By Roy Kasten
By Kris Wernowsky
By Chaz Kangas
By Joseph Hess
By Julie Seabaugh
By Mike Appelstein
By Rachel Brodsky
By Kelsey McClure
7. Counting Crows, "Rain King": That's silky smooth music. [Adam Duritz] is the entertainer when it comes to working a crowd. Half the time, the [live] songs sound nothing like the record. When I go see a show, don't give me the record. You gotta do something. With the price of tickets nowadays? Give me a show.
8. Dave Matthews Band, "Ants Marching": There's just a lot going on in this song. That whole band is just really good at what they do. They use these unconventional time signatures — it's almost like jazz at times. And the violin player actually fits in with them. You know how some bands use a violin, and it sounds like crap? Not here.
9. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Someday I Suppose": People always refer to them as a ska band, but I don't know. Their horns always sounded more out-front to me. And that guy [Dicky Barrett] is a horrible singer. But they're lots of fun.
10. Dixie Chicks, "Sin Wagon": Musically, this is one of their finest songs. They're one of the best groups of harmony singers in the business. And they're all really good musicians, especially the fiddle player. I like most of their songs, except for "Goodbye Earl." I hated that video with Dennis Franz. I was a huge NYPD Blue fan, and I was like, Sipowicz, what the hell are you doing?"
Honorable Mentions: The Sex Pistols ("You know why? They're the Sex Pistols"), the Cranberries ("They really had some good shit"), and Elton John ("His early years — back when he and Bernie Taupin were banging each other").
Scarface tees off about his year-end faves
Remember when everyone thought Snoop Dogg wearing golf gear in 2004's Starsky and Hutch — and in those Chrysler commercials with Lee Iacocca — was so funny? Well, a couple of days before Thanksgiving, on-again, off-again Geto Boy and Houston rap legend Scarface strolls into the clubhouse at Houston's Hermann Park Golf Course clad in a white Wildcat Golf Club polo, navy shorts and his sock feet (no spikes allowed inside), and no one bats an eyelash. He is, after all, here almost every day.
But today, Scarface is here for a press conference to hail the December 4 release of Made, his first proper album since 2002's The Fix. He's a strange interview: He's cordial, but seems distracted, fiddling with his iPhone and flipping through copies of local hip-hop magazines Hard Hitter and What It Dew. Another reporter asks him how it feels to routinely be ranked among the greatest rappers of all time, and his only answer is a soft-spoken "I like it a lot."
On the other hand, Scarface, now 37, says pretty much all he's been doing since The Fix came out is coaching little league football and playing poker and golf, which he took up last September at his daughter's urging. Asked if he'll make another album after Made, he just shrugs. Rapping, it seems, is now something he can take or leave.
"I really don't want to do this shit anymore," he says. "It had a lot to do with the unauthorized albums Rap-a-Lot put out [2003's Balls & My Word and 2006's My Homies Part 2]. I was kind of mad about that, but I don't want people that listen to my music to not be able to."
Nonetheless, Scarface and Rap-a-Lot have mended enough fences for him to return to his long-time label (both with the Geto Boys and solo) after a one-album departure to Def Jam South for The Fix. "There ain't no sense in me not putting out an album because of that," he says. "I've seen a lot of artists fall out with their labels and be irrelevant when they come back."
Scarface, though, will be relevant as long as he cares to be. "I was talking to Busta Rhymes and he said, 'Goddamn, are you ever going to fall off? You sound like you're sixteen," he laughs. "I told him, 'I am sixteen. I never grew up. I do shit that kids do.'"
After the press conference, I follow Scarface onto the links for a couple of holes. He's already revealed he was a big KISS fan growing up, enjoys everyone from AC/DC and Led Zeppelin to Steely Dan and the Eagles ("and that's just my iPhone") and turns out to be a local rockabilly fan as well. "You ever heard of the [Flaming] Hellcats?" he asks, preparing to tee off. "Jaime [frontman Jaime Hellcat] is a good friend of mine. I talk to Jaime a lot. I want to see them get it."
Chris Gray: What was your favorite music to come out this year?
Scarface: I didn't really have any. What came out this year? Did Coldplay come out this year?
What have you been listening to?
Radiohead. Old Radiohead. Not much, though. I'm going to fuck [the ball] up.
Do you have any artists on your label [Runaway Slave]?
Product. Product is an artist.
What about the 50 and Kanye albums?
Kanye had a brilliant album this year. [swings] Get down, get down!