I take music a little more serious. Especially with the transition that I just made from artist to executive now. It's a huge difference the way I see it. And the respect level for music has always been there as far as my love for music is concerned. But gettin' in it and seein' it from another side, it's crazy!

KRON: But what about just the music itself. Like when I listen to your albums I can hear music from hundreds of years ago. Like some old Beethoven type of shit that's heavily orchestrated and full of drama.

FACE: I love that type of shit. I love makin' music. It's nothin' else in the whole world that I know how to do better. I don't know how to drive a train. I don't know how to go into the courtroom and be a lawyer, or be a stock broker. You got different people that do different shit, and my shit is the music, Man! I'd be lost tryin' to do somethin' else. That's all I ever knew from the beginning of my life, was music.

KRON: I have a friend in the Bay Area, a white kid totally into Heavy Metal. Loves Metallica, loves Pantera, but he also love him some Scarface to play his bass along to.

FACE: I think that's 'cause of the era that I grew up in. The Heavy Metal shit is my shit too! So you may catch me quotin' some shit like on "In My Time" I quoted a Pink Floyd line. I be on some other shit and I know what they mean. It's like the statement, "The distant ships that walk the horizon": means life stands still. When you lookin' at the ocean and you're thinking like, "God Damn Man, life is movin' so slow".

KRON: What's up with the rumors about your retiring and this and that?

FACE: It's not the truth. I guess the rumor is that I'll be retiring from whatever (he tells me off the record). I guess that must be the rumor. I don't see myself retiring from doin' this 'cause this is what I love. But I just can't see me wantin' to be a part of... Anyway, let's just go.

KRON: What about the other half of that rumor as the executive for Def Jam South. True or false?

FACE: That's a true rumor. I got a big fuckin' single from a cat formerly known as Cris Luva-Luva who was the radio guy down her in Atlanta. Ludacris! He's got a huge fuckin' single called "What's Your Fantasy".

KRON: Did the excutive decision facilitate the relocation to Atlanta for yourself?

FACE: In a sense. In a major fuckin' way. I guess in time, time is a muthafucka. And time drew me to start fuckin' with the other side of this shit. Not only do I know how the clock works, but now I know what's inside the clock to make the muthafucka move like it's movin'. Rather than just lookin' at it on the outside, watchin' the hands move; I can look at it from the inside of the muthafucka and be like, "Damn! So this is how they doin' this." The move was a double-triple step in my career. Not only as an executive, but as an artist also. It made me want to continue to do this shit, 'cause it's actually people out in the music industry that can work a muthafuckin' record. You know?

KRON: So what's up with your label, Interface Records?

FACE: Right now I'm lookin' for a deal for my Interface label. Right now I'm kinda content doin' my Def Jam shit. It's not a dough thang, I got dough. So if I can build careers like Rap-A-Lot built my career, I'd be complete to build somebody's career.

KRON: Similar to taking sounds that are not only current, but from long times ago; a lotta times you'll talk about current stuff, but you'll talk about stuff a long time ago, or even in the near-future almost in a prophetic way.

FACE: Wow. I feel like all the moves that I make are Spiritually led, you know? The Spirit moves me in the direction that I travel.

KRON: Now what about the voice on the records? I don't wanna compare you to God, but I'm sayin'; you sound like the voice of God up on there.

FACE: Nah, I don't even want that responsibility. God's got a huge responsibility! So, you know...

KRON: Maybe I should rephrase this and say you've got a very authoritative voice. Deep and hollow.

FACE: I was Blessed with a voice, Man. And it's a distinctive voice. When you hear Face, you'll be like, "Damn!" 'Cause that's how I be when I hear me. Like I say, I wouldn't want the responsibility of God but I appreciate you feelin' like that about my voice. I appreciate you likin' my shit like that. That's cool, Man. I love that. It's not nothin' that I try. It's just somethin' that's just a natural thang. It was a God given talent to be able to range with my shit. I can go high or I can go low.

KRON: Having had such a long and prosperous career and then seeing peers fall by the wayside, have your views on death changed other than what we've heard on the records?

FACE: I feel like death's the most promising part of life. And I'll probably say this a million times, but this interview might not make the magazine. It might not make the cut. But you gon' die; it's inevitable. You can run, you can hide, but somewhere along the line between runnin' and hidin', DEATH awaits us all. For it's no man who has lived forever and ever. Some may have the opportunity to die twice and dyin' twice don't mean you livin' forever.

KRON: Right. And it's the second time that I'm concerned about.

FACE: Wow! So look forward to it. Seein' my friends and seein' my peers get locked up, or dyin' in the system can be worse though. It's a fucked up experience to have your closest friend fall victim to both dyin' or goin' to prison forever. But it's one way to look at the whole thing.

KRON: Do you look at old age as something to be desired or look forward to?

FACE: That plays a factor. For sho! That's a part of the Game that God allows. That's something that I don't have no control over. Whichever way the Spirit leads me; the Spirit might say, "Don't go that way", and that's the way I won't go.

KRON: What's up with the lyrics on "Look Me In My Eyes"? Is that true shit?

FACE: Hell yea. They fuckin' with everybody like that. The Federal Agents in Houston got a hard-on for J Prince 'cause they can't fuck wit' him. He's got legit money and his roots to the streets are so pure, so sprouted, that they were seeded there and that's where he's at. So a Nigga that successful and that close to the streets gotta be doin' wrong in their eyes. Either that or they just hate Niggaz, which is probably the best way to describe their whole history with this shit. So they use one of my partners to try to get at me to make me start talkin' about cocaine. Which I never will to anybody. But they wanted to catch another one of my partners up and try to get them to squeal me like I funded the project. Just a big-ass setup. They got a muh'fucka outta Federal Prison to come shoot at me like that. Ronnie Carbonie is a roofer that I've been knowin' for 11-12 years. And he was in the Federal Penitentiary when I was tryin' to get my roof done. And them muthafuckas are so keen that they got a conversation of me tryin' to get a roof done, so they sent dude over there. So they tried to catch me in the bing, which is not impossible. But it's a very hard task to do 'cause it's hard for a muh'fucka to catch me up in that dope shit. No new friends and no old business. Suck my dick! Them muthafuckas'll ride behind me and pull me over and ask can they search my shit. I tell 'em, "Fuck you", or "No". Just harassin' Niggaz.

KRON: What about the track you did with Jay-Z called "Get Out"?

FACE: That was fun 'cause that Nigga don't write shit! I'm in the studio readin' my shit and he's just bouncin' off my shit! I was like, "Gott Damn, Jigg!" He said, "You wrote that shit before you got here, huh Charlie?" But he's an amazing cat to me. And that's part of the reason I stopped smokin' weed. 'Cause I wanna be able to do a song without writin' that shit. Jigga ain't no writer, and if he takes writin' credits for his shit he's cheatin'. He don't write shit down! It need to be Freestyled by... (laughs)

KRON: What about the track you did with Redman called "And Yo"?

FACE: Redman's incredible too. Redman wrote his shit in 20 minutes and laid it while I was still stuck writin'. They quick, Man. New York Niggaz is real fast at gettin' they shit done.

KRON: OK, my favoritist track on this album...

FACE: Favoritist! I like that word.

KRON: That one with Kurupt, Daz, and Jayo.

FACE: You mean the West Coast All Stars?

KRON: Well what I really wanna know is what's up with Face Mob?

FACE: Damn! (to the whole room) Who told him? How'd he get that? (looks at me laughing) Damn, who leaked it? Jayo?

KRON: Kurupt.

FACE: Kurupt leaked it? Awwwwww Shit!! Did you hear him on that new Daz record, Dog? Number 13. Did you hear that? Man, #13 on the new Daz record; that muthafucka got off!!! Definitely, it would be a pleasure to work with Kurupt, Jayo and me on an Erick Sermon Production, a Joe & Leroy production, and more Niggaz that wanna be involved in this particular project for the Face Mob.

KRON: So what's up with Devin? He's with Dre now so are you still workin' with him?

FACE: I don't know how that went, but I know that Devin is under a Rap-A-Lot aggreement. That's just how that ball bounces sometimes, Man. You get some hot shit. And then some of that hot shit you get to keep and some of that hot shit you'll end up losin'. No hard feelin's. For the most part it bangs and brangs my business sense to be a lil' more keener, and to be a lil' more up on my shit. It's just business, Dog. It's nothin' personal, it's all business.

KRON: As one of the pioneers and forerunners of the Dirty South sound trademarked and whatnot, where do you see it goin' in the next few years as the head of Def Jam South?

FACE: Where do I see it goin' and where I want it to be are two totally different opinions. My opinion on where it's at now is it's sellin' records. But my opinion on where I want it to be is to be sellin' music. I want artists to be able to put 15 years in it rather than a four or five year run. I want to build careers and not records. I think down South has some great fuckin' records. But I also think that down South has some brilliant minded individuals that can build careers, too!

KRON: That's an interesting perspective because there's maybe a dozen or two guys that are still around doin' the damn thang after that many years in the Game.

FACE: Yea, it's not very many because I think it's the "get it while it's hot" stage of the Game right now. But like I say, I don't panic. When you get your record on the Internet and muthafuckas can download the shit, or whatever? That shit don't bother me because eventually it's gon' be a system worked out to where they got to pay a muh'fucka. So when a fad jumps in, I won't jump to the fad. Don't panic! Don't do the shit that he did to get past. Do the shit that you did, to make people respect what you do. You be you. (The subject turns to movies and Brad as an actor based on some of his videos. Then the subject turns to song titles like "I Never Seen A Man Cry" as opposed to "I Seen A Man Die" because of politics. Finally the subject turns to Tupac and the acceptance of his death) I was literally talkin' to this computer picture (of 'Pac on the autopsy table via the Internet) and I was so mad, Man. And then I had to grab myself and say, "God, that's what we live for." We live to die no matter how how tragic or how unexpected. It was just in the books. You know? That's the day whether it's plane, train, or automobile; that's the day.

KRON: So what do you mean?

FACE: In the books, Man! You know God got him a book, Man! Got your name in there. He got my name in there. He got cuzz name with the camera in there (referring to Animal). His shit in there. Everybody's shit in there. Just be at peace, Man. Make the best of your time, Man. And get ready to go see your Homeboys that fell down along the way.